"Ethos" is character. If we convey a good sense of ourselves, personally, then this will naturally be engaging. After all, why should anyone read an essay we've written or be interested in our religious beliefs, if we do not convey a good sense of character? This is harder than it sounds, of course, since we can all too easily construct an artificial character. If it sounds like we are selling something -- our own story, or the Book of Mormon -- then we have failed. On the other hand, if we convey a sincere and authentic character, one in which viewers recognize real human beings describing real, lived experience from a genuine angle -- well, that is optimal. Happily, many of the essays seemed to do this well.
How do we get there? Well, first of all, we discussed a number of technical best practices (regarding the use of good lighting, good sound, etc.). No matter how good our ideas, if there is poor sound or lighting no viewer gets a good impression of what is being said. As far as background or location goes, we did think it would help people get a sense of who we are better if we could have our video recorded in an environment that reflects our interests and personality (as so many of the videos did well).
Next week I will be giving more specific direction regarding the next round of revisions on the video (as well as on the essays). But at this point in time, I simply want students to respond to one another's videos, individually (if they have not already done so); and to post their first-draft videos (if they have not yet done so).
If you were in class today (Monday, November 24), then the following is optional; for those absent, it is required. After viewing the playlist of videos (above) and after having commented on several individual students' videos (on separate blog posts), please respond to this post and create a small discussion on this topic: What's working / not working and how might adjust or improve our videos in terms of production and in terms of content? You may wish to use this form while watching the videos, and you also may wish to listen to the class discussion from today (recording here).