• Academic Technology

Using Video For Student Assessment at Birkbeck, University of London

At Panopto, we are always excited to showcase how members of our higher education community are using video to enhance the teaching and learning experience for students. We’ve seen increasingly diverse applications of our solution, including a growing number of institutions using Panopto for student assessment and video feedback.

In a new ebook, produced by the Bloomsbury Learning Environment (a group of London-based universities), editors Sarah Sherman and Leo Havemann have compiled over 20 case studies from institutions using technology to improve their feedback and assessment practices.

Panopto is one of the technologies helping to support these pedagogical developments, and is mentioned in a chapter provided by Deborah Grange and Steve Hirons from Birkbeck, University of London. Their contribution to the ebook provides a case study of their innovative initiative to implement a new form of video assessment for students on the institution’s BSc Geology course.

The need to use video for assessment became apparent when staff running the course reviewed the key competencies they were expecting from their students. One of the key skills their students have to develop is the ability to describe rocks in detail. In fact, 50% of the students’ final grades are based on how well they can do this — and their capabilities in this area are tested during a viva with a professional geologist.

The university felt, therefore, that it was important to help students develop their verbal presentation skills during the course of their studies. This led them to replace their existing written assessment format and instead use Panopto to allow students to create their own verbal commentaries to visuals of different rocks. Their recordings were uploaded to a shared folder which could be accessed by their fellow students, allowing the group to do peer review and learn more effectively from each other.

When asked about this new form of video assessment, students reported that it had made them feel more confident and comfortable in their ability to describe rocks. They also suggested that the process made them more organised in putting their descriptions together as they knew they were being recorded. Importantly, it enhanced the inclusivity of the course for distance learners, who expressed even greater satisfaction than the face-to-face learners.

The tutor who implemented this project also had a positive experience, saying that he felt the new mode of assessment had helped his students take greater ownership and responsibility for their work. Looking to the future, the institution can also see how the technology could be used to support group work, by allowing students to collaboratively generate their descriptions and review other groups’ contributions.

You can read the case study in full, and many others featuring a range of different technologies, by downloading the ebook: Assessment, Feedback and Technology: Contexts and Case Studies in Bloomsbury.