Deakin University

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Authenticating assessment through the video essay–a pilot case study

journal contribution
posted on 2019-10-12, 00:00 authored by Sean Redmond, Joanna TaiJoanna Tai
Within the Higher Education sector there is an increased focus upon authentic assessment where learning outcomes are conceived in terms of their “real world” relevance (Boud & Soler 2016). Authenticity can also be understood in terms of creative activity and criticality, where what is learned and assessed relates to the individual’s unique imagination and to their understanding of the power relations that operate in society. The video essay can be argued to foster authenticity in both these senses, uneasy bedfellows as they are. [1] In this paper we look to address both these definitions of authentic assessment, outlining the findings of a pilot research project with third year undergraduate students taking the Celebrity Industries: Star Images, Fan Cultures and Performance unit, at Deakin University, Melbourne, in 2018. The unit belongs to the generalist BA Arts degree, with students coming from a diverse range of academic backgrounds including, film and television studies, digital media studies, psychology, marketing, education, law, and sociology. 182 students took the unit, of which 55 were solely enrolled online, in our “Cloud” classroom. For their first assignment, the students were required to make a five minute video essay and accompanying 750 word exegesis: details can be found in Appendix One. The research developed in response to the authors’ desire to promote and investigate the notion of learning authenticity, and because the unit in question, with its focus on celebrity, lends itself to the creative and critical underpinnings of the video essay. The research sought to answer these entangled questions: first, how might use of the video essay as a mode or tool of learning improve students’ educational experience? Second, how do students view it in comparison with written forms of assessment? Third, is it seen to have “real world” relevance? Finally, how does the video essay work as an empowering assessment item within the communication and creative arts disciplines?



Cinema journal




Austin, Tex.





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal




University of Texas Press