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Assessments are important. Make sure they're fully understood.

Assessments are important. We know that, and the students certainly do, and so they want to make sure they understand exactly what they have to do. Yet however clearly you’ve written the brief, you will still get multiple emails questioning the details you thought you had explained.

The School of Sport, Health and Social Sciences (SSHSS) has found a way to address this, resulting in better understanding for students, fewer emails for you, and higher grades at the lower end of the scale resulting in fewer failures as a bonus. The best thing is, you don’t need any special equipment.

Dr Ali Hill, Course Leader for Applied Human Nutrition, uses Panopto to record herself discussing what she’s expecting from an assessment brief. She has found that it has noticeably reduced the time she has to spend talking to students about the requirements of the brief, freeing up more time to discuss the content of the brief itself.

She also asks students to watch the video before the seminar, and then she can go through it with examples of previous work. If they miss the seminar, they can still access the video. If they have been at the seminar, it’s a useful refresher.

The ability to access the information any time, and watch it as often as needed, is one of the key benefits for Martin Skivington, Head of Health and Exercise Sciences. SSHSS made it mandatory, last academic year, for all level 4 units to have a video assessment brief. There has been such a noticeable improvement in student achievement that now all units are required to have a video brief for each assessment.

But what about the time cost? It might look useful, and it has results, but who has time to put this kind of thing in place?

‘Simply lecture capture or video the seminar session where you would provide the information regarding the assignment for the students,’ says Martin. A bit of time spent then is a worthwhile investment for later on.