I recently had the pleasure of “performing” the first of the Pecha Kucha sessions at the recent Festival of Assessment. So, I thought I would try to convert the format into a blog post, slide by slide. My slides are available here should you wish to follow along (strongly encouraged).
- Macquarie has been doing video-based assessment (and I have personally presented) in several different units over the years where video based assessment has been used as a non-traditional alternative to written work. This has mainly been in “non-media” disciplines such as Linguistics, Biology, Geography, Languages and Ancient History.
- Within the catch all “video based assessment” term there are actually a range of sub genres fit for different purposes. As with written work, there is no one-size fits all. “Video based assessment” itself would actually be a sub genre of “Audio/Visual Presentation” in the new nomenclature and categorisation of the new CMS.
- All of the usual considerations when designing an assessment task apply, especially that it is valid, reliable, authentic, transparent and fair. Group work considerations can be played out in multiple ways and it is an ideal form for scaffolded and staged assessment. At the core, types of skills can be categorised as Creative, Technical and Procedural yet the tasks encompass many more.
- Media production is inherently a staged process so it makes sense to stage the assessment as well. There are a range of traditional well developed workflows that are useful to apply to the task.
- Having more components than the final product delivered (such as a script, reflection, schedule etc) can help spread the task over the semester and also delineate individual contributions to group work. These also help draw focus away from a slick video as the final product and move it back to a slick process as the intended result.
- Software and hardware needs are not as big a concern as most think. Students are very resourceful and innovative in this area. That said, if you use a lab, we now have the full Adobe creative cloud licensed for all our labs so it becomes a good baseline.
- Academic honesty and referencing is as important as for any other task. It is essential to teach this and to extend to using creative commons material and correctly attributing non-textual sources as well.
- There are a variety of support mechanisms including lynda.com which all students have access to. I made the point (and will continue to) that to expand this as a more common behaviour, we may wish to consider pursuing a micro-credential strategy to enable more academics to embed these tasks without worrying about constantly reteaching the first principles.
- Now to a case study. I am assisting in using this form of assessment (as a tutor for the super-extra-fantastic Dr Ronika Power) in AHIS291 – Archaeology of Death and Burial. In proper Biggs constructive alignment mode, we started with the learning outcomes to embed the skills we wanted to foster into the outcome of the unit.
- The task itself we split into an individual zero weighted video submission and a strongly weighted group submission. This allowed every student to demonstrate their own voice whilst also working as part of a larger group on a more significant piece. We have encouraged a “role based” model of group work where different students are formally self allocated to specific roles such as Producer, director, videographer and production manager.
- Again back to Biggs, a well-designed rubric is an essential component to this task. We developed ours explicitly related to the learning outcomes with a broad focus beyond the final video. I find in a multimodality context, focussing on the choices made rather than only the result is a better approach.
- The scaffolding covered many elements including software 101, scripting, pitching (such an important skill nowadays), group member negotiation process and scheduled support sessions in a computer lab. All of this was combined with a strong use of iLearn tools to capture ideas, discussions, process and skills.
- When anonymously surveyed about their existing skills and confidence early in the semester, we were happy to see that there was very good coverage against all of the skills mentioned in point three and this helped with overall confidence of skill coverage and also with the group member negotiation process.
- For submission, we use the Echo Active Learning Platform [Any questions, log a OneHelp ticket or email iLearn help] as it is very easy, well-documented and supported. We pair this with the assignment tools for collecting paperwork and the digital academic honesty declaration. Although we do encourage and teach the students how to publish to youtube, this is not mandatory and requires them to correctly adhere to creative commons referencing.
- Finally, we will be running a premiere screening night in week 14 where all the students can watch each others final work. This really is a vital component as it is inherently a social process and we are all well conditioned to watching films together. How often do they do that with essays!
Well, that was my Pecha Kucha. Before I started, I asked the attendees how many had done a true Pecha Kucha and there were not many. To explain simply, you get a set amount of time and your slides automatically change at a set interval. I had 5 minutes and chose to include 15 slides so each slide went for 20 seconds. It really is a blast and forces you to be concise and cut to the chase. Took me a bit more than 5 minutes to write this but you should get most of the gist of being there if you follow along with the slides. If you ever get a chance to do one yourself, go for it! It is terribly frightening and exhilarating at the same time.
Lastly, two calls to action:
1. Are you doing video based assessment in your units and have ideas and methodologies to share? Please do reach out, or post to the comments below.
2. Would you be interested in learning more or trying it yourself? I have run a successful learning and teaching workshop multiple times in the past titled “Designing Videos as Learning” which I would be happy to run again if there is interest. Ping me if keen. Ciao.