Melissa Rock (State University of New York at New Paltz)
Over the past few years I have worked closely with instructional technology staff at various institutions to create progressive multi-media final projects that challenge students to think creatively about how and for what purposes they labor to frame, package and share their scholarly research. The development of digital video essay assignments (DVE), in particular, have pushed them to engage with new multi-media technology, refine their research for an alternative method of delivery and reconsider their project goals as they engage a more expanded audience for their work.
In contrast to traditional end-of-the-semester essays, properly executed DVE assignments have pushed my students to 1) become proficient users of the software and hardware involved in creating their final products, 2) think through the steps involved in creating a well-researched, articulately narrated, and professionally designed visual presentation of their topic, and 3) consider how they wish to engage their audience in a dialogue about their research. Indeed, I have found that distilling academic work into coherent and cohesive exchanges for broader publics often requires students to acquire a greater amount of expertise and nuanced understanding of their topic than typically demonstrated by (my) traditional paper assignments. Throughout the project students develop and refine their critical analytical and medial literacy skills.
These DVE projects were developed so that students may share their research with individuals beyond the classroom through campus and community presentations and through social media in an effort to sustain dialogue on the important and pertinent contemporary issues covered.