Inform the Block (Downloadable Word Doc)  Inform the Block (Downloadable PDF)

Are you an undergraduate student enrolled at a Historically Black college and University (HBCU)?

Do you know a thing or two about blockchain and financial technology?

Then, we have an opportunity for you to HBCU Students Inform the Block and share your knowledge through video.

What is Inform the Block, you ask? Good question. Inform the Block is a social awareness initiative sponsored by the Morgan State University (MSU) FinTech Center and developed to address the growing disparity in awareness related to blockchain and financial technology. We want to impact learning across generations and catalyze a “buzz” of information to further ingratiate ourselves into this everchanging financial market. Learn more about MSU’s FinTech Center and its projects here.

      To jump start this initiative, we need your help. Through short videos (i.e., 30 seconds to 3 minutes in length), you are invited to participate in the first HBCU Students Inform the Block video competition, and yes, there are financial prizes. While we’d like to think we could offer cryptocurrency, the prize is cash (i.e., a check issued to the participant[s]). Do you want to know the prize amounts? Well, keep reading; the prizes are provided in the FAQ section.

What are the eligibility requirements you ask? Good question. . .

  • First, you must be currently enrolled at an HBCU.
  • Next, you must be an undergraduate student.
  • You also must agree to give Morgan State University’s FinTech Center rights to your video submissions.

If you meet these requirements, then you can participate. Your video should “teach” HBCU stakeholders and communities of color about blockchain and financial technology. That’s right; now the student becomes the teacher. You can explain cryptocurrency, the blockchain, or how

blockchain technology could be used to solve a problem. Remember, the videos are short, so stay focused.

Your video will be evaluated on:

(a) content accuracy,

(b) design and overall appearance,

(c) creativity,

(d) technical production quality, and

(e) timing.

Begin by submitting an Intent to Participate.

Video Submission Deadline October 15, 2021

Before we share the HBCU Students Inform the Block video competition rubric, we have some tips and address frequently asked questions (FAQ) to get you started.

Tips for Creating an Effective Video

The criteria and tips align with the rubric our judges will use to evaluate your video submissions.

Video Criterium Tips for Creating a Video Resources


• Reflects broad research and application of critical thinking skills
• Accurately articulates a sophisticated understanding of blockchain technology with explanations and elaboration

• Craft a production plan
• Identify your goals and mission for making a video, and then make a plan that aligns with them
• Create a script or a storyboard that explains what you will show in your video and what major points you’d like to get across to your audience

Design and Overall Appearance

• Exceptionally attractive and consistent in terms of design, layout, and neatness
• Sequentially organized and easy to navigate
• Design elements are appropriate, of high quality, and creatively used to enhance content

• Use eye-catching visuals to make engaging video content
• Use visuals and sound to convey the message you want to share through your story rather than stating it outright
• Think about how angles, colors, audio, and more all work together to create a feeling• Incorporate text, narration, animation etc. to create dynamic and engaging video content
• Use suitable lighting


• Demonstrates a creative, detailed, and unique understanding of blockchain technology in a highly engaging manner
• Ideas represent a variety of important concepts about blockchain technology

• Incorporate storytelling for engaging video content
• Remember the key principle of “show, don’t tell”
• Integrate ethos, pathos, and logos for persuasive content. Start with a relatable premise, introduce an element of conflict, and then round your story out with a call-to-action

Technical Production Quality

• Multimedia elements are high quality
• Video is edited to achieve fluidity
• Audio helps enhance the understanding of the ideas presented in the video, clear and without echo static or other excessive noise

• Choose a good editing program
• Know exactly what it is that the software maker is offering with each feature and realistically how important that feature is to you
• Use free trials


• Well-timed multimedia elements support the design and content

• Outline your video before you start shooting
• Plan what you want to say and what visuals you want to use to communicate it
• Think about what you want to accomplish; then create it within the allotted time

Other Considerations

There are other  topics to consider when making your video. Video compression and language suitability are two important topics.

           Video Compression


We encourage you to be creative, but we discourage the use of vulgarity or profanity. Any use of vulgarity or profanity will automatically disqualify your video. So, keep it clean, but have fun. If you have questions about what is considered “vulgar” or “profane,” then don’t say it or use it. You can also contact Patrice W. Glenn Jones if you would like a second opinion about the suitability of the proposed language. Keep it PG!

We encourage you to get feedback on your video before you submit it and to have someone reliable verify the accuracy of your content before you begin recording.

All video submissions will become the exclusive property of Morgan State University’s FinTech Center and will be shared through social media platforms (e.g., TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn), on the FinTech Center website, and other mediums.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Who can enter? Any undergraduate student presently enrolled at any Historically Black College and University, who is at least 18 years or older, can enter. We will verify your enrollment. Please begin by submitting an Intent to Participate from your student email. Teams can enter, but you need to submit the names of all participants, and awards will be evenly divided among the participants. However, you cannot submit as both an individual and as a part of a team.
  • How many videos can you submit? Participants/teams can submit one video in each category, but a participant or team can only win once (i.e., in one category and at one level). Thus, if a participant places in the 30-to-60 second video category, he or she cannot place in the 2-to-3-minute video category.
  • Can videos be submitted any way other than by uploading to the contest? All videos will be uploaded to an established Google Drive. We will share this with you once we confirm your HBCU enrollment.
  • How long should the videos be? There are two video categories: (a) 30-to-60 seconds and (b) 2-to-3 minutes.
  • Is there a file size limit? The recommended video size is up to 200 MB. If it uploads in Google Drive, we will accept it.
  • Which file formats will be accepted?

WebM files (Vp8 video codec, Vorbis Audio codec);

MPEG4, 3GPP, and MOV files (h264 and MPEG4 video codecs; AAC audio codec);

AVI (MJPEG video codec, PCM audio);

MPEGPS (MPEG2 video codec, MP2 audio);


FLV (Adobe – FLV1 video codec, MP3 audio);

MTS; and


  • What is the maximum video resolution? Google Drive supports resolution up to 1920×1080.
  • Can the videos have graphic overlay? Yes, the videos can have graphic overlay.
  • Are there any specific requirements for the video content, and how will the videos be evaluated? 

Our team of impartial judges will use the following rubric to evaluate each submission. Thus, we recommend that you carefully review it before you begin. Notice the emphasis on content.

HBCU Students Inform the Block

Video Rubric

100 – 90 percent
80 – 75 percent
74- 60 percent
59 percent or below
Content The content is well researched, accurate, well thought out, and requires no further explanation. The viewer has a solid understanding of the topic. The content is researched but some elements are not clear. There are also 1 or 2 inaccuracies. The viewer is left with a moderate understanding of the topic. The content is researched but many elements are unclear and inaccurate. The viewer’s understanding of the topic is minimal. The content is not clear and includes inaccuracies. The content is not memorable. /60
Design and Overall Appearance The video is exceptionally designed for easy viewing. The sequencing is appropriate and meaningful. The video is designed well for easy viewing. The sequencing makes sense. The video includes some design elements, but the sequencing is limited. The design is difficult to follow. /10
Creativity The presentation demonstrates a creative interpretation of blockchain technology and shows significant attention to detail. The presentation is creative and highlights the information in an engaging way. The presentation demonstrates a limited degree of creativity and shows some effort to provide information in an interesting way. The presentation is unengaging and shows no effort to provide information in an interesting way. /10
Technical Production Quality The video has fluid editing. The sound is of high quality. The audio and video quality are stellar and are suitable for the purpose. The video has mostly smooth. The sound is balanced and clear. The audio and video complement the purpose. The video has a competent edit. The audio and sound hinder the video’s purpose. The editing is limited. The audio and video may distract from the video’s purpose. /10
Timing Column 2 The video meets the time criteria, and the timing supports the design and content.Value 5 The video meets the time criteria. The video is within acceptable time limits for the criteria. The video is outside of the acceptable time limits for the criteria. /10
SCORE /100
Finally, did we mention there are prizes? What are the prizes? The prizes are provided in the table below.
First Place Second Place Third Place Fourth Place
30-to-60-second video category $1,000 $750 $500 $300
2-to-3-minute video category $2,000 $1,000 $750 $500

Begin by submitting an Intent to Participate.

Video Submission Deadline October 15, 2021

For questions about the HBCU Students Inform the Block video competition, please contact Patrice W. Glenn Jones.

For more information about the MSU FinTech Center, please contact Judith Schnidman.