In his second-year History module ‘Go-Betweens: Crossing Borders in the Early Modern World’ Dr Guido van Meersbergen diversified assessment tools by allowing students to choose between producing a podcast, blog post, or video for a group-work project that explored the stories of border-crossing individuals or communities. For the video assignment, students worked in self-selected groups of 3 to 4 to produce roughly 12-15 minutes of video content that presented a focused case study of a historical figure, community or theme related to the module. Students were empowered to choose their own topic as well as which software they used to produce the video and this meant that students could cater the project to their own digital skill sets. Not prescribing which software students used also meant that students were able to use whichever tools were available to them. Additionally, working in groups allowed all group members to contribute something regardless of technical proficiency. The aim of the video assignment was to encourage students to work with a range of different media and incorporate visual as well as textual sources.
Dr Guido van Meersbergen, History
- Dr van Meersbergen introduced the assignment in the first week of term.
- Students arranged themselves into groups of 3-4 in the second week of term.
- Students were given 2-3 weeks to decide on a topic for their video, be it an individual, community or theme related to the module.
- Dr van Meersbergen held a seminar in which students were asked to share their plans. This allowed students to get inspiration from hearing about each other’s projects.
- Dr van Meersbergen felt that, as he was asking students to do a form of assessment that may be new to them, it was important to provide clear instructions and marking criteria on the Module page and on Moodle. However, as students were allowed to choose which video editing software they used, he did not provide specific technical support, although students were encouraged to attend his office hours for advice.
- As part of the assignment, students also did a 12-15 minute group oral presentation on their research findings, which contributed to their mark and gave them an opportunity to get feedback and answer questions from fellow students. Students were able to use this feedback to revise their final projects.
- Each group member submitted the project to Tabula individually, either by uploading the video file directly or uploading a word document with a weblink to YouTube or Vimeo.
It has produced some really exciting, quite diverse, very original and really quite entertaining material. I think it has really allowed the students to develop some of their skills but also pool in the different skills that the different group members have and do something quite exciting visually. It has been really a pleasure to mark these results as well.
When I did it the first time and even still now I’m aware that some of the video content I wouldn’t be able to produce myself in such a slick fashion, so I think in some ways the undergraduates are much more practiced in producing video content than the staff. So the fact that it might be a bit new for us [as staff members] shouldn’t prevent us from trying to implement this as an assessment.
If you're trying to sell yourself to an employer, having been able to have the skills to make a video and make it look professional to put online, I think that's kind of good, that's something that we've got that we wouldn't have got if it was just like a presentation