Course Trailers

With the completion of the Information & Technology Convergence Center, we are ready for the UMW Community to begin taking advantage of the building’s facilities and equipment. This two-day workshop, May 18th and 19th, will familiarize you with the many ways, the many spaces, and the many devices, that can be used to create video. Since we know that we learn skills best when implementing them, as part of the process of learning to take advantage of our media resources we want you to create a video specific to your position at UMW. Faculty, we want you to create a Course Trailer. Administrative staff, we want you to create a Departmental Story. These videos  will serve as informational/promotional pieces that inform students, prospective students, and the general community about a department on campus, or a course that is taught at UMW.

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently featured an article on the increasing use of Course Trailers. While to some they might seem gimmicky, we see these as  opportunities to reach out to students, in a form that is familiar to them, about a course, or a department. Along the way you will learn valuable skills that will serve well your departments, academic and administrative. Faculty will create these works in a medium that will encourage student exploration, and will in turn encourage your students who have taken your classes to create additional trailers. Here’s a link to the Chronicle article which has a couple of examples of course trailers –  Staff will be able to provide names, faces, and purposes to departments that might not be well known.  In doing so, they can explain where their unit fits in to the UMW Community.

We plan to provide lots of information, both technical and practical, about how to create good video. We will give you plenty of hands-on time with simple video equipment, like camcorders and mobile devices that you may already be familiar with. We’ll also introduce you to equipment and facilities that would be considered very advanced, but still can be utilized in your productions (with support from DTLT).

The video at the top of the page is an example of a Trailer “template” from iMovie that can be used as a starting point for your course trailer. We’ll talk about these and other examples of what your video can look like.


Best Practices for Creating Video Course Trailers from Duke’s Office of Communication at the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences.

Michigan State “Zombie” Course

VCU AFAM 111 Course Trailer

Other Examples:

Baylor University
Intro Topics in Philosophy:
The Thought of C.S. Lewis
Others here –

Dilemmas of Equity and Excellence in American K-12 Education
More Here –

Duke University
Signature Course: Democracy–Ancient and Modern
Others here –

West Chester University Communication Studies

Southwestern University – Research Methods – Course Trailer & Drawing II – Course Trailer

Indiana University

Centennial College (over 92,000 views)



Write down your goal – one sentence
Write down what you want out of this workshop – one sentence
Create a script based on the list of components below
What to bring:
  • Pad of Paper and pen/pencil (believe it or not!)
  • You don’t “need” to bring your computer unless your editing software is on it. You’re certainly welcome to bring it in any case.
  • Feel free to bring your video camera – Camcorder, iPhone, iPad, Android, DSLR, or other device.
Components of the video (think about added graphic and video elements throughout):
  1. Opening screen (title) – Course number(s) and name including cross-listings
  2. Talk about why this course excites you
  3. Answer the question “What is the significance of this course?”  – What does the student get?
  4. What is the context of the course – how does it fit in with majors/non-majors
  5. Is this a long-time successful course or a brand new one? Why is it being taught?
  6. Details of what students will study. Say what the course catalog doesn’t.
  7. See the Duke Outline on workload and course grading.
  8. Closing with course details and contact information.
Read the FAQ from the Duke Outline. Some very good points here.


Monday May 18th
9:00am – 10:00pm – Keynote on Trailers
10:00am – 12:00pm – Introduction and beginning exercise
12:00pm – 1:00pm – Lunch Break
1:00pm – 4:00pm – Intro to iMovie in Training Lab and Tour of Studio and Multimedia Lab
Tuesday May 19th
10:00am – 12:00pm – Planning and scripting your videos
12:00pm – 1:00pm – Lunch Break
1:00pm – 4:00pm – Shooting and Editing Your Videos

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