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Digital education

4 ways to assess and learn: student created media

29 June 2014

Blog Wordle

by Dewi Parry

Last week, I was going through (deleting!) my e-mails when I came across a really interesting thread of e-mails about student multimedia content production from the ALT (Association for Learning Technology) mailing list, and its role as part of course assessment. I’m not going to get into an argument about the right and wrongs of this form assessment here, but the ELTT team are constantly thinking of new ways to support University staff to support their students, and I thought I’d dive in at the deep end with a pretty technical one.

I had also forgotten (as it’s been so long now!) that, as a multimedia student myself back in the day, I’ve completed countless video assessments myself (both analogue and digital might I add!), so I have actually taken part in such assessments as a student. In this post, I’ll talk about 4 case studies of assessment involving student created media.

1. Creating resources on biomedical developments for the public

One of the examples given in the ALT e-mail thread was an assessment created by Dr Chris Willmott from Leicester University around the ethical and social consequences of developments in the field of biomedicine.

Introductory films were created on a range of contemporary issues in medically related biology, with the best videos made freely available on the internet for use by any interested party. By doing this, students would research and learn about the issues themselves, but would also generate valuable resources about both longstanding and topical issues for the public. This video describes the case study in more detail:

2. Science teaching: narrated student media

Another useful example came from Garry Hoban and his team at the University of Wollongong, Australia: DigiExplanations

The project is to support science and science teacher education academics in implementing assessment tasks that can incorporate a range of narrated student-created digital media. These include podcasts, digital stories, animations, video and blended media.

The thought process behind this was to create different forms of media that would engage students in learning, explaining and communicating science to address new teaching and learning standards. As Garry Hoban puts it (and this is something I’ve heard other lecturers/teaching staff say):

“Being able to communicate your scientific ideas is an essential skill for students studying science”.

This was a great resource as the introduction videos were clearly mapped out in the assessment.  Included on the digiexplanations site are the videos related to the academic resources, in the form of sample assignments, as well as student resources in the forms of training materials for Windows Movie Maker, and iMovie for mac:

3. Disseminating scientific research

The University of York have developed case studies for:

  • Environment – this set out to test students ability to meet the learning outcomes of understanding environmental scientific research and disseminating it to the wider society.
  • Archaeology – this set out to provide students with transferrable media production, presentation and evaluation skills for the heritage sector (and beyond) through developing their understanding of audience needs and approaches to engaging and communicating with the public.

The e-learning development team at York have also put together a list of FREE! software that can be used for video, audio, screen capture and creating graphics. It’s not exhaustive of course, but a useful quick list.

4. School of Medicine assessments

Any post about student created media in assessment would, of course, not be complete without a reference to what’s happening at Cardiff. We have great examples of student multimedia content production. The School of Medicine have used this type of assessment, and examples can be viewed on the Cardiff University media library and repository, Cardiff-Player.

Video and audio content on Cardiff-Player is freely available to be viewed, although some content may only be available to the University community. The School of Medicine videos can be viewed on their Cardiff-Player page.

Tools you might consider for student created media

Whilst the School of Medicine used our own Cardiff Player to host student created videos, others have used different methods depending on the type of assessment and multimedia used. Moving on to external hosting tools and apps, as well as the obvious use of YouTube and Vimeo, there are other tools that can be considered, as mobile technology has become cheaper and much better quality. Cameo, Vine (6 second videos) and Instagram (15 second videos) are easy alternatives that spring to mind.

And, as we’re on the subject, let’s not forget good old Xerte Online Toolkits in all of this. We are big fans of XOT here at ELTT due to it’s flexibility, ease of use and accessibility capabilities. This is another example of a tool that can be turned over to the student population to create their own resources.

On that note, if you haven’t checked out Allan’s Xerte Copyright Checker yet, give it a go, and please share:

A call to share!

If you are working or planning to work on any video projects, or indeed any learning technology projects within Cardiff University, we would love to hear from you, and listen to your experiences. If you are interested in this area, and would like some further information, please get in touch, and we can arrange a meeting with you.