What Essay? Turn in a Video Instead

As technology seems to be an ever-changing and evolving part of our lives, it’s no surprise that pretty much everything we do and come across nowadays is something that we can take care of with the use of a computer and over the Internet. The situation is no different in college and university campuses across the country, as professors shy away from using old written paper assignments, projects, and presentations and instead assign the use of cameras and videos to test whether students are learning what they should be. Professors teaching a variety of courses, including writing, forensics, foreign languages, anthropology, and sociology, are pushing for students to record their assignments on video rather than write them, according to an article posted in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

While the trend generally exists among professors who are tech-savvy, some students do lobby to turn in video essays rather than writing traditional papers when it comes to essays, projects, and assignments. As the trend catches on and gains popularity, a few colleges are now requiring that students have video-making skills before they are allowed to graduate. The University of Southern California is one school that is trying to make those skills a requirement, as school officials there believe that students must be prepared for visual communication in today’s highly visual landscape.

While school officials at the University of Southern California are for requiring students to learn visual ability and communication techniques, how to enforce that requirement isn’t exactly as clear. Though they would like it to be a part of the learning curriculum at the school, they just don’t know how to include it, but some of the options are adding a required course in which students are taught how to make digital videos or asking students at the school to complete a capstone multimedia project. With more than 89% of students in four year colleges or universities owning laptops, according to data from Student Monitor, the recipe for video-making really lies within the students, as most of today’s laptops have built-in cameras and basic video-editing software.

Some professors who have already used video essays and assignments claim that they are surprised by how much time and work students put into video assignments. Some professors have also voiced concern saying that the majority of that time is spent more on making the video visually appealing with snazzy graphics, and spending less time on the actual research, learning, and presentation part of the video. To help with that, USC has set up a center where non-film majors can go to ask for help in creating their videos for their classes. Still, it appears that this trend will continue to catch on, as do most attempts with anything that is technology related.

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