Students making videos as part of their formative assessment? Not only is it possible but it can also have a great impact on student engagement, assessment and on developing life skills.

Last academic year, Catherine Xiang from the Language Centre introduced student production of video media content in the target language as part of the continuous course assessment in two of their Level 5 Mandarin Chinese courses. Students were asked to produce news reports on global events they were concerned with and interviews on a current issue. The results were very encouraging for both learners and teachers.

Deeper understanding

Anodized Golden Engineering Marvel by Kellar Wilson on FlickrThis was highlighted by both teachers and students, the latters being provided with the opportunity to study language via content:

Catherine: Because the students are asking to produce short films on their subject matter or any social issues that they deeply care about, the project enables the students to combine language learning with their subject knowledge.

Student: All the people we interviewed provided a unique perspective which has deepened my understanding of the issue

Engagement

Photograph of LSE students in one of the teaching rooms of 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields.Catherine’s intention was to adopt a “learning by doing” approach that would engage students at all stages of the project. The approach was very much student-centred as students worked in groups to select the theme, get familiar with the material and produce and edit their interviews, thus giving them plenty of opportunities to collaborate and putting them in charge of their learning, inside and outside of the classroom

Innovative assessment 

Producing videos was an excellent opportunity for a more “realistic” mode of formative assessment. Students appreciated to have a “real product”:

If you can clearly see that your hard work leads to an outcome, you will feel very satisfied.

Transferable skills

Photograph of CV and penIn addition to improving on their language skills, students also got to acquire/develop new ones that will prove useful in their everyday life and job

Teacher:  I think this student-centred method pushed student out of all their comfort zone to acquire new skills (e.g. video recording, editing, working with others), linking language learning with more transferable skills

Student: Also what I have learned from the project is that in addition to the technical aspects, in order to make the filming successful, I also need to know the appropriateness of the questions and also pay more attention to the reaction of the interviewees

Want to run a similar project involving students producing content? Check out our SPARK! funding pages