Student Generated Media

In this type of project, students create original media related to the course content. This can be as complicated as a group video project explaining “supply and demand” or as simple as a photograph and essay about the meaning of “home”. These projects have the potential to deeply engage students and unleash their creative sides.

Time Consideration

Project Design: Before assigning a project, work with an instructional designer to make sure that your activity is matched with course goals. A single student media project may be able to demonstrate multiple learning outcomes.

Length: Even a 5-minute video project may take students several days to discuss, plan, shoot, and edit. While a 30- minute video may seem reasonable, the result is typically low quality and will take a long time to grade.

Alternatives to Video: For a quick assignment, try an audio recording or a photo-based project instead of a video.

Milestones: To keep students from procrastinating, have parts of the assignment due throughout the course term.

Assessment: Allocate a few points for organization, production value, and communication of course concepts. This will keep students focused and improve learning outcomes.

Skills Utilized

  • Creating project plans
  • Conveying information in multiple mediums
  • Writing and presentation skills
  • Group work
  • Researching topics and information design

Target Skills

  • Writing
  • Digital Literacy
  • Storytelling
  • Presenting Finding
  • Speaking Skills

Grading Criteria

  • Production Value
    • Lighting, Editing, Compositing, Effects, etc.
  • Organization
    • Completion of Deliverables
  • Message
    • Established Purpose
    • Vocal, Writer or Visual Expression of Purpose

Pros & Cons


  • The proliferation of smart phones has put a mobile video studio in every student’s pocket
  • The use of video technology continues to increase in society in a variety of applications, for business communication, education and entertainment
  • Students must gain familiarity with video technology in order to compete effectively in the job market
  • It captures both movement and sound, and as such, it tells a story and engages an audience more fully


  • It requires additional training and resources for both students and faculty
  • Challenging to scale for larger classes


Student media projects help students to think about the course content in new ways since they are required to synthesize what they’ve heard, read, and discussed into a new work.


Disseminating Nutrition Information

As a capstone project for senior students studying Nutrition Education, they were assigned a one minute long public service announcement. For the assignment students will develop a narrative from concepts learned over the course of the semester and create a video that is designed to inform the general public about a nutrition topic of their choice. The nutrition professor introduced the project during the second week of class and broke the project into individual deliverables due each week of the course. The plan, schedule, storyboard, images and audio, editing and submission were each due a different week to avoid a bottleneck at the end of the semester. Grading criteria was based on appropriateness, accuracy, length, creativity and attendance and was worth 15% of final grade.

Geology of Climate Change

Students worked in small groups to communicate research from scientific literature to tell the story of 1 of 10 critical events in Earth history. Throughout the semester the students created and compiled video presentations and edited them into final projects that were 3-5 minutes in length. The students in this class were expected to be able to explain paleoclimatology and the professor found that communication though video has best engaged the students in mastering that ability for these complex topics. Students were also expected to user proper citations for all media objects, ensure the clarity of their message and pay close attention to the length and quality of their video. This project was paired with an individual 10-page research paper on the same topic.

Applied Kinesiology

The project is a video-based movement analysis of a physical motion (i.e. soccer kick, baseball throw). Students choose a 10- second motion to analyze (e.g. throw a baseball or step off a stair), video tape the motion, and then put it into a format that they can share with classmates in a presentation. The kinesiology professor has stated that this video project generates more questions than anything else that they do in any other class. Many of the concepts in this field must be memorized but this video project almost forces students to use that knowledge to apply it to an analysis.

They are required to shoot the video from multiple angles and include both full speed video clips and slow motion video clips of the motion and provide a five-page report analyzing the motion

Visual Images on the Web

Throughout the semester students focused on storytelling across different digital mediums. Communicating their ideas through image based storytelling was a focus of projects that built on each other over the course of the semester, ending with a final project where they were asked to create a narrative video of 3-6 minutes. To get the students thinking creatively, they had to choose 3 attributes from a given list including: location of a pile of leaves, panning camera angle, and scary background music. The video projects, specifically, were a way for them to critically think about how moving imagery, spoken text, editing techniques, camera angles, and digital effects were all crucial to get their story across to viewers.

Media training included both an earlier session on digital storytelling and editing and a follow up review and critique session of the films at a nearly complete state. The critique session in particular helped to connect the artistic process, constructive criticism and careful revision basics back to this culminating assignment.