Video in Teaching, Learning & Assessment: A Snapshot of Two Experiences

In the final countdown towards the Christmas holidays, we’ve had two surprisingly well attended Sipping Point sessions on creative uses of video in teaching, learning, and assessment. With video becoming such a ubiquitous educational tool, there seems to be strong interest out there in learning how to make it work best for both students and lecturers in various teaching contexts.  What follows is a short account of what was discussed at DCU St Patrick’s and Glasnevin campuses on Dec 17th and 18th.

As usual, the sessions kicked off with two speakers who kindly agreed to share their experiences. Dr Tish Balfe, from DCU School of Inclusive and Special Education, discussed how she employs video in two ways: to assess students’ application of course content in the classroom and also to support social constructivist, peer learning between student teachers. In the first case, Tish explained how the assignment requirement of uploading video clips allowed observation of how and to what level the students were actually applying course content within the primary classroom. Furthermore, the use of video to share practice during a research project supported self and group reflection on what students were observing. For example, while initially somewhat uncomfortable sharing clips of themselves, the students reported that they benefited and learned from gaining a very authentic visibility into others’ professional practice and style.

Tish Balfe at Gnvn - Advs of Video Slide
Dr Tish Balfe, DCU School of Inclusive and Special Education presenting at ‘The Sipping Point’

Dr Daniela Lehwaldt, DCU School of Nursing & Human Sciences, talked about her ongoing work on an Erasmus+ funded eCoNNECT project that involves the development of four videos for a blended learning module. Geared towards nursing students on practice placement, the project employed various novel technologies and drew on a range of expertise for filming and editing. For example H5P (interactive video) technology was used to create moments where students make ‘on the spot’ decisions about what they’re seeing within the videos. In this case a substantial team of people were involved in the production process, including professional actors and multimedia technology experts working alongside the academic lead.

Daniela Explains Script - cropped
Dr Daniela Lehwaldt explains the scripting process followed for the eConnect Project

These were both clearly very different approaches but I think it interesting to note that in both cases, the videos were being used as a spark or discussion point to generate deeper dialogue between students. Both approaches were being employed in a blended learning context, with students discussing the videos in more depth (particularly the challenging aspects) collectively as a group in a face-to-face environment. True to the form of the Sipping Point, several comments and questions were raised about the approaches shown, including:

  • Was the professional, team-based filming approach worth it? Or could simpler, less time-consuming and expensive approaches be employed? (Yes to both, seemed to be the consensus. Having funding to employ a professional team (particularly for acting and editing) worked well in this case but this does not preclude more basic approaches that do not require the services of a dedicated professional team.)
  • What are the ethical issues to consider around video creation and sharing? (Student ownership, control, and storage of the video are central to this, and of course, consent.)
  • Where is it possible to find the audio clips used for background noise, etc? ( was highly recommended as Creative Commons licensed database of sounds.)

I plan to share more video-related resources with the attendees soon, particularly in relation to reuse of existing Open Educational Resources (OERs) and further information about H5P. On a logistical note, it was difficult to know if this is a good or a bad time to run a teaching conversation session like this. Given that teaching at DCU just finished on Friday December 14th, attendance at the sessions could have gone one way or another – although very late in the semester, it turns out quite a number of people (29) were game to come along the week after teaching finished, which is something to keep in mind for future scheduling, whenever possible. To everyone who bravely presents at or comes along to the Sipping Point, or indeed reads this blog, may I take the opportunity to wish you a peaceful, restful Christmas and the best of health and happiness in 2019. I look forward to sharing more tea and company with you soon.

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