Case Study: Assessing student video projects


Arts - School of Modern Languages, University of Bristol


  • Gloria Visintini - Technology Enhanced Learning Director
  • Pete Herbert - Senior Digital Education Developer

Example student video - Los pueblos indigenas en Bolivia

Tools used

  • YouTube - storage of videos and compressing of files
  • Audacity - audio editing
  • Flip Cameras - simple USB High Definition cameras
  • Movie Maker/ iMovie - editing software
  • Format Factory - file formating
  • Blackboard - Submission and feedback

The above list is by no means exhaustive and many students now use their own devices and software. It is however important to have some tools available to ensure inclusion for all students. Please also see relevant Student support


Introduced in 2010, a Year 2 unit within the German Department offered the opportunity for students to make a short film as part of their unit assessment. However, at this time there was no school marking criteria for an assessment of this kind.


To fill this gap and develop a set of guidelines for:

  1. the making of audio-visual projects, which would also allow other departments to experiment with them
  2. student assessment

When in place these could then be used to widen the practice of audio-video projects.

What was done

The Head of Education supported this initiative with funds from Education Services. Gloria, with the support of two student interns, was tasked with writing the guidelines. The students wrote the guidelines using a range of sources, such as relevant readings, existing criteria across the University and regular meetings with Gloria and Teaching Associates who had fully integrated audio-visual projects into their teaching. The students also worked with Nick Bartram the School Learning Technologist who gave them advice on equipment and software based on his experience of supporting other projects.

Once the guidelines were complete they were sent around the department with a questionnaire for staff in order to gather further feedback which was then reviewed and incorporated into the final version.


The resulting assessment criteria (Office document, 28kB) provide both staff and students with a framework for both creating and assessing audio-video projects consistently. The document is made available to the students at the outset of their project and provides them a comprehensive set of guidelines covering what is required of them, and provides guidance which ranges from file format to expected content.

Importantly for both the school and students, the marking criteria is clearly defined along with the weighting of each of the three assessed areas:

  • Language
  • Content
  • Style

As this is designed as a group activity the assessment criteria is further broken down to show the weighting for individual and group elements.

What worked well

  • The guide forms a framework that can be adapted to fit different project requirements.
  • Having a defined but flexible marking criteria has helped to broaden the use of video projects within the faculty. This has now been shared with other Schools within the institution such as Chemistry, who are using the documents to help implement student video projects.
  • Allowing students to create a video project helps students to develop a broad set skills transferable employability skills including group working, digital capability, project management, presentation as well as the core language skills they require.
  • Giving the students the opportunity to complete assessed work in a different format to the standard written essay.
  • The reflective report which accompanies the audio-video project allows the students to develop both reflective and critical evaluation skills.

Issues and considerations

  • Ensuring that the student videos can be viewed is very important. Establish a common format and ask them to test on a standard University machine prior to submission.
  • Creating video can be very time consuming provide the students with guidance on how to plan their project.
  • Plan for how you are going to support the project consider staggering the submission dates to stagger support requests. Ensure the relevant support people are aware of your projects.
  • Think about how they are going to submit their work. Using tools such as a ‘private’ Youtube channel and producing the video from there allows students to produce a good size file which can be submitted to Blackboard.
  • Ensure that you include guidance on copyright and attributing images and other media correctly.

References and useful links

For further help or advice please email