VideoBlocks, the royalty-free stock media company, has announced a new Digital Media Action Grant program for US college campuses.
The company will award two grants of $10,000 each to two higher education institutions to study how digital creative content can help students build up-to-date multimedia skills, while at the same time encouraging the ethical use of such assets.
In addition, VideoBlocks will contribute $10 million worth of copyright-safe video and audio clips to the winning schools and to participants of the VideoBlocks Early Enrollment Program (VEEP) through December 2015.
To be eligible for a grant, faculty members must use VideoBlocks’ content to create a “significant and original contribution to the field of digital creative media” and institutions also must either participate in the Early Enrollment Program or have a VideoBlocks for Education license. A panel of judges consisting of VideoBlocks education specialists will determine the awards.
“This is fundamentally a research project, and we are interested in hard data around how using digital creative content affects the learning experience,” TJ Leonard, VideoBlocks’ CMO told TNW.
The early enrollment period begins today and will end on Labor Day. Thus far, the company has offered VEEP to a group of existing campus-based VideoBlocks customers who already purchased individual licenses; more than a dozen schools have enrolled, according to Leonard.
“The Digital Media Action Grant gives faculty and their students the opportunity not just to build digital skills, but to experiment with how to improve classroom engagement, and better prepare students for their professional lives,” said Leonard.
“When we heard from so many universities and colleges that students, faculty and administrators were frustrated by the lack of access to copyright-free creative content, we saw an opportunity to facilitate creative freedom on campuses nationwide while also eliminating the administrative headache of copyright compliance.”
Leonard says that because of financial constraints, students and faculty don’t have money for commercial services and “are forced to download content they didn’t have the rights to use through something like a Google image search.” According to one study cited by VideoBlocks, 87 percent of college students make ‘no attempt’ to ask permission for material under copyright.
VideoBlocks is asking faculty who received the grants to turn over the results of their research into how digital content affected student engagement, learning and development. “We are interested in hard data around how using digital creative content affects the learning experience,” Leonard said.
In addition to colleges or universities with a film school, this program can also serve digital media, production, communications, journalism or marketing departments that are preparing students for creative fields.
All institutions that enroll in VEEP will also receive a 20 percent academic credit for any original footage sold on VideoBlocks’ recently launched Marketplace .