4 Academic Departments That Benefit from Stock Video

Posted by Catie Peiper on January 4, 2016
Catie Peiper


Although we’ve often written about the value of our Digital Backpack for film programs, VideoBlocks for Education knows that digital literacy is a cross-disciplinary issue important to all educators. A screen can never replace the value of a learned instructor or an engaged classroom; however, video is the future of education—as both its content and its medium. With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of four academic departments that benefit from video education and stock media that aren’t film programs.

1. Art & Design Programs

With our increasingly digital lifestyles, our art is also changing to reflect the new technologies at our fingertips. Although painting and architecture will never go out of vogue, multi- and interactive art media are gaining increasing prominence in art and design programs across the globe. The tools and resources we use for these projects are also evolving, bridging the divides between the arts and sciences, as well as the digital and material.

In today’s modern Internet of Things, an art student’s thesis might now easily involve an installation that includes projection mapped designs, mixed media sculptures, and interactive programming that alters the work in real-time. To achieve this kind of artistic vision, a student will not only need a firm grounding in the traditional principles of art and design, but also programming, engineering, and interactive media—plus, the digital tools to learn with and create. Stock media can be an essential resource for any art and design student; first, as they learn about important concepts and skills, such as visual rhythm or creative editing, and then later as they branch out to build their own creative visions.

2. Composition & Rhetoric Programs

(An example of a visual essay made with VideoBlocks for Education content, “Interim” was a finalist in our 2015 Student Film Competition.)

At the core of every composition and rhetoric program lies the goal of teaching students how to communicate effectively, persuasively, compellingly, and with some degree of finesse. Yet, we are increasingly moving into what many scholars call a “post-literate” world, in which images, video, and the written or spoken word are used fluidly together, symbiotically, to communicate increasingly complex concepts. Modern rhetoric now includes TED talks, animated lectures, visual essays, multimedia storytelling, and even memes of cat photos explaining feminist or postcolonial theory.

Giving students the tools to participate in these conversations—and teaching them to express themselves well with those resources—is vital to the heart of composition and rhetoric programs, as well as to the broader humanities. Incorporating video and images in the classroom as malleable instruments with their own grammar and syntactic logic can help students bridge the digital literacy gap as they learn to express their thoughts and ideas in a technologically mediated landscape.

3. Communications & Journalism Programs

In a similar vein to those in composition and rhetoric programs, many communications and journalism students are working toward professions built on communicating digitally in a culture saturated with visual media. Whether their concentrations are on network media and policy or broadcast journalism, it’s important that they have the tools and skills to work with the media that will be their lifeblood.

Moreover, many communications and journalism departments already use stock video, graphics, and audio as part of their programs. Stock media gives students a wide variety of resources for their documentaries, investigative projects, and interactive journalism. Even for students studying communications law and policy, digital media can play an important role in getting their messages across in presentations and briefings through digital storytelling, particularly as we move toward an even more visual culture.

4. Education Programs

(An example of an instructional video made with VideoBlocks for Education content, “Ben Blast’s Science Class” was a finalist in our 2015 Student Film Competition.)

Video is an essential instructional tool—and just as college students learn better from multimedia and multimodal learning, so too do K-12 learners. Del Siegle from the University of Connecticut writes that digital literacy in the classroom is a new imperative for 21st century educators due to the fact that “young people are not only surrounded by visual images but also naturally attracted to viewing and producing videos.”

Future educators also greatly benefit from having the resources to explore the pedagogical possibilities of video in the classroom, from making their own instructional videos to discovering new ways to present lessons and interact with their classrooms. It is paramount that students studying education are as familiar with visual and digital technologies as their own students will be one day.

These four programs are only the beginning. In truth, every corner of academia, as well as every school and discipline, benefits from video education. Teachers and scholars increasingly agree on the importance of digital literacy for inculcating critical thinking and effective communication skills in their students—skills that are essential to every area of study, whether the degrees read “of Arts” or “of Sciences.” As Hani Morgan at the University of Southern Mississippi noted, visual and technological education “enhances motivation, multimodal literacy, problem-solving skills, and content knowledge” of all students. These are qualities that will not only enrich students as individuals, but also the classroom experience and—ultimately—the culture of their programs and universities. In the end, everyone wins from an emphasis on video education.

Have we overlooked any key academic departments that can benefit from video education? Share your ideas in the comments below!

Digital literacy eBook

Topics: Stock Footage, Digital Storytelling, Visual Literacy