Using vodcasting for assessment in an Economics subject: A case study

In this assignment, students selected a current affair issue relating to financial theories presented in lectures, then created a video presentation or voice-over of a news bulletin and uploaded the presentation to a shared class wiki. The presentations were played during class, and assessed by the lecturer (worth 10% of the subject mark) and peers (worth 10%).

Web 2.0 tools used: Vodcast uploaded to a Blackboard wiki.

About the subject

The subject was called "Corporate Governance and Financial Strategy" and was taught as part of a Graduate Diploma or Masters degree in Business. The aims of the subject were to introduce students to the conceptual framework of corporate governance and use this framework to explore aspects of corporate financial decision-making. Theory and practice were examined using cross-country studies and recent empirical literature, and some notable examples of corporate governance failures were reviewed.

The subject was taught in programs run both on-shore and off-shore. 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.

Approximately 60 students were enrolled in the subject, including a mix of international, domestic, and mature age students.

The subject was taught by one lecturer.

Assignment tasks and timing

The assignment commenced in week four of the semester. To complete the first part of the task students had to:

• Identify a relevant current issue from a news bulletin
• Complete additional research
• Explain their view on the issue
• Prepare a video/audio presentation
• Upload this to a BlackBoard wiki set up for this purpose

This was expected to take up to ten hours to complete. During class time, students then viewed/heard their classmates' presentations and completed a peer review assessment of the work.

Intended learning outcomes

This assignment was aligned with the course objectives. By completing this assignment, students were expected to:

(a) understand and be familiar with the theoretical and practical framework of corporate governance and corporate financial decision making;
(b) analyse, interpret and evaluate empirical evidence relating to the theory of corporate governance and corporate financial decision making;
(c) apply the practical skills acquired in this course to the analysis of current events in financial markets and the corporate sector; and
(d) present analysis, interpretation and evaluation of empirical evidence relating to the theory of corporate governance and corporate financial decision making
(e) present and communicate confidently

Why Web 2.0?

Web 2.0 tools were chosen for this assignment so that students' work could be easily accessible to an audience of peers for mutual benefit. The lecturer also expected that publishing students' work on a class wiki would deter plagiarism. In this assignment, students were able to produce short pieces of academic work that employed conversational non-academic language using video and text. Publishing vodcasts on a wiki also meant that by the end of semester the class had created a resource with many examples demonstrating the application of financial theory to current affairs.

Setting up the assignment

The lecturer selected and set up the Blackboard wiki tool to enable students to easily upload their presentations.

Introducing the assignment to students

The assignment was introduced at the beginning of the semester. Class time was used to explain and clarify the peer review process. The lecturer provided templates for students to use during the peer review process.

Supporting students through the assignment

Academic staff assistance was available outside of class, via email and face-to-face consultations. Video equipment was provided and learning skills staff were available to support students to do the assignment. Examples were provided to show how to connect the student's chosen issue to course content (theory) and how to meet the assessment requirements.

Marking the assignment

For the peer review component of the assignment, the lecturer trained students in how to undertake peer review using a specially designed marking guide. All students gave all other students a mark for their presentation. This was combined with the lecturer’s assessment to produce a final mark for the assessment task. The peer review component of the assignment was worth 10% of the subject mark. The lecturer also marked each presentation, also worth 10% of the subject mark. The lecturer moderated and averaged the peer review mark to finalise each result.

Communicating the results

After the lecturer had summarised the peer assessment the results were communicated to students using a feedback sheet during the next class. This feedback was then used by students to complete their final in-class assessment which was another presentation and report.

Evaluating and improving the assignment

At the end of the semester students completed a survey providing feedback about the subject and the assignment. Survey results were used to plan improvements to the course.

Reflecting on how the assignment worked, the lecturer observed that the presentation of the vodcast and peer review improved overall student performance. This was dependent on careful training and monitoring of the process for peer review. The lecturer noted that the peer review process was important for the effective running of the course. He felt that a close alignment between the theory taught in lectures and the availability of current issues for interpretation and presentation was also a critical success factor. He believed that in this instance, the use of Web 2.0 was effective but it was essential to keep checking alignment between the course curriculum and current issues.

Selected documents from this case study

The assessment and feedback form used for peer review of student presentations: VodcastAssessmentFeedbackForm.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