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Ten with Ken (Video)

Ken Steele is Canada's most trusted higher ed monitor and futurist, and in this webcast he rounds up emerging trends, research data, best practices and innovative new ideas for higher education. (For HD version see YouTube, DailyMotion, Vimeo or Facebook. Audio only podcast version available separately.)
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For more information about Ken Steele's speaking and facilitation services, an archive of articles and white papers, and a database of bright ideas, please visit www.eduvation.ca

This podcast is also available on iTunes or on YouTube. For exclusive early access to future episodes, please subscribe to our free email newsletter, the Eduvation Loop

Dec 10, 2016

This year, we distill the best moments from 76 holiday greeting videos that were published by colleges and universities across Canada in December 2015, and select a few as “Best in Class” for their categories. Please “take twenty” with us, and enjoy!

If you’re creating your own holiday greeting video, be sure to animate your logo with snowflakes and sleighbells. Your task is to convey best wishes on behalf of the campus community, most often featuring the president as spokesperson.

A snowy Canadian winter is a natural, non-denominational symbol of winter break, and so many holiday greeting videos feature footage of campus wrapped in a blanket of snow. Perhaps last year was particularly green, since quite a few videos faked the snow – from Royal Roads to Western (which got Best in Class for this category.)

The simplest way to incorporate the many voices on campus is to feature a collage of photographs, either taken throughout the year, or staged using holiday props. More popular is the “Holiday Shout-Out”, a compilation of many staff and students sharing their holiday wishes, often in a range of languages and reflecting a variety of traditions. (Humber College gets Best in Class for this category, although there are plenty of other great examples. VIU deserves honorable mention for involving their “Extreme Science” team. uWindsor produced a very slick multilingual video, but Queen’s ultimately got Best in Class for the sheer range of voices and their enthusiasm.)

A variation on the “shout-out” is the “on-the-street Q&A”, and again there are plenty of great examples. Many ask students and staff what the holidays mean to them, or what they are looking forward to about the holidays. (SFU gets Best in Class for this category, for a polished and energetic video asking staff and students about their gift to the world.)

Many institutions showcase the skills and talents of their students and alumni in their holiday greetings. Sheridan has a tradition of animated videos, and Mohawk of very polished musical greetings. Last year we saw alumni talents featured by NSCC, ECUAD, Ryerson, and Georgian as well. (We awarded Mohawk Best in Class for their musical videos, and even behind-the-scenes video.) Special mention goes to MSVU's recruiters, who clowned around while demonstrating their gift-wrapping skills.

We saw tree-trimming parties at King’s and CBU, among others, but uVic took it to a new level with their best-in-class approach to symbolic ornaments and student sound bytes. A close runner-up was George Brown, which created a strong example as well. Santa Claus made an appearance at Douglas, posing for photos with all the good little girls and boys. At Niagara, gifts were delivered by Basil, the greenhouse cat.

Brock staged a "parking miracle". A staffer named Lori played Secret Santa at Durham, while Lassonde tackled intergenerational peace and understanding with a defense of Millennials. UNB created an emotional thank-you from scholarship recipients to donors. But our favourite in this category was a wordless music video from uLeth, featuring gorgeous cinematography and Tyrone Wells’ song “Christmas at Home.” (Unfortunately UofL has just recently deleted their upload.)

Some institutions promote professional, accomplished singers of Christmas Carols, while many publish videos of enthusiastic amateurs. Some try to stay in key, while others focus on having fun. NSCC shared a sign language caroling performance. Waterloo's Faculty of Environment rewrote “Winter Wonderland” with a “green” focus.

Algoma staff participated in a collective reading of “The Grinch”. Bow Valley “put a bow on it.” Fleming produced their own version of Jimmy Fallon’s “Thank You Notes.” RDC parodied “The Night Before Christmas.” Definitely Best in Class for the parody category, however, was a version of the “12 Days of Christmas” by the Film & Video students at CNA. (Of course I can’t resist including uMich Engineering's Star Wars parody, “The Holiday Jedi Rap.”)

You can watch the original, unedited versions of these holiday videos in our 2015 Holiday Videos playlist - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYULq5f-_JsusgbW1V8BNfSd

On behalf of everyone here at Eduvation, and from my family to yours, I want to wish you a truly peaceful holiday season, and a happy and prosperous 2017!

We’re already assembling a YouTube playlist of 2016 holiday videos, so please add yours here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYW50HvU2lrHm_DURpmz8jqk&jct=HCQjNaZ4OsE7aqyhuMM-_4ox4oMGcg

(We’ll summarize them for next year’s holiday special.)

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