Higher education has never been more competitive so many universities are looking for innovative ways to create more contemporary, exciting and effective student experiences. One of the modern ways is to use video in higher education to support and enhance student experiences.

Here at StoryTagger, we believe learning is key to growth and success, so we love a chance to support and encourage innovation in the sector. Recently we worked with John Woodcock, Library Learning and Skills Manager, at King’s College London who wanted to run an experimental classroom event using StoryTagger. We caught up with John afterwards to ask him a few questions about how user generated video can be used in higher education.

Q: What were you hoping to achieve by running this experiment?

A: I wanted to get an idea of how easily (or not!) a group of motivated novices would grasp the process of creating short videos using StoryTagger as part of a structured group-based classroom project.


Q: What specific challenges are you looking to overcome?

A: Mainly the ingrained unwillingness of most people to record their faces and voices! But in StoryTagger I wanted to demonstrate how the app could and would remove a number of the barriers we face when creating useful video content, i.e. by answering a focused question, with a clear time limit imposed on the recording.


Q: How did the experiment go? Any surprises? How did people respond to using StoryTagger?

A: As the instigator, I was very pleased with the results! I think my team took to the process very well, probably because of the prior work put in setting up and framing the scenario beforehand.

My team liked the fact the app took much of the cognitive load out of the equation and enabled my team to focus better on recording a piece of video they would be happy to show off.

The fact that we set a short time-frame (30 seconds) meant that an unsatisfactory video could be easily discarded thanks to the low investment in time on the user’s part.


Q: How do you think user-generated video in higher education can support the student experience?

A: We had ideas even after using StoryTagger for just half an hour! We thought we could incorporate video creation into our Critical Appraisal sessions, where students learn how to approach published research with a critical eye. Our idea would have them record videos over a period of time where they reflect on what they think the research is saying, but crucially tracking how their understanding of published research changes over time as they gain experience and confidence in appraising journal articles. We also thought there was potential for asking our PhD-level Study Skills Advisors to record short, reflective ‘what I wish I knew as an Undergraduate/Taught Post Graduate’ or ‘how I started my Doctorate/managed to get my funding’ videos. We could then use these to spread their experience and enthusiasm to the student body.


Q: What specific benefits would this bring to the faculty or university?

A: Two major objectives for the University are built around increasing the diversity and flexibility of the assessment methods available to students and increasing the degree to which students can study across disciplines. By adopting an easy-to-use app like StoryTagger, we can make a persuasive case when asking the University to increase the prevalence of formative and summative assignments based on videos rather than traditional written documents.

The increase in multi-disciplinary degrees brings the opportunity to really allow students to take a more active role in the co-creation of their curricula, and I see video creation playing a strong role alongside other forms of media.


Q: What advice would you give to teams thinking about running similar experiments with StoryTagger?

A: Create a scenario that you could also run with students and try to think of tangible learning outcomes too. For my team I set up a simple exercise where the group individually recorded short videos answering one of three pre-set questions.  We then shared the videos back in the classroom on a larger screen. We gave each other feedback on the videos and suggestions for how they could be improved. For instance, my video was quite shaky so next time I might lean on a wall. Along the way I was trying to appraise how quickly, or how instinctively, each individual got to grips with an app they had never seen or used before, and gauge how it might work with our student cohorts.

HE teams already creating user-generated video with StoryTagger include:

Higher education teams are using StoryTagger to help teachers and students design more innovative learning experiences and share reflective student stories.

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