In our 2nd Video Production class (that's the one they shoot in) I introduced some manual setting on the camera.  I didn't go into very much detail.

I simply said the low F numbers (F-stops) allow a lot of light into the camera and the high F number allow less like into the camera.  They learned about the zoom and that's about it.

They had to come up with another idea for a silent movie with these parameters;
  • All shots must maintain screen direction (for the entire movie)
  • There must be a beginning, middle and end
  • In each shot the character must either enter the frame or exit the frame
Student went out and shot there movie.

In our 2nd Video Production class (that's the one they edit in) I introduced the basic concepts of editing;
  • Maintain screen direction
  • Editing out the bad bits
  • Pace
  • Time Compression
Then they edited.  

They found so many problems with their shoots.  I loved it.  I believe just giving students the basics to get them going is vital.  I also believe I'm teaching them a lot more by allowing them to fail.  They discover problems and correct them on their own.