Using vodcasting for assessment in a Business subject: A case study

This assignment was called "Vodcast Job Application". Students were required to create a vodcast or video resume, which they could subsequently use, if they chose to, to provide prospective employers with a personalised CV. They added this to a personal PebblePad page, and could also create a link to disseminate it via YouTube. This assignment was a hurdle requirement (that is, students had to complete the assignment in order to pass the subject), and was part of a larger assessed assignment, the creation of a PebblePad webfolio, worth 25% of subject marks.

Web 2.0 tools used: video recordings uploaded to PebblePad http://www.pebblepad.com.au

About the subject

The subject, "Professional Business Practice", was taught in the first year of a Masters in Commerce course in a School of Business Information Technology & Logistics.

The subject consisted of two parts - a Work Integrated Learning (WIL) component and a research component. All students were involved in a WIL project: they conducted case study research into organisations, working either individually or in a group. The WIL component was taught through seminars, guest speakers and dedicated site visits with discussions surrounding the business problems that needed to be solved by the individual student or group of students.

This course was a mixed mode course. Learning and teaching activities were predominantly offered in the classroom and augmented by online resources and discussion. The course has been run in this mode several times before.

Students were postgraduate students in the first year of their degree. There were more than 100 students enrolled, including a mix of international, domestic, and mature age students.

The subject was taught by one course coordinator and two sessionally employed lecturers.

Assignment tasks and timing

This was an individual assignment. Students presented their vodcast job applications in Week 4 of the semester. The assignment was described as follows in the Subject Outline:

Online resumes are not just the future of recruitment but are already a reality for many large multinational corporations. This assessment requires you to script and create your own online application for a specific job to go with your CV.

You are required to put together a 2 minute visual application for a specific job. This document acts in the same way that a cover letter does so it must include all the pertinent information for your application. This assessment will include individual, peer and industry feedback to maximise your learning.

The assessment must include:
Job advertisement : Choose a relevant job advertisement from seek.com, The Age or a similar location
Script :Write a script for the presentation. Following the AIDA method of application letter writing, you will need to have:
1. Introduction (Attention)
2. Why you want the job (Interest)
3. What you have to offer (eg education, experience) and why you would be the best for the job (Desire)
4. How to get in contact with you (Action)

Film the presentation

Create a personal PebblePad webfolio as per Week 3

Upload the following (Week 4)
1. PDF version of the job advertisement
2. PDF version of your script
3. PDF version of your CV*
4. Videoclip (no more than 10mb)

*CV As part of the overall assessment for this subject you are required to upload a copy of your CV to the PebblePad. In week 3 extra classes will be available for students who wish to refine their CV.

Executives from industry will assess the vodcast presentations and give general feedback on the relevance and hireability of candidates.

Intended learning outcomes

This assignment was aligned with one of the course objectives: to prepare students to gain and maintain employability.

Rationale for using Web 2.0

Web 2.0 was chosen for this assignment because it enabled student work to be easily accessible to an audience of peers for mutual benefit.

A personalised professional identity could be expressed through the vodcast, using multiple communication styles – visual, audio, textual.
The information was stored in one place and was easily identifiable as a "personal page", similar to other social networking sites. Because of this, the lecturer felt that students intuitively understood how to use the PebblePad portfolio.

Using PebblePad to publish the vodcast, made all CVs available to staff and students to access. This did not allow outside viewing unless invited (such as for executives on an industry panel to give feedback). Once the student had finished study they could continue to access the information via PebblePad or could choose to export to another application.The student could also choose who else has access to their work.

Setting up the assignment

Before the assignment began, staff had to:
• Prepare guidelines on how to use the technology and what type of content should be included in the CV.
• Provide examples of CVs presented in both traditional and video format.
• Ensure students could use and had access to requisite technology.

Introducing the assignment to students

The assignment was introduced at the beginning of the semester, and all requirements were explained in class as well as in a handout and in a video:

Lecture 1 focused on the changing the face of communication showing examples of Vodcasts.
Lecture 2 gave examples of previous students' work available on Blackboard.
Lecture 3 went into details about how to use PebblePad.

Supporting students through the assignment

Learning skills staff were available to assist, as needed. Video equipment was made available for students to use to prepare their vodcasts. Academic staff assistance out of class was available.

Formative feedback was given online through peer review and industry representative review.

Students who were not already skilled in using current information and communication technologies developed these skills as part of the learning process during the assignment.

All students were also required to keep a backup copy of all their assessable work separate to the PebblePad page.

Marking the assignment

The lecturer and tutors marked students' vodcasts according to the following criteria:
• Did the clip relate to the specific job? Did it address the selection criteria?
• Did the clip adhere to the AIDA guidelines?
• Was information presented interesting, relevant and pitched appropriately at company and industry?
• Did the clip submit to the time limit?
• Was the script/clip appropriate for the job application?

An industry consultant attended the presentation of the student vodcasts to provide feedback to students and to inform the lecturer and tutor of their assessment of the vodcast (in a discussion that was held out of class). At the beginning of the semester, students were told: If you meet the above criteria you will pass or receive a credit for this assessment. In the world of industry you would not easily receive a job offer based on a credit interview. So you must reach beyond the basic criteria and be creative to excel in this assessment. Think about it - are you an A or a C brand?

Marking guides were prepared and used by all staff.

Communicating the results

Results were communicated to students using a feedback sheet during class. The marking sheet was returned to students with specific areas for improvement highlighted.

Evaluating and improving the assignment

Teaching staff held consultative meetings with students in mid-semester and at the end of the semester. Students could raise issues about this assignment during this meeting if desired. In addition, course evaluation surveys were distributed in the second last class of the semester, and students could provide feedback about the assignment on these surveys.

The lecturer believed the assignment had been successful in teaching students how to create a CV that effectively describes personal attributes, and that through this process students had learned to define what they will display of themselves online. This was considered important given that a future employer can now find out information about prospective employees on the web, e.g., by looking at the person's Facebook page.

Reflecting on how well the assignment worked, the lecturer noted that the high work load associated with the marking of the online assessment task and the cost associated with industry consultants performing the task were an issue. Industry consultants were employed as tutors to attend the class and provide immediate feedback to students in relation to their vodcast. They also provided feedback to the tutors and lecturer, which informed the assessment of the vodcasts. Effectively, the vodcasts were team assessed by the lecturer, tutors, and industry consultants, providing both higher education and industry perspectives.

By the end of semester, this assignment had influenced how staff were rethinking other assessment tasks, to ensure that these also reflected a student’s work readiness in a technology-savvy world.

Selected documents from this case study

Extract from Course Guide describing the vodcasting assessment task: Job interview vodcast assignment.pdf

Page source:
Gray, K., Waycott, J., Thompson, C., Clerehan, R., Sheard, J., Hamilton, M., & Richardson, J. (2011) Using Social Web (Web 2.0) Activities for Student Assessment: Resources for University Learning and Teaching. Retrieved from https://web2assessmentresources.wikispaces.com