Promoting student creativity in group video assignments

Charles Hancock

Charles Hancock, Senior Lecturer, Derby Business School

What was done?

During the module students were required to research a company and use these findings for their assessments, a group presentation and an individual report.

In previous iterations of the module students were required to do their presentation face-to-face to the rest of their class and the tutor. However, it was decided to change this to a group video presentation, where students could choose the technology they used to create the video.

Why was it done?

This was done in order to:

  • Engage students in the subject
  • Encourage creativity
  • Improve digital literacy skills
  • Increase confidence
  • Improve skills for employability

How was it done?

Designing the assessment

The assessments for the module were split into two parts, with the second part building upon the work done in the first. The first part of the assessment required the students to work in groups to create a group video presentation, outlining the research students carried out on the ethics and social responsibility of local Derby companies. The information gathered during the research could then be used again to form the basis of the individual report submitted for the second assessment. The marking criteria for the assessment was also designed to focus 10% of the marks on the style of the presentation and 90% on the subject matter including how they talk about and evaluate the findings of their research.

Preparing the students

Guidance was given to the students during face-to-face sessions which broke down the assessments aims and objectives, how they could structure their presentation, what they should include and a clear idea of how the work would be marked. The advice around the technology was left quite open so students could use a variety of tools, as long as they submitted the video in the correct format. By not being prescriptive with these instructions, the students were challenged to develop their skills with using technology and work together to find a technology which met their needs and those of the assessment.

Creating the videos

Students used a range of creative and innovative approaches to create their videos; using video cameras, mobile phones, microphones, text-to-speech tools, images, sound, text and video editing software. They utilised these techniques to record interviews, discuss complex models and outline the findings of their research helping the intended audience to retain the information they presented.

Submitting and marking the work

The students were required to submit the video presentation as a Windows Movie File on a DVD. This meant that not only could the academic make sure that they could view the work to mark it, but it could also be viewed by the external examiner for the module. Despite the variety of presentation styles used in the videos, the marking of them was made easier through the criteria concentrating on the content of the presentation rather than the style or technology used.

What worked well?

  • Allowing students to choose which technology they used to create the video presentation helped them to demonstrate their creativity.
  • The assessment design helped them to learn independently not only about the subject area but also how to use the technology available to them.
  • Students were engaged by the assessment and enjoyed taking part in the project, with grades improved compared to the previous method of stand up and talk presentations.
  • Students with English as a second language were able to build their confidence in using English, as they could re-record their voices or utilise other technologies like text-to-speech tools.
  • Provides them with an example to show employers their ability to get messages across to the work force simply and quickly. These transferable skills are particularly beneficial in today’s workplace especially for national and multinational companies.

What were the challenges?

  • Building students’ confidence to do something different – using technology to create a video may be something they are unfamiliar with.
  • Ensuring that other academic staff are on board and comfortable with how the work will be assessed and marked.

What could be done differently next time?

  • To set out more guidance in the sessions before hand to help students space out the workload so that the pressure is not all at the back end of the assessment.
  • To find out from students how familiar they are with creating videos before the project and look at how the groups can be organised to take this into account.

What resources would other people find useful?

  • Clear set of marking criteria and guidelines for you and your students.
  • Examples of the types of video they might create.
  • Information about how to access resources and equipment for recording and editing the videos.

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