Final Reflection Journal

The final reflection Journal

I found this entire process of researching and covering events on the Syrian crisis to be quite rewarding. I say this because the topic was actually actually covered in another paper I did for this semester in Borders, Boundaries and Globalization. The different migration processes I reported on included population movements from civil conflict and Syria was a recent case study I decided to base my presentation on. Part of my presentation also included research based on different migration streams and again I decided to present on Syrian refugees. I also found this topic was close to heart with the work I’ve been doing as a Volunteer Support Worker at Red Cross. The refugee families whom I have been supporting that come from Syria gave me the passion and drive to do a campaign video on the Syrian refugee crisis. Having said that what I quite like about my project was that it allowed for me to build on many skills that I was lacking in. I improved my skills on research and gathering academic resources for my project, I also improved my presentation skills and narration which I learnt throughout this paper. I found it quite nerve wrecking to present my video only because of the audio which consisted of my voice, although I built my confidence throughout my project the sound of my voice was one major aspect I did not like to publicize.  A solution to break up my voice over’s was to add segments that required an actual interview from the refugees gathered from news agencies. One other aspect I felt I was lacking in was my ability to navigate through the e-portfolio process which required reflections on the work done for my video, I found it fairly easier to construct my video on Windows Movie Maker and the post the final video onto YouTube and add a link onto WordPress. It didn’t occur to me earlier on that I could have posted bits of the video which would have helped demonstrate progress on my project.

I definitely felt as if the majority of my time was spent on trying to technically construct an actual campaign video which spans 9 minutes. Looking through the videos posted from my peers during the semester I felt as if I had made this project harder on myself. If anything the challenge was more technical, and throughout the final weeks I felt as if more attention had been solely based on the construction of the video, as my concern over presenting a campaign video that followed all elements of my research and storyboard that was presented in earlier posts. Looking back if I were to evaluate the technical process I think the solution lied in the amount of work I projected myself to complete every week. What should have been done in the beginning,was a realistic measurement of the work I expected to cover, so perhaps I should have posted small parts of a dialogue script with a small part of video that was completed for every week. I found posting up a huge portion of work that hadn’t been completed to be quite demanding, as I was slowly getting the hang of doing my work outside WordPress, the posting my post’s on things I had completed for the week into my portfolio. I also would have shifted my focus from my research to the technical side of things as it was here that the majority of my work was based on.If anything next time I’ll change to time frame of events on my weekly progress for this campaign video. The second adjustment I would have done was cut down on the length of time for my campaign video, so rather then post one 9 minute video, I could have done a three part series covering the Syrian Conflict, Zaatari Refugee Camp and International response on Syrian Refugees. That would have made my project so much easier to tackle.

Coming away from this project I feel as if I improved greatly on technical aspects that involved the construction of a video, an area which I improved greatly on since my iCommunication project which also involved technical skills on making a video as well. The only difference I felt there was between the 2 projects was that this was approached and completed independently. One aspect I definitely felt I missed on was the collaboration with other students, as the approach I took on with my video campaign was an independent effort and it felt as if the majority of my work was done away from this platform (WordPress). The only success I felt I had accomplish in this paper was improving the skills I had set myself on achieving from the beginning which involved academic research, constructing a storyboard, constructing  a video with the research I had gathered and posting a video onto YouTube. I think the tasks I originally set out to achieve in the beginning were quite mammoth in size and was really overwhelming. However I managed to complete a considerable amount of work which I feel is quite an achievement, especially given the lack of competencies I had with the skills needed to construct a 9 minute campaign video with my voice over.

During my application for an internship at a non-governmental organisation, I came across the requirements that were needed for candidates interested in campaign advocacy. One of the requirements involved knowledge on WordPress, experience using video editing software, strong research and writing skills,  and strong verbal communication –

What I hope to include in my application, for the next intake in October, is the work I have done this semester for my project on the Syrian Refugee Crisis. I realize now the extent of usefulness that my e-portfolio can have on possible future employment. I feel as if this is the best platform that presents my work and skills to future employees, although it presented a lot of stress I feel as if this i-paper (compared with iWrite & iCommunicate) has been the most rewarding. Having said that,  I continue to have a passion to work for agencies in the humanitarian field, as it is this area that I hope to build a career in the future.





Third Reflection Journal

Updates on my progress with my video presentation. This week my focus was on completing the final stages of my video construction. With the advice given from Karen’s email I posted the links to my work I had been doing outside WordPress. What I found easy was to focus on the work I had been doing on Google drive and windows movie maker. I think what could have made my job easier would have been to post the parts of my video I had completed thus far onto YouTube, then post the link onto WordPress, so that others could monitor my progress. What I realized was that I didn’t choose to use YouTube, instead I chose to use Windows Movie Maker as my video processor, over the weeks I gradually started to find my way around this software. I feel as if these few weeks had been the most productive for me in terms of work that has been completed and posted online. My only concern is that I won’t have enough material to cover the visuals for my video, as the majority of research conducted was based on reports and fact sheets. Looking back I think I should have taken into thought the images and video segments that would go into the video, rather then stress on the narration, which took up the majority of my time.

Final Campaign Video

I feel as if my video might be lacking parts that focus on the issues occurring in Zaatari Refugee Camp. Rather it covers a lot on the camp itself, the people displaced, reasons behind the Syrian crisis and the international response of non-governmental organisations or agencies. During the editing process I realized the research which covered Zaatari’s background didn’t quite touch on the problems that refugee’s were facing in the camp, the focus of the reports were on the demographics and general population of the camp. I think this made me realize that there was hardly any reports from NGO’s which highlighted the problems that refugee’s face in Zaatari. Most sources that did cover this topic on poor living conditions and issues in the camp were news agencies. I managed to find stories from refugees which covered their take on life in the camp, but this would only serve well as a cited report on someone’s story. I preferred top have covered this segment on poor living conditions and issues in the Zaatari camp by applying a video from the news agencies that reported their story. This allowed for a smooth break in my video presentation that gave a different perspective on the Syrian crisis.

I think the editing process allowed me to take out certain parts which focused extensively on stating facts from the fact sheets as it would have bored the viewer. I realized what would help in terms of keeping the audience captivated, would be to show a 2 minute segment on ‘A day in Zaatari’, this actually shows firsthand the ordeals that refugees go through in Zaatari. It made for a good break from my narration and showed a realistic point of view. The only segment which I didn’t do much editing was on the beginning of my video presentation, as it is within the introduction, that I feel the foundation of understanding the Syrian crisis lies. Part 2 on the Syrian crisis would be the stories or segments on Zaatari Refugee camp.

For the next week my focus will be on posting up the final edited video onto Social Media sites. Hopefully there will be no issues with the compressed video format.



Campaign Video

WEEK 11: Final editing process for voice over and video. Checklist on audio and video presentation – using guidelines – does it meet the requirements. My final video presentation should be at least 9 minutes. Conduct final draft for referencing post – be sure to carefully cite and reference all sources used in the video.

I noticed throughout the editing process that the majority of my narration covered a lot on the dynamics of Zaatari Refugee Camp, it didn’t however touch on in depth the issues that have been occurring within the camp. The purpose of the video campaign is to highlight the Syrian crisis with the backdrop of events that refugees face in Zaatari. What I ended up with was a significant amount on the Syrian conflict (which was my intention) and Zaatari dynamics and demographics.  My research lacked areas that made aware the problems or issues that Syrians face in the Zaatari camp. Here’s the video which contains the all scenes that have bee selected for the final cut, note that the final campaign video which will be posted on social media sites will not contain these edited scenes.

Final Draft 

Video includes section on sexual abuse in Za’atari Refugee Camp. Audio and background music to be included in the final edit.

Voice Over segments

Each file represents the voice over for the sections in the Campaign Video


Background Music for Campaign Video

Campaign Video – Editing

WEEK 10: Apply final voice over to video presentation follow guidelines and techniques given by professional public speakers. Follow presentation guidelines and techniques. Develop media skills on editing a video ie voice over and visuals match up, music is edited in timely manner, visual and still images pan out of the frame nicely to a high standard.

So the advice given this week was to post up the actual construction of my storyboard. I’ve also added the link to my research folder which was posted on week 4, as a reminder of what my project is based on and the scope of cover given by non-governmental agencies who have been reporting on the Syrian crisis. Hopefully the research reports, articles, fact sheets and storyboard would act as a reminder of the scope that this project will be covering. The video draft is a compilation of the still frames and visual segments that will be used for my project. Next week I’ll take on the presentation tips and add the narrative to my video. Included in this weeks post For part 2 of this post I’ve also added the benchmark or video’s that present a good example of public speaking guidelines.

Part ONE:

Final Narrative for Campaign Video Link

Edited sections from ‘Narrative for Storyboard’, that will be included in the final video for WEEK 12.

Video Draft Link

Story Board Link

Research Link

Direct Link to Research Folder


Part TWO:

Public Speaking Guidelines

Tips and Techniques from Toastmasters International (2014)

1. Know your material. Pick a topic you are interested in. Know more about it than you include in your speech. Use humor, personal stories and conversational language – that way you won’t easily forget what to say.

2. Practice. Practice. Practice! Rehearse out loud with all equipment you plan on using. Revise as necessary. Work to control filler words; Practice, pause and breathe. Practice with a timer and allow time for the unexpected.

3. Know the audience. Greet some of the audience members as they arrive. It’s easier to speak to a group of friends than to strangers.

4. Know the room. Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and any visual aids.

5. Relax. Begin by addressing the audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Pause, smile and count to three before saying anything. (“One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. Pause. Begin.) Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm.

6. Visualize yourself giving your speech. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confident. Visualize the audience clapping – it will boost your confidence.

7. Realize that people want you to succeed. Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. They’re rooting for you.

8. Don’t apologize for any nervousness or problem – the audience probably never noticed it.

9. Concentrate on the message – not the medium. Focus your attention away from your own anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience.

10. Gain experience. Mainly, your speech should represent you — as an authority and as a person. Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking. A Toastmasters club can provide the experience you need in a safe and friendly environment.

Toastmasters International (2014). 10 Tips for public speaking. Retrieved from

Narrative Speech



Campaign Video – Narration

WEEK 9: Final edit on research formatted for the video presentation so that it follows the dialogue. Start on voice over for the video. I am not a confident speaker so during this stage of my project I will look into examples of what good public speakers would sound like. At this stage I hope to develop a skill in strong verbal communication. Read aloud dialogue and apply as voice over, follow guidelines for an effective and captivating presentation/campaign.

At this stage I’m slowly compiling my work I’ve done for my project outside WordPress into my e-portfolio. I’ll need to post the links to my research and YouTube video, which for at this stage will have my voice over to the narration. I’m starting to get nervous as it requires a bit of research into the 3rd part of my project, developing presentation skills. So far Iv’e managed to come up with a dialogue that follows the format of my storyboard, my only concern is that I won’t be able to cover enough visuals throughout my video presentation. The narrative itself fits the time frame which I aimed for, 9 minutes plus, I just need to add extra visuals and video’s to accompany my narration.

Narrative for video presentation


Campaign Video – Construction

WEEK 8: Construct a video on YouTube. This is my first time making a video on YouTube, so during this process I will learn how to construct a video and start compiling the research for my video presentation onto Youtube. This will follow the formation and direction of the storyboard. The storyboard will follow the guidelines of an effective and captivating presentation. Practice voice over and edit dialogue where necessary be sure that it follows a ‘campaign’ like structure.

The first step for this process will be to find a video editing program so that I can upload the video’s and slides into one compact video. I’ve come across Windows Media which I have used before on a iCommunictions project. This would hopefully allow for a smooth transition with the editing process i.e adding the still shots, video’s and slides, so that the final video includes all these elements. I’m currently finding the storyboard very useful as a timeline with my progress. Here’s are the links to my video in progress.

Youtube Video

WEEK 7: Third and final week for research and storyboard formation. Construct a storyboard and dialogue which would last at least 10 minutes. Reference correctly all sources used, using APA 6th Edition. Develop the skill to think creatively with strong writing skills for a narration and learn how to write a story board that would captivate an audience. Start on the construction of the video presentation using YouTube.

Research and Video finally coming together. I’ve decided to use Windows Media as the tool that will compose all the components for my video. This was used previously for a project in iCommunicate. At the moment the process is focused on applying the work I’ve done for the last 3 weeks onto a platform that will display what I have done so far. I’m looking forward to seeing the progress i have made, the only problem is I need to tweak the narration so that it follows through with the storyboard and video’s from the NGO YouTube channels. In terms of research I am struggling trying to find the correct format for the APA 6th Edition reference. I have made sure to keep track of the links and pages my research derives from, only problem now is trying to compose a reference list with the correct references, as this is the crux of my project that determines whether or not it was a “cut & paste” video, or one that I thought out meticulously. This involved academic research, construction of a ‘report’ which acts as the narrative, and the construction of a storyboard – the first step into constructing a video. I’m quite cautious with moving forward only because I want to be sure that the resources I have gathered, have been properly recognized and referenced. 


How to construct a storyboard?

Storyboard Report

WEEK 6: Second week of Research on proposed topic. Collect visuals and images for still frames on presentation. Gather final sources for my presentation’s narration (10 minute dialogue)’. Compile a “storyboard” for the presentation format and dialogue which will be used in video. This will be my first approach to storyboard writing. During the process it will allow me to  improve my skills in writing and in doing so would hopefully assist in my confidence in strong verbal communication (dialogue). As part of my research I hope gather information on guidelines that will assist me in making an effective and video presentation in a campaign like manner..

The first half of the research process proved to be quite an easy task to undertake, as it only required the gathering of visuals, images and still frames on the Syrian Crisis. I managed to pair the information from my the reports on Syria, to the visual that were added in the source. In terms of statistics the plethora of diagrams and tables that illustrated the Zaatari refugee figures allowed easy access to information that would be used in my video. The only issue I have with the extensive research I managed to gather is editing the resources so that it will allow me to compose a video within the time frame (8-10 minutes). Having gathered my initial research for the project, I’m now into the next half of the process for week 6, which is the construction of a storyboard. The purpose of the storyboard in question is to act as a”‘visual organizer, typically a series of illustrations displayed in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualizing a video’ . I found it difficult to construct the story board, only because it felt as if i was repeating the narrative process, only to come up with a visual example of my project. The first step into my story board was trying to find a media that could form a story board. I decided to use the Paper Artist Application from my Samsung tablet which allows for dynamic illustrations on my project. i actually used this application on an iCommunicate project last year, this allowed me to present my video project to the class, during the 4 week formative assessment. The process was quite easy to undertake but felt repetitive in that the narrative or dialogue itself was quite detailed, it questioned the need for me to have a brief visual overview of my video.


Storyboard Design Guidelines

–Make sure that the media used supports the learning objectives
–Cognitive load theory
•For interactive media, try to minimize text and images occurring at the same time
–Make sure that quizzes and testing are aligned with learning objectives
•Ensure that they will provide valid evidence of understanding

Tools to Create Storyboards

•Microsoft Word
–Widely available and understood software
–Not easy to rearrange content
–The most popular
•Widely known and understood
•Widely available

The process of gathering information for the story board was easy to undertake. Only because the topic in question was quite narrow. The only problem I have is trying to determine how the narrative of my video would follow with the visualization of the story board.

Why Do Research? and Research sources.

First week of research.

The agenda for this week is to: Research on the Syrian Refugee Crisis and Zaatari Refugee Camp. Collect journal articles, statistics and media footage from the AUT Library Databases, UNHCR, Red Cross and Amnesty International archives. Reference and format all sources in APA 6th Edition. Plan for conducting research. I would like to improve my skills in research so this week I intend to learn how to conduct research extensively in an academic manner.

Conducting Academic Research

Gathering Sources What, Where and How? did I go about gathering information.

I focused most of my research on gathering the sources from Non Government Organisations that covered the Syrian crisis. A requirement to assess the quality of my research was to be sure it came from various resources, so that the scope of the topic – Syrian refugee crisis – was covered extensively. Most website that I searched had reports, statistics and case studies on the topic in question.

What my research will entail is a desk review of existing reports and assessments, data collection, and field research in urban, rural, and camp settings. Information that is gathered through focus group discussions and interviews with refugee children and their families, refugees working with children in their communities, and staff from UNHCR and other organizations working with refugee children. In individual interviews, note the life cycle approach that was taken, asking refugees about their lives in Syria, their journey to the country of asylum, their lives as refugees, and their hopes for the future.

Having trouble finding a professional benchmark of a video presentation in the formation of advocacy.

The following is an outline of the research process, I could apply for this project. Having looked through the list of components, I think this would be a very useful list, that could be used to check on my time frame. In terms of time management this list outlining procedure on how to go about with research, would definitely work to my benefit.

Research Folder

Here’s a direct link to the research that I gathered for the video presentation. The reports come from a variety of non-governmental organisation (NGO) sources most of whom have covered the crisis on Syria.


Research Process

Planning your research schedule

  1. Choose something to research/write about that you are passionately interested in. I find that most of my research and writing tends to spring from wanting to find out more or understand more about a particular phenomenon that intrigues me. In explaining it to myself I end up explaining it to others, hopefully in a new and interesting way that is worthy of publication.
  2. Be organised – planning time use is essential when there are many demands on your time.
  3. Make sure that you set aside one or more periods of time each week when you devote yourself to research and don’t let other demands impinge on this time.
  4. So I can easily see what I need to do and by when, I use a white-board with a ‘to do’ list with tasks listed monthly and their deadlines. I rub off tasks as I complete them (usually with a great sense of accomplishment!). Very low tech, I know, but effective as a visual reminder.
  5. Plan your research in chunks: this morning, today, this week, this month, next few months, this year, next three years. Have a clear idea for what you want to achieve in these time periods and try to stick to this as much as you can.
  6. I don’t tend to think more than a year ahead when it comes to research outcomes I want to achieve, but I find it helpful to write up at least a one-year research plan at the beginning of each year. Some people may also want to prepare a 3- or 5-year research plan.
  7. Be strategic about every bit of research time available. Think about the best use of your time. Difficult cognitive tasks requiring intense thought often need a lengthy period of time, so plan to do these when this is available to you. Easy or less time-intensive tasks such as correcting proofs, editing or formatting a journal article or chapter for submission or reading some materials and taking notes can be fitted in smaller periods of time.

Making a start

  1. Use whatever research time you have to do something, however small the task.
  2. Make a start. Once you have an idea for a piece of writing, create a file for it on your computer and write down anything, however rough and however brief, even if it is just a provisional title and some notes about possible content. It can always be polished and developed later or even discarded if you decide eventually not to go ahead with the idea.
  3. Organise your writing into different computer files: articles in progress, submitted articles, accepted articles, conference papers, blog posts, book proposals, grant applications etc.
  4. Organise your PDF journal article collection under topics in files on your computer.
  5. If you are feeling unenthusiastic or have hit a wall – leave that piece of writing for a while and work on another piece of writing.
  6. If no external deadline has been set, set yourself deadlines and try to meet these as much as you can, so that you can then move on to the next piece of writing.

Getting the most out of your writing

  1. Use your writing in as many different ways as you can – conference papers, articles/chapters, books, blog posts. Turn the small (unrefereed) pieces into bigger (refereed) pieces whenever you can and vice versa. What starts out as a blog post can be later developed into an article, for example. Conversely some of the main arguments of an article can be used in one or more blog posts.
  2. Never let a conference/seminar paper stay a conference/seminar paper – turn it into an article/book chapter as soon as you can. If there is simply not enough substance for a piece that is the length of a journal article or book chapter, consider polishing and referencing the paper appropriately. Once it is at a standard where you consider it ready to be available to others, publish it on your university’s e-repository as a working paper. That way, anyone will be able to access the paper digitally and reference it.
  3. Decide on an appropriate journal as you are writing an article and tailor the argument/length to the journal’s requirements before you finish it.
  4. Once you think that you have finished a piece of writing and are ready to submit it, put it aside for a least a day and come back and read it again with fresh eyes. You will most probably notice something that could be improved upon. Once you have done this and are feeling happy with the piece, go ahead and submit. As another commentator has argued, you need to conquer your fear and send your writing off into the world: ‘we owe it to the words we have written to send them away’.
  5. Receiving feedback from academic referees on a writing piece or research proposal can sometimes be demoralising. Don’t let negative comments get you down for long. Grit your teeth and revise and resubmit as soon as you can, however tedious it feels. See this as an opportunity to make your piece the very best it can be. If the article has been rejected, take a good hard look at whether the referees’ comments are valid and if necessary, revise and then submit it to another journal. Remember that all successful academic writers have received negative feedback at times: that is simply part-and-parcel of academic writing and publishing.
  6. Rather than simply deleting material when you are editing a piece of writing, make ‘edits’ computer files into which to ‘paste’ this material when you cut it (I make several edits files under topics). You never know when you may be able to use this material somewhere else.
  7. Think about how one writing piece can lead to another as you are writing it.
  8. Make sure that your abstract is well-written and will lead others to your work.
  9. Keep on top of the latest research published in the journals you use for your research. One easy way to do this is to sign up to email alerts with the publishers of the journals and you will be notified by them of the contents of each new issue.

Connect for inspiration

  1. Inspiration for research can come from many places. Attending conferences and seminars and reading the latest academic literature in your field are all extremely important, but so are other strategies. As a sociologist, I have generated many ideas from listening to good quality radio programs, reading newspapers and my favourite online sites and blogs regularly and engaging in social media such as Twitter and Facebook with people interested in the topics I research (see more on social media at no. 25).
  2. Connect, connect, connect. Publicise your research and make connections with other researchers as much as you can. Make contact with others working in areas related to your interests even if they are in different departments or in other universities. Join relevant research networks or start your own.
  3. Strengthen youronline presence. Think about using social and other digital media to promote your research, engage with the community and make academic connections. Set up a profile on at the barest minimum. Make sure your university webpage is kept up-to-date with your latest publications and research projects. Write blog posts (if you don’t want to commit to your own blog, do guest posts for others’ blogs or for online discussion forums), sign up to Twitter and relevant Facebook pages, put your PowerPoints on SlideShare, make Pinterest boards (seehere for my introduction to social media for academics).
  4. Use digital bookmarking sites such as,Pinterest, Delicious or Bundlr to save interesting material you have found on the web (seehere for a discussion of using tools like these for academic work).
  5. Use a computerised online reference manager such as Endnote, Zotero or Mendeley. Get in the habit of loading citations straight into this each time as soon as you come across them.
  6. Think carefully about who you collaborate with on research before agreeing to do so. Good collaborators will add immensely to your own work: bad ones will make your life difficult and you won’t be happy with the outputs you produce.
  7. Seek out the advice or mentorship of more experienced academics whose research you respect.
  8. Take regular walks/runs/bike rides. This will not only keep you physically fit but will also provide a mental space to think through an argument or come up with new ideas. Some of my best ideas have come when I have been in motion and my thoughts are unencumbered.