Team-Building and Participation Video Project


Instructor: Dr. Moshe ben Asher    Home phone: (818) 718-2693

Office: Santa Susana Hall 107                 Office phone: (818) 677-6242

Office Hours: M-W 12:30-1:45       email:




The team-building and participation video term project offers unique opportunities and challenges to students, especially in the areas of mezzo and macro social work practice.


The primary challenges are building an effective team and participating as contributing team members. Teamwork may be the most important variable in successful professional practice. To a significant extent, both here and in future practice, your ability to be helpful will depend in large measure on your effectiveness in building teams and contributing your efforts as a team member.


The video project is also an opportunity for students to present practice experience and research findings, normally limited to term papers, using a medium that potentially has much more impact on targeted audiences. Students have the opportunity to become acquainted with the essentials of video production—such as scriptwriting, directing, and editing—which entail professional knowledge and skill valued by many employers.




Approximately 20 percent (100 points) of your final grade for the course will reflect your team’s accomplishment, in contrast to your individual contribution to your team’s video project.


Grading for the team’s contribution to the video term project will be as follows: (1) 10 points for technical quality (i.e., camera work, lighting, sound, editing, etc.); (2) 30 points for development, including research on related issues and use of relevant professional literature; (3) 30 points for exposition, including organization and use of effective forms of presentation (e.g., interviews, graphics, voice-over narration, etc.); and (4) 30 points for advocacy, including inspirational and motivational effectiveness.


Grading for individual contributions to the video projects will be as follows: (1) 50 points for attendance and participation at eight regularly scheduled team meetings during the semester (as confirmed by the team director or co-director of team process, and reported by the team recording secretary); (2) 50 points for satisfactory task-role completion as evidenced by written submissions (when appropriate) and overall team progress reflecting timely and satisfactory completion of the task; and (3) 100 points for annotated bibliographies and one to three-page summaries of research questions/issues and their implications for scripting.


·        The assignment involves social work skills and ability to build an effective team. (In effect, teams inevitably must deal with a variety of tensions and problems that arise and hinder successful completion of their tasks—including: members who try to dominate their process, who fail to contribute their fair share of time, energy, or spirit, who undermine the work of other team members by ridicule or inappropriate treatment, etc. It’s virtually always true that to be successful, the members must work together as a team to deal with these challenges.)

·        The assignment requires that the areas of relevant professional literature be divided among team members for review. (This will include the preparation by each student of an annotated bibliography and one- to three-page summary of research questions/issues with their implications for scripting. See below for more information.)


Your focus throughout this assignment, then, should be on (1) the personal and social skills required for building an effective team and working as a committed team member, and (2) the academic and technical competencies required to produce an instructive video term project.



·        Finding A Theme

1.     To find a theme for your video production, begin with the major topic areas (chapter titles) in the textbook, e.g., “Health Problems and Medical Social Services,” “Crime, Juvenile Delinquency, and Correctional Services,” or “Problems in Education and School Social Work.”

2.     After identifying a topic area for a video theme, such as crime, juvenile delinquency, and correctional services, identify a particular problem of interest within that topic area, e.g., how after-school programs affect juvenile delinquency.

·        Developing A Preliminary Macro Storyline

1.     The “storyline” is the story you want your video to tell, from a macro perspective, about the problem of interest your team has selected based on a particular theme.

2.     The essence of the video is the macro story, not primarily about individuals but larger social forces, which should have a beginning, middle, and end.

3.     Preferably the video should include an element of suspense, lending dramatic tension; and it should be about something that has actually happened or could happen, with serious consequences.

4.     The elements of the storyline carry the central message of the story and the evidence needed to convincingly convey the story.

5.     The storyline also presents the “cynic’s questions” and how they’re answered. (For example: “Wouldn’t it be cheaper and more efficient to simply lock up juvenile delinquents instead of creating after-school programs for them?”)

6.     The video production may use still photographs, video clips taken from online and other sources, original artwork, etc., but at least 50 percent of the running time of the completed video must be originally recorded for this project by one or more of the team members.

·        Example of a macro storyline telling how after-school programs affect juvenile delinquency:

1.     The beginning of this story might be to tell what public school children were doing after school in Los Angeles in the middle of the last century, say around 1950. Obviously, there might be substantial differences for different socio-economic neighborhoods in the city. This beginning of the story might also describe the patterns and rates of juvenile delinquency in L.A. at that time.

2.     The next part of the story might describe what social and economic forces came into play over the period of several decades that changed after-school activities and delinquency rates for public school children in L.A. This might include loss of well-paying blue-collar employment and the dramatic growth of two-working-parent families and latch-key children, the spread of neighborhood gang activity, the decline of supervised after-school city and school playgrounds, etc. This might also be the place to review changing patterns of juvenile delinquency during these decades (e.g., the increasing availability and use of weapons and drugs, the dramatic growth of organized drug-dealing gangs, etc.).

3.     The next part of the story might focus on publicly and privately funded after-school programs that have been proposed and implemented as an antidote to rising rates of juvenile delinquency. You would want to describe some of the major features of these programs. It would also be important to describe the most significant constituencies and organized interests that supported and opposed funding and development of these programs, and their most compelling arguments, pro and con.

4.     The story could continue by describing what the latest research and anecdotal data show about the successes and failures of the most innovative and widely adopted after-school programs, both in regard to their engaging the participation of young people and reducing delinquency.

5.     The story might conclude by reviewing proposals for future research and program development, including estimates (made by others as well as yourselves) of the level of political support needed to pass necessary legislation and to allocate funding, and sources of anticipated opposition.

·        When your team has settled on a storyline, the next step will be to assign the different elements of the story (as outlined above) to team members for them to do bibliographic research.

1.     For example, the elements of part one of the story (above)—a description of what L.A. kids were doing after school in 1950, and the extent of juvenile delinquency at that time—would be research questions/issues assigned to one member of your team.

2.     Each one of the parts of the story outlined above requires research to determine the specific content you want to include in the video.

·        Once the research has been done and the team has determined the specific information that is to be conveyed by the story, you can begin to determine how you will communicate each part of the story—for example, when you will use interviews that draw on personal experience or expertise, when you will use video clips from other sources, when you will use “street scenes,” etc. And as you do this, the synopsis and storyboard are further refined.

·        Developing A Storyboard & Synopsis

1.     The storyboard consists of a series of simple (stick-figure) pictorials that portray all of the individual scenes in the video, which provide the basis for development of a script.

2.     The pictorials are to be presented on 8.5 x 11 paper so they can be distributed in advance by email to members of the team.

3.     Typically, the initial storyboard is a confused mish-mash of ideas, which is natural because there’s not much clarity at the outset about exactly what the video content is going to be and how it will be portrayed on-screen.

4.     As the team’s research findings emerge and thinking about video content becomes clarified, the storyboard is incrementally transitioned to on-screen scenes.

5.     In team discussions about the content of the video, team members should continually raise the question, “What does the scene look like on-screen?” until it is clarified.

6.     As the storyboard is updated, the synopsis continues to be developed.

7.     The synopsis briefly describes each of the scenes and their key elements, e.g., interview, voice-over narration, street scene, lighting (daytime or nighttime), ambient sound(s), etc.

8.     The synopsis should be divided into 25- to 50-word descriptions, accompanying the pictorials for each scene, and describing the content of each scene.

9.     Typically the beginning scenes introduce the protagonists and issues to be resolved, the middle scenes describe development of the process of overcoming obstacles or challenges, and the ending scenes show how resolution, completion, or understanding was achieved.

·        Developing A Script

1.     The script is directly developed from the storyline, storyboard, and the summaries of bibliographic research, corresponding to the specific elements of the storyline, submitted by each member of the team.

2.     The script includes all the elements that will appear in the completed video—not only video recorded for the project, but video clips taken from the Internet, still photographs, narrative voice-over, etc.

3.     If one or more team members fail to prepare summaries of their bibliographic research, the scriptwriter will be stymied and the team’s progress will be halted.



The annotated bibliography assignment has three parts:

·        Six bibliographic entries (including author's name, title of article, title of publication, volume and issue numbers, date of publication, etc.):

1.     Each of the six bibliography entries must be from a professional or academic journal or, if given the nature of the research question/issue that's not possible, then from another recognized source, such as government or foundation reports. In-depth articles from well-regarded institutes and other nonprofit organizations, or as a last resort some lesser publications and other sources, may be used with the instructor’s prior approval. But be advised: newspaper articles, except in extraordinarily unusual circumstances, do not meet the requirements of this assignment. If you have doubts about what's acceptable, call or send me an email and ask.

2.     You may use any academically recognized format for your bibliographic entries (but not for your short descriptive paragraphs or one- to three-page summaries). The following links are to acceptable university guides for preparing annotated bibliography entries:

·        A short paragraph following each entry, describing what the article is about:

1.     The short descriptive paragraph following each entry should include only enough information so the other members of your team will have a basic idea of what each item is about when they look at your bibliography entries.

2.     If you cut and paste bibliographic descriptions from online sources, they will be too detailed and thus not suitable, useful, or acceptable for this assignment.

·        A one- to three-page summary of the key points you've extracted from all your sources, including implications for scripting:

1.     The one- to three-page summary of the key points you’ve extracted from all your sources is not a "book report" or "article analysis" in which you try to summarize all the information that's included in each article.

2.     All you're looking for in these sources is material that’s directly on the point of the question/issue you’ve been assigned to research from the storyline. That’s it.

3.     So the only material that you're going to include in the one- to three-page summary is the material that you think might actually be relevant enough to include (in one form or another) in the final script for your video.

4.     Whenever possible, material that’s to be included in the video—say, for example, a still photograph of an elementary school that was built in the early part of the twentieth century, where after-school programming took place—should be accompanied by proposed methods of “scripting,” such as specifying the Los Angeles City Library as a source of such photographs or naming an existing school and its location that would be suitable.



·        Each student in the class will participate in a video production, as a member of a seven- to eight-person team.

·        After teams are designated in class, they will convene at eight regularly scheduled meetings, and organize themselves for discussion, decision-making, and action.

·        Once organized, each team must by a specified time (see below) divide up coordinating responsibilities for the various production tasks—including: (1) directing, (2) storyboard and synopsis management, (3) scriptwriting, (4) talent-management, (5) camera operation, (6) editing, and (7) recording secretary.

·        All team members will share in these task-roles, but one individual will have overall responsibility for coordinating each task and ensuring its timely and satisfactory completion.

·        The production tasks involve the following responsibilities:

1.     Co-Director(s) Product and Process (responsibilities are set out in more detail in the appendix to this document)

Ensures coordination and integration of the work of the other team members, specifically the process of building the team and the participation of individual members, and the final product of a completed video

—Assesses the progress and performance of the team generally and of its individual members

—Accountability-mentors individual team members

Ensures adequate resources to meet challenges and problems of the team and its individual members

—Confirms recording secretary’s record of attendance and participation of team members at all team meetings and forward the secretary’s reports to the instructor

Maintains more or less continuous liaison with the instructor on progress and problems

—Maintains a journal of day-to-day involvement in team process and product, which is submitted for a task-role grade (50 points—due 11/29)

2.     Storyboard and synopsis manager

Develops simple (stick-figure) pictorials, a one- to two-page written synopsis, which is submitted for a task-role grade (50 points—due 10/25)

—Develops more detailed scene descriptions based on the team’s discussions, depicting the beginning, middle, and ending scenes in the production. (Typically the beginning scenes introduce the protagonists and issues to be resolved, the middle scenes describe development of the process of overcoming obstacles or challenges, and the ending scenes show how resolution, completion, or understanding was achieved.)

—Prepares the storyboard should on standard letter-size paper (8.5 x 11), with the sheets stapled together, for convenient distribution to team members.

3.     Scriptwriter

—Writes the actual script for the entire video, based on the storyboard and synopsis, which is submitted for a task-role grade (50 points—due 10/18), and based on the bibliographic research summaries of questions and issues for all of the points in the storyline

—Scripting includes spoken lines for on-camera speakers, basic on-camera movement, narrative or voice-over commentary used for still photographs, etc., lighting requirements, and sound effects, placement of video clips, etc.

4.     Talent Manager

Manages “talent” contacts, invitations, schedules, and coordination of the involvement of individuals who have on-camera roles

—Arranges shooting schedules with talent

—Scouts out shooting locations and makes necessary arrangements (e.g., obtaining permissions, scheduling shooting, etc.)

—Locates video and audio filler as needed

—Maintains an outline/schedule of talent logistics, which is submitted for a task-role grade (50 points—due 11/29)

5.     Camera Operator

—Ensures that hardware and media (e.g., DVD disks) are provided as needed

—Makes a timely email video camera reservation request to the course instructor, specifying:

(1)    The day the camera is needed

(2)    The preferred day and time for picking up the camera

(3)    The approximate length of time the camera is required

 —Picks up the camera, and returns the camera to the Help Desk on time

—Ensures that all hardware (e.g., camera, tripod, etc.) is in good working order

—Provides redundant hardware/media capability

—Ensures that minimum technical requirements of audio and video recording are met, including:

(1) Selection of lens focal length

(2) Camera stability (by use of tripod when necessary)

(3) Off-camera microphone (for interviews)

(4) Adequate lighting

—Maintains a written record of all video recording sessions, including the starting and finishing times of each session, the number of minutes of video recorded, the recording location, and the subjects recorded, which is submitted for a task-role grade (50 points—due 11/29)

6.     Editor

—Reviews all recorded video and other “filler,” such as video clips from the Internet, still photographs, etc.

—Recommends “first-cut” (edit) to team based on storyboard, synopsis, and script

Based on team editing decisions, works with Video Studio personnel to produce final edited version of video, which is turned in for a task-role grade (50 points—due 12/8)

—It should be noted that, when all necessary preparations for editing have been completed (e.g., viewing all recorded video and outlining precisely what cuts and insertions are to be made), the editing itself usually takes four to five hours. More time will be required if videos need to be downloaded off the Internet, VHS tapes or DVDs need to be loaded into the CSUN Video Studio system, etc.

7.  Recording Secretary

—Records essential discussions and decisions at team meetings in the form of team meeting minutes, and circulates minutes of team meetings via email within 72 hours of meetings to all team members, which are submitted for a task-role grade (40 points—due 12/1)

—Meeting minutes should include the day, date, time, and location of the meeting; the first and last names of all team members who were present at the meeting; a brief summary of the high points that were discussed; and any decisions or actions that were taken by the team.

—Sends out notices/reminders of meeting dates, times, and locations to team members at least one week before regularly scheduled meetings and 24 hours before specially scheduled meetings, which are submitted for a task role grade (10 points—due 11/29)

·        It’s expected that each team will produce a video of not less than 10 or more than 20 minutes (except by special arrangement with the instructor).

·        Productions may be done entirely in a “studio” setting, on the “street,” in a community facility, or using a combination of these and other appropriate settings.



·        Meeting 1—August 25

1.     Conduct get-acquainted exercise (30)

2.     Exchange phone numbers and email addresses (0)

3.     Briefly review and answer questions regarding video project task-roles (10)

4.     Identify areas of interest to develop in video project (based on textbook chapter subjects or other appropriate sources) (5)

5.     Preliminarily propose themes (20)

6.     Adopt team name (10)

·        Meeting 2—September 1

1.     Answer any questions regarding task-roles (using professor as a resource)

2.     Assign task-roles to all team members

3.     Discuss and decide on theme and preliminary story line

4.     Confirm 9/13 deadline for submitting written theme and storyline for instructor’s approval and feedback

·        Meeting 3—September 15

1.     Storyline detailed

2.     Preliminary storyboard and synopsis developed by full team

3.     Confirm 9/22 deadline for submitting preliminary hardcopy storyboard and synopsis for instructor’s approval and feedback

·        Meeting 4—September 22

1.     Identify research issues/questions in relation to storyline

1.     Divide up research issues/questions for annotated bibliography assignments

2.     Confirm 10/6 deadline for submitting individual annotated bibliographies and one- to three-page summaries of research questions/issues with their implications for scripting

·        Meeting 5—October 6

1.     Discuss and decide on essential script elements




—Video clips and still photographs



2.     Discuss and decide on preliminary logistics

—Interview subjects

—Shooting locations



3.     Confirm 10/25 deadline for submitting written script for approval

·        Meeting 6—October 18

1.  Tony Hillbruner, Media Production Specialist from CSUN Creative Media Services, presentation (15 minutes)

2.  Final script approved by full team

3.  Recording logistics discussed and approved by full team

·        Meeting 7—November 10

1.  Review all recorded video

2.  Identify gaps and plan to fill them

·        Meeting 8—November 15

1.  Discuss and decide on material to include/exclude in completed video

2.  Specify outline of edits for editor

3.  Set date, time, and place for final viewing of edited video

4.  Confirm deadline of 12/8 for submitting final edited video project



·        Each team will have technical support for video editing from the CSUN Video Studio.

·        The Video Studio hours of operation are: Monday-Thursday, 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m., and Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

·        Editing sessions must be scheduled by appointment well in advance of the team’s desired date and time.

·        Appointments may be made by calling Tony Hillbruner at 818-677-3592

·        Arrangements to obtain the use of video cameras may be made by calling the Help Desk at 818-677-6363.



·        The final examination for the course will be graded on a team basis—that is, each team will earn a single grade that will apply to all of its members.

1.  All members of each team will receive the same final exam grade unless there is a consensus of the team members that one or more members of the team should not receive the same grade.

2.  The professor will determine the final grade of any such designated team member.

·        The final exam will consist of each team presenting its completed video to the class for viewing.

·        The basis for grading the completed videos is outlined on page one of this handout.




Responsibilities of Co-Directors


One of the co-directors is responsible for keeping track of how the team is doing in the way of team-building and participation process. That is, how well people are working together; how well individuals are contributing to the overall teamwork effort; how well differences of opinion and tension are being resolved; etc.

In effect, for example, if one of the team members is hanging back and not making many contributions to the team effort, it’s this co-directors responsibility to initiate some kind of action to deal with the problem. The action could be as simple as calling on the person by name in meetings when soliciting opinions about a decision that has to be made, or it could be speaking to the individual privately about participating more.

This co-director is responsible for keeping an ongoing journal of what he or she is doing to keep the process of building the team and individual participation “on track.”

One of this co-director's responsibilities is to stay in contact with the instructor regarding the challenges and problems the team has in becoming unified and working together effectively under pressure, especially when there are interpersonal tensions of one kind or another.


The other co-director is responsible for how the team is doing in terms of the practical things that have to be accomplished to produce the video (i.e., the product). That is, how each person is doing to fulfill his or her task-role assignment, whether the team is meeting its current deadlines for finishing various stages of the project (e.g., storyboard and synopsis, bibliographic research, etc.).

In effect, if one of the team members is not making progress on his or her task-role assignment—say, for example, writing the script—it’s this co-director’s responsibility to initiate some kind of action. The action could be as simple as calling the problem to the attention of the other team members and asking them to decide how to deal with it, the action could be notifying the instructor and asking how the problem might be handled, or it could be a number of other possibilities.

This co-director is responsible for keeping an ongoing journal of what he or she is doing to keep the accomplishment of the practical tasks of the video production “on track.”

One of this co-director's responsibilities is to stay in contact with the instructor regarding the challenges and problems the team has in completing each stage in producing the video, especially when there are practical obstacles or problems of one kind or another.





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© 2010 Moshe ben Asher