Why Educators Are Including Video Assignments In Their Courses

With every passing day, technology is getting more accessible and easier to use and in between all, instructors are turning towards video assignments more and more; finding it as a rich new form of evaluation and even favoring it over more traditional paper based assignments. 

Students, too, expressed that they’re happy of what they’ve accomplished and found their learning experience to be deeper when they make a video rather than writing in text. The sudden disruptions in education during the COVID crisis had created more favorable situations for video assignments to be even more powerful tools for keeping students engaged and promoting the social aspect of learning.  

Not only this, the International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Council of Teachers of English have added standards emphasizing the need to foster creativity by going beyond text to have students use other media in their learning activities and assignments (Morgan, 2012). This means video assignments can soon replace traditional written assignments. 

Why Video Assignments? 

Approximately 80% of the youngsters have smartphones with high-quality video cameras, and are in habit of checking their devices multiples times a day. So, shifting to video assignments is not a bad idea at all, teachers can help them make a proper utilization of it. It is a practical – easy approach, in fact - for students to record and edit video. And it’s way more easier to submit the video to teachers and get their feedback instantaneously. 

As per Kirkland’s list of video-making assignment projects, the video assignments can be:  

  • Documentary 
  • Presentation 
  • Interviews 
  • Skills Demonstration 
  • Public Service Announcements  
  • News Reports 
  • Dramatization 
  • A Mash up of Clips 

To be precise, videos can be much more than a student presenting or explaining the content, they are presumed to master. They can be vehicles promoting creative-thinking, teaching teamwork and project management, and eventually, help develop an employment-relevant skill. 

Pluses of Video Assignments:

  1. When it comes to a typical in-class presentation, it vanishes into thin air with little outlined feedback, but, video assignments, they can be powerful learning tools for students as a persuasive visual argument requires deep, iterative conceptual and rhetorical thinking.  
  1. Video assignments also fosters a student’s thinking ability because it’s not merely about recording videos, but, synthesizing various sources on the subject content, writing it down as a script, read it, decide who to interview or record, and then create a video, requiring time spent filming and editing. Ultimately, all of those separate cognitive activities engage with the topic in different ways, stimulating creative and analytic work. 
  1. Video assignments can be a great time-saver as students do not to have to type out long assignments. They can simply, get themselves recorded within an hour or two instead of spending days to write an assignment.  
  1. 4.Thesestudent created videos put students on display, and in order to avoid any embarrassment in front of their peers, students make a greater effort to master the subject content; it encourages them to perform better. Video assignments also get students to practice and demonstrate their understanding of key course concepts, as well as promote their creativity and individuality, basically eliminates the concerns about plagiarism. 
  1. Researches claim that students themselves find video projects to be more beneficial to their own understanding and mastery ofa subject material. A study by Greene and Crespi (2012) looked at the perceived value of student-created videos as a tool for enhancing the student learning experience. Their data came from a state university. Wherein, each course assigned its students a video project to assess their mastery of the material. The survey data collected from the students who created the videos revealed that to students such projects were -creative, unique and educational. Moreover, the students who watched the creative projects stated that the videos were extremely helpful, adds a fun twist on learning experiences and, is a very good at reviewing a material while helping others to understand the material, exciting to see the material learned in a video format, were a good learning experience, and provides a simple way to remember/learn the material. 

Questions to consider.. 

Undoubtedly, video assignments are fun and provide academic benefits, but, they can be frustrating for both students and instructors as well, if students plan poorly, are not trained and supported with technology, or are unclear about the purpose of the assignment. 

 According to Kearney and Shuck (2006), there’s a gap in assessing a student’s learning by going through their video assignments. As aforesaid, there may be a problem in a student’s understanding or teacher’s guidance. So, when assigning a video assignment do answer these questions first: What sort of guidelines should be set for video assignments? How do you make sure that they are implemented effectively? 

How to Assess Video Assignments? 

One of the most challenging aspects of assessing a student made video assignment is designing a fair grading rubric that helps students know what steps to take rather quashing their creativity or demoralizing them. Instructors should set certain expectations for students so that they have a clear understanding of the key items and purpose to focus on. They should also have a structured, regular check-ins with students.  

To help them better, instructors can make them understand what are the most important elements of a basic video assignment. They are: 

  1. Elevator pitch – It can be delivered as text or as a 30 second video. 
  2. Storyboard - A final sketch of each scene or phase of the video. It should be shared with teachers for feedback before starting the video work. 
  3. Script- Generally, script is a written format of the video that must be suitable for the topic, have the assumed audience, and gives appropriate gist of the video content. 
  4. Selection of content-  Having right content is crucial. So students must be encouraged to explore everything related to topic and generate lots of ideas, and sequence the content accordingly. 
  5. Technical production value-Instructors must direct students to consider some of the key elements of production value, including distance and depth of shots, variation in perspective and length of scenes, audio quality, voice-over video, captions or text, and so on, while shooting a video.  
  6. Teamwork and Project Management- Video assignments, may be, a group project so instructors should give students a recommended or required structure for their collaboration, including what technologies they should use. Also, prepare or ask for a list of task assigned to each one of them.  

This new approach to assignments is growing at an unprecedented rate, and has the capacity to replace hand-written assignments soon but it requires proper guidance and good preparation to succeed further. 

About the Author
Author: Saniya Khan
Saniya Khan I am Saniya Khan, Copy-Editor at EdTechReview - India’s leading edtech media. As a part of the group, my aim is to spread awareness on the growing edtech market by guiding all educational stakeholders on latest and quality news, information and resources. A voraciously curious writer with a dedication to excellence creates interesting yet informational pieces, playing with words since 2016.

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