Guide to Developing a SUREbyt Video

SUREbyts -> Guide to Developing a SUREbyt Video

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Thank you for agreeing to create a SUREbyt video.

In your SUREbyt video you, a researcher or research student, will discuss your own research in an engaging, accessible way, with the objective of engaging first and second year undergraduate students and stimulating their interest in research and in the subject area.

You will record your video in two parts. In part 1, which will be 3 minutes long, you will introduce yourself and your research, and present your audience with a problem or question, and three possible solutions. In part 2, which will be 2 minutes long, you will discuss the solutions and explain which one is your preferred solution, and why.

When you have recorded the two parts and submitted them to us, we will then edit them together in the following way:

The start will be a short, standard intro that will go on every video. The end will also be a short, standard outro that will go on every video. The middle will play for 3 minutes with a countdown clock on screen along with the three solutions you asked your audience to consider during your presentation of part 1. We will develop and edit in those three parts. You will create part 1 and part 2.

When used in class, the students will have 3 minutes (the middle bit) to discuss the solutions with each other before part 2 plays.


Consider the following example. A researcher, “Sam O’Reilly”, is developing a SUREbyt to engage students with their work on user modelling. They are keen to ensure that students are aware of their own successes as a researcher as they are aware that knowledge of aspects of their professional journey this will help inspire and engage students. They also want to present the audience with an interesting problem that they can consider

The following is a transcript of the part 1 video that Sam records.

Hi there. I am Dr Sam O’Reilly. I am a lecturer and researcher in University of ABC, where I have worked for over 20 years. I have supervised over 25 postgraduate students and have attracted over €20 million of funding for my research group and my university.

[Aside: If Sam was a postgraduate student, the description could have focussed instead on Sam’s journey into postgraduate research, the research group that they joined, and their achievements to date as a researcher. e.g. Hi there, I am Sam O’Reilly. I’m in the third year of my PhD studies in University of ABC where I am working with Professor CJ Keenan as part of the XYZ Research Group.  There are ten other postgraduate students, like me, in the research group as well as 5 other researchers. Altogether our group has published 15 articles in international journals over the past three years, and I have been the author of three of these. ]

As a researcher, I am interested in how people use technology, and how we can design digital technology that everyone can use. In my research, I try to make sense of whether technology is a material – that is – is it a thing? or whether it is social – that is – is it something that behaves, that has agency, that can cause things to happen. I, like many other researchers in my field, believe technology is best understood as neither social nor material, but sociomaterial. This means that it not just shapes or mediates what happens in the world, but it is part of the happening of the world, as much as humans are. I believe that sociomateriality helps us better understand how to design technology that makes the world happen in better ways for all people.

Consider a simple example:

‘Gerry’ a 20 year-old student accidentally bought the wrong ticket from the ticket vending machine in a London underground station while visiting the city over the summer holiday, paying almost double what he should have paid.

Whose fault is this? Is this Gerry’s fault? Is this the fault of the people who designed the ticketing machine? Is it someone else’s fault?
Now think of all the people who use the London underground on a daily basis. Think of how they differ from each other in a whole variety of ways. Not just their physical characteristics like their size and shape, their abilities and disabilities, their handedness, but also their aptitudes, their attitudes towards technology, the language that they speak. Then think of the diverse circumstances that they deal with when they’re coming into the train station, there’s the first time they use the system, the one hundredth time they use the system, the first time they use the system to do something different – like go to a different zone than before, the times when they use the system under pressure because they’re late and there’s a queue behind them, or the time they use the system when there’s only one other person around potentially looking over their shoulder.

In my research, I’m interested in how we can improve the design of technology by improving our understanding of what happens when people and technology come together. I consider the fault to lie with the designer whenever technology is used badly by anyone, is used wrongly by anyone, or isn’t used at all by anyone.

So, my question to you is this. If we want to design for a broad diverse population of people and situations, should we:

  1. Figure out what the average user is like, and design mainly for them.
  2. Figure out how certain, small groups of people are likely to struggle with the system, and design mainly for them.
  3. Design different solutions for different people.

Have a think about this, talk to your classmates, and I’ll tell you in a few minutes what I think we should do.

When Sam records this, it should take 3 minutes to play. Sam may incorporate visuals into the recording if this helps with the presentation, or they may simply talk to the camera. Sam may consider some creative ways in which the above could be presented. Once this 3 minutes is complete, the middle section will play in the SUREbyt and the students will consider the three options. Sam doesn’t have to record this, this will be edited into Sam’s video by us. In the middle section, a clock will count down from 3 minutes and the three options will be on screen as follows:

  1. Average User
  2. Design for identified small groups
  3. Different solutions for different people

In addition to recording part 1, Sam will then also record part 2. This will be 2 minutes long, and in this 2-minute slot Sam will explain why, in Sam’s opinion, solution 2 is the best solution compared to the other two solutions. Sam may point out that other researchers think differently about this problem, mentioning some by name. Sam may also explain how their own research has been influenced by some other leading thinkers in the field. Sam may choose to use visuals such as images or other video footage in the 2 minute part 2.

Planning your SUREbyt Video

The following are the steps that we recommend you take to plan your video.

Step 1. Get to know your audience

The audience for your SUREbyt video will primarily be first and second year undergraduate students. These are people who are learning the fundamentals of the discipline area, but who are unlikely to have been exposed to research at the cutting edge of the field. This is your opportunity to present them with a problem related to your research that will stimulate their interest in pursuing research later in their career, or just cause them to see how the topics they’re learning about now are related to a bigger field of discovery.

Try not to assume that your audience will know about your field. Make your presentation as accessible as possible for your audience.

Step 2. Think about how you’d like to introduce yourself

Your audience will be impressed by your CV. Let them know who you are and what you’ve accomplished. Tell them a little bit about your journey to date. Try to distil this into a number of key points that you can get across in a short period of time. Use your full professional title e.g. Prof Joan Smith; Dr Joe Bloggs, and let them know one or two things about your professional and research story.

Step 3. Think about a good question with three solutions that you could pose for the students

The core of the SUREbyt video is a question that is posed with three possible solutions, that is related to your research. This can be about any aspect of your research, and ideally it should not have an obvious answer but would be capable of generating some discussion and debate among your audience.

Step 4. Think about what you need to tell the audience about your research in order to understand the question

This is the brief introduction to your research that will be recorded before you pose the question. Think about what you need to tell your audience in order for them to understand the question and be able to consider the possible solutions.

Step 5. Plan Part 1

You may or may not want to do a formal script for what you’re going to present in part 1, however, a plan for what you’re going to say is very important. Don’t include too much, as you will need to speak in your video at a normal speaking pace and you are limited to only 3 minutes for part 1. If at all possible try not to read off the script during the video to make it more natural.

The following is important:

  1. Part 1 needs to be accessible, engaging, stimulating and exciting for your audience (See Step 1).
  2. Part 1 needs to be only 3 minutes long in total.
  3. At the start of this part pause on screen for 3 seconds (count it out in your head). This will aid us in assembling the final video.
  4. Part 1 needs to include, in order, your introduction (See Step 2); your research context (See Step 4); your question and the three possible solutions (See Step 3).
  5. Part 1 can include any images or other content that you think is necessary. You can edit this in yourself, or you can send it to us with your final video with instructions on where it should appear in the video (we can edit in up to 2 additional items per SUREbyt video).
  6. Remember that at the end of part 1, the three solutions will remain on screen for 3 minutes. Provide a link sentence such as “Think about which of these solutions is best and I’ll provide you with my opinion in a short while…”.
  7. At the end of this part pause on screen for 3 seconds (count it out in your head). This will aid us in assembling the final video.

Step 6. Plan Part 2

As with part 1, you may not need a formal script, but you need to plan what you’re going to say. In this part, you are going to present your opinion on which of the three solutions is best and why. You’re also going to provide the border context, for example, other researchers might have a different opinion, and this is how you distinguish your subfields of research. This video needs to be only 2 minutes in length.

The following is important:

  1. Video 2 needs to be only 2 minutes long in total.
  2. At the start of this video pause on screen for 3 seconds (count it out in your head). This will aid us in assembling the final video.
  3. Video 2 needs to include a discussion of the three solutions, and which you think is best (See Step 3).
  4. Video 2 needs to be accessible, engaging, stimulating and exciting for your audience (See Step 1).
  5. Video 2 can include any images or other content that you think is necessary.
  6. You can end Video 2 with an encouraging message such as “These are the types of exciting problems we deal with as professional scientists, perhaps you too will consider a research career…”
  7. At the end of this video pause on screen for 3 seconds (count it out in your head). This will aid us in assembling the final video.

Record Part 1 and Part 2

You can make your recording on your phone or your computer using any applications or software with which you are comfortable. The following are some guidelines that we ask you to consider:

  1. Record in a quiet, well lit place (though ensure you do not have your back to a window).
  2. Record in high definition if possible. (For those of you with technical knowledge, 4k and 8k is fine but we will be down sizing it to 1080p.)
  3. Put your camera/phone on a stand, if possible.
  4. Record in landscape.
  5. Sit on a chair or stand.
  6. Try not to move around too much unless you’re demonstrating something.
  7. Smile and intonate your voice, speaking slowly and clearly.
  8. If you make an error, you may wish to start over. Alternatively, you can just take a pause of 3 seconds, and continue with the recording repeating the part in which you made an error. We will then edit out the error. If you avoid moving too much it will make this editing easier later.
  9. Beware of any material in your shot as it will be shared publicly. Keep in mind privacy and copyright.
  10. Enjoy! It is important that you come across as enthusiastic.

Send us Part 1 and Part 2

Get in touch with your point of contact on the project team to make arrangements to submit your videos. You can do so by sharing a cloud folder with us, or we can make a folder available to you if this is your preference.

If you want any images or other videos to be edited into your video (up to 2 per video), you can provide us with these digital files also. Just make sure that you have copyright ownership over these. If you wish for us to make any such edits, please provide detailed instructions.

Complete the Consent Form for SUREbyt Authors

Download and complete the Consent Form for SUREbyts Authors and submit this to your point of contact on the project team when submitting part 1 and part 2 of your SUREbyt video.

Additional Resources

The project team has prepared a SUREbyt presentation template. You do not need to use this for your video, in fact you do not need to use PowerPoint or presentation software at all, but if you wish to do so, the template is linked to below.

SUREbyts Presentation Template