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Authentic assessment – video creation as an assessment

31 January 2024

3 minutes to read

Authentic assessment – video creation as an assessment

Written essays play a significant role in the university assessment ecosystem, but are challenging to mark at scale and when overused don’t generally offer much added value to the student. When we developed a new module for our 2nd year cohort (ESS2222 Motor Control), we took the opportunity to try something new as our main assessment. Instead of an essay or exam, students were tasked with the creation of a 10-minute informational video on any topic related to motor control. Our reasoning behind this choice was that this assessment could easily meet the learning outcomes, while being potentially more useful to students than doing yet more written work. Initially, we were concerned about the challenges of making sure students had sufficient training and resources to create a video – it felt like a worrying barrier in terms of skills and equipment. The pandemic, where all of a sudden large swathes of society were forced into digital video interactions,  largely removed this barrier from our cohort.

In terms of format, we keep it broad – students are allowed to create videos in whatever format they feel, and the internet is full of tutorials about content creation of this sort. Most students opt to use Zoom to record narrated PowerPoint presentations with an audio voiceover, which works particularly well since recent editions of PowerPoint are capable of making very professional-looking content. Others have been more ambitious in their production, with examples ranging from animations made with software like VideoScribe which has really allowed students to exercise their creative muscles with some incredibly high-quality bespoke animated videos (e.g., this video on muscle memory from 2021 graduand Tomek Bruml, which has gained over 1000 views on YouTube), to hand-drawn flip chart content.

The video assessment has also become useful tool for students to engage a broader audience on personal and professional social media. To give one example, 2022 graduand Mayleen Sabathier posted their video on their Linkedin profile for prospective employers. This post gained lots of attention (over 1800 impressions) – something unlikely to be said for any coursework essay answer that a student might feel inclined to post on social media. Our hope moving forward is that this assignment could become a powerful tool to highlight the work of our students at department open days.

The final point to discuss is the enjoyment of the assessment – for students and markers, this assessment stands alone in how enjoyable it is. The diversity of content, the diversity of presentation, and the medium through which we engage with this normally-draining part of our job is pretty exciting. There are of course students who don’t leave themselves enough time to properly storyboard and script the narrative, and it’s not particularly quick to mark or give feedback for, but by and large it’s a very gratifying assignment to mark. Students also really enjoy this assignment – Mayleen Sabatier enjoyed it enough to contribute a ‘how to’ video, to give her insights into how to succeed at this assignment to future students (and yes, we paid her as a PTA for her work creating this). Watching this video and discussing in class is now an integral part of the assessment preparation we undertake with our cohorts. About the assignment itself, Mayleen says:

“The video assessment in the Motor Control module is my favourite piece of coursework at University, by a mile. The complete freedom to choose your topic and the creative liberty motivated me to fully invest in the assignment, unlike essays and lab reports. This assignment is the poster child for ‘what you put in is what you get out’.”

It needs to be acknowledged that this kind of assessment is not without its barriers. First, it requires students to have access to a computer with video and audio recording capabilities, as well as a quiet space to record the content. Second, we need to not take it for granted that digital literacy is going to improve, and keep an eye on what medium students use to engage with taught content. In the future, we could try to offset some of these issues by providing students with university smart devices and access to bookable laboratories as recording studios for a limited time, which may level the playing field and give students a more concrete time-line for the assignment preparation.


For more information please contact:


Dominic FarrisGavin BuckinghamGenevieve WilliamsLuciana Torquati
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