The Power of Video-Based Assessment at UCL

The Power of Video-Based Assessment at UCL

Video-Based Assessments leverage the dynamic capabilities of video recordings to evaluate students’ knowledge, skills, and abilities. This can take many forms: from standard presentations and recorded field trips to more creative reflections and demonstrations of digital skills. They offer an opportunity for authentic and valid assessments that are also reliable, and support academic integrity.

The Digital Assessment Team have been reviewing the current landscape of video-based assessment practices at UCL. In this blog post we want to explore approaches to video-based assessment and look at how different departments are embracing this transformative assessment method.

What can video-based assessments be used for?

Video-based assessments can serve a versatile range of purposes, spanning from short recordings of lesson observations or work placements to more extended presentations or field trips. They can include audio recordings, podcasts, and even 360-degree VR walk-throughs. In addition to traditional educational applications like documenting live in-person assessments and exams, providing feedback, and archival functions, video-based assessments find utility in documenting various processes such as lab work, artefact making, performances, and exhibitions. In this resource on video assessment recipe ideas I share eleven different ideas:

  • Individual presentation
  • Individual demonstration e.g. carrying out skills
  • Group presentation
  • Q&A session e.g. similar to an interview approach
  • Video commentary e.g. explaining what is happening in a video
  • Peer review e.g. reflecting on on other student videos
  • Mock scenario e.g. court room, medical, business
  • Interactive video e.g. answering questions on video content
  • Client video e.g. in partnership or to a business brief
  • Digital field guide e.g. curating content
  • Online role play

Case studies at UCL

Video-based assessment is widely employed throughout the institution, with instances of both innovative approaches, and more straightforward applications that could be replicated on other programmes and by other academics. Below we give two recent UCL case studies.

BookTok video assessment

Sam RaynerThe first case study is from Professor Samantha Rayner from the Department of Information Studies, whose MA in Publishing students on the on the INST0071 Editorial Practice module create a BookTok video. The video is one of three pieces of submitted work: 1) A short, 30 minute proof-reading exercise  2) Two Book blurbs aimed at different audiences and 3) An outline description and critical commentary for a BookTok video (between 750 and 1000 words in length), along with a short video clip (between 45 secs and 3 minutes long). The marks are split equally between the ideas contained in the outline document and the execution of the video. BookTok serves as a specialised community on the TikTok platform, bringing together readers worldwide to share reviews and theories on their favourite books, genres, recommendations, and authors.

As part of the preparation from the video creation an alumni student Ain Chiara who recently graduated from the MA publishing course at UCL and now works as a freelancer for publishers came in to talk to the students. Ain conducted a session where she discussed publishers’ social media and marketing strategies, particularly focusing on platforms like TikTok – you can see her YouTube account for examples of how she use the platforms in her work. Ain provided insights into current trends and effective video creation which allowed students to see the practical application of the skills learned in the course. Professor Rayner and her team also set up an assessment forum to provide support to the students, and utilised the help of the Faculty Learning Technology Lead to support with technical set up.

Presentation video assessment

NazifThe second case study is from Dr Nazif Alic, professor of aging and gene regulation in the division of biosciences. In his module on aging and gene regulation the main in-course assessment requires students to create a 5-minute video presentation showcasing their understanding of a specific question. Students are free to use visual tools and aids of their choice  but the emphasis lies on the content and ensuring a clear communication of scientific ideas and arguments. While some students have been really creative in their video approach others have used more straight forward methods, like recording on Teams while presenting a PowerPoint. Dr Alic is keen to emphasise to the students that the key focus remains on ensuring a thorough understanding and effective communication of the subject matter, not on the video quality. Staff on the module team have found that the use of a video assessment has turned marking in to a more efficient and streamlined task – the video replaces a previous thousand-word essay requirement. Markers have found it easier to evaluate students’ understanding by listening to their verbal explanations while simultaneously reviewing their notes. This shift has not only expedited the marking process but also enhanced the ability to make prompt and informed decisions on students’ performance.

Using videos for assessment offers the flexibility to approach tasks with both creative flair, as seen in the BookTok case study and in a more straightforward manner, as in the presentation case study. However, the crucial element lies in providing robust support to students and maintaining a clear focus on the content and module learning outcomes throughout the process.

Top 5 tips for supporting students when using video assessments:

  1. Prioritise Learning Outcomes: Communicate to students that your focus is on their learning progress, not just the technology. Emphasise that content and reflection are more critical than video quality.
  2. Define Clear Marking Criteria: Establish transparent marking criteria and discuss it with students.
  3. Provide Ongoing Support: Support students throughout the process using learning technologists or Digital Education resources. Ensure they have access to training for technical challenges.
  4. Balance Creativity with Substance: Encourage creativity (there are a huge amount of different approaches available – experimenting is great for employability) while stressing the importance of substantive content.
  5. Utilise Online Forums for Discussions: Encourage discussions on platforms like online forums. This fosters a collaborative environment, allowing students to share insights, ask questions, and benefit from collective learning experiences.

Additional resources

Arena case studies

  • Filmmaking as part of a module assessment: The BA Education Studies, assessed students’ learning through their planning, teamwork and personal reflection in filmmaking. Groups of students collaborated to produce a written and storyboarded production proposal. In these groups they made short films which were shown at the British Film Institute. Students also wrote an individual reflective essay on their process and experience of filmmaking.
  • Preparing students for the workplace: why I introduced digital assessments: UCL School of Management challenged traditional assessment design in response to an increasingly tech-driven world. Students provided links to website of their group project include 7-8 min video: students reflect on what they as ‘digital natives’ gain and lose from being connected to digital technology and then how organisations should (or should not) adapt to this generation joining the workforce. Authentic assessment expanding digital and communication skills.
  • Assessing internship experiences via 7 min video blogs (vlogs): Arts and Science BSc students on internship are asked to reflect on their experiences and the connections between knowledge they have acquired at UCL and their internship role as part of their assessment. This is submitted as a ppt file with recorded voice over on Moodle, not a Moodle video assignment. Larger files are emailed as other methods not known by team. See rubric: BASc Arts and Sciences Vlog criteria and marking form
  • How we designed the assessment for an Arts & Sciences (BASc) core module: How assessment diversity amplifies value of object-based learning. The value of object-based learning is strongly linked to pedagogies of active and experiential learning, which sees hands-on engagement with the object of study as key to personal meaning-making and the long-term retention of ideas. Introduces diversity in assessment: including group virtual exhibition on Reflect, oral group presentation (ppt or other) via Moodle or email link. Using IPAC for group work.
  • Novel assessment on anatomy module inspires reconfiguration of assessment on entire programme: In the revised assessment approach, Applied Medical Science degree students are instructed to create a video documentary (seven mins max.) of a novel imaging technique with special emphasis on its applicability for the study of human anatomy. Students are encouraged to interview researchers at UCL and then share their findings in a YouTube video. Videos are then presented during a special exam session in front of two examiners and all the students, who can ask questions. These videos are presented live and not uploaded to Moodle.
  • How video assignments can boost student engagement: UCL Archaeology, presents an experiment in video assessment that can easily be transferred to any discipline. Typically, an assessed piece of undergraduate archaeology work will take the form of an essay here students have the option of creating a five-minute documentary. The brief was simple: choose a topic relevant to the module and make a short video aimed at the general public. See student documenting her experience of producing her video on her blog.
  • Filming role-played mental health consultations for assessment: The MSc in Developmental Psychology and Clinical Practice introduced filmed role-play assessment for a first-year module. The student acts the part of a mental health practitioner seeing a family for the first time. ‘Parents’ and children from a local drama school are given information such as symptoms, family setting in advance, but they ad lib the roles. The 30 min session is conducted and recorded on Zoom. The recording and reflective commentary is submitted via Moodle.

Video assessment resources