Try a Quick and Easy Video Project

Try a Quick and Easy Video Project

Video is a powerful tool for expressing ideas, and is increasingly accessible to the general public through the rise of mobile phones and editing apps. In fact, video has become one of the top drivers of interaction and engagement on social media. According to, video posts reach 135% more people than photo posts. A recent study by Cisco predicts that by 2019, 80% of all consumer internet content will be consumed by streaming videos.

Today's technologies make it easier than ever to tell stories, teach concepts and demonstrate learning through video. Challenge your students to create video through an assigned project, or use video yourself to communicate to your students. Here are some basic things to keep in mind.

Consider what kinds of video to use or assign.

Today, digital video is used in many ways, for many purposes. Here are some common styles you will see online:

  • News-style videos often include interviews with individuals.
  • Film-style videos tell stories, and often start with a script.
  • Social media videos often present facts or opinion through animations and voice-over. Consider Anna Halls' Every Child is a Writer project.
  • Instructional videos often feature a single person on screen, talking through and sometimes demonstrating a process. These can range from online lectures to viral YouTube make-up tutorials.

And of course, there are many other styles to consider and explore. Ask yourself: what style of video makes the most sense for your course, for the message you want to convey and for your subject-area or discipline? What style do you and your students find persuasive or powerful? Once you've settled on a style, spend time watching existing videos in that style, and share examples with your students so they have an idea of what their project could look like.

Provide your students with guidelines to support success.

In creating an assignment, be sure to consider the following:

  • What's the message? Students will need to identify their overall story or message, and communicate a tone in their final product. Make it clear when assigning the video whether you're asking students to objectively report on findings, or whether the goal is to persuade or even advocate a point of view.
  • What is the ideal length? It's often helpful to set a minimum and/or maximum length for students. Consider what's typical for the style of video you've chosen, as well as how much time it might take to communicate the message you've assigned. Remember that, depending on how you'll be assessing the videos, you can end up with hours of screening time if you set the maximum length too high.
  • How will the videos be shared and assessed? Will you be the only one viewing the videos, or will they be reviewed by the entire class? Should they be publically shared across the department or campus? For example, if you plan to screen the videos in class, you'll need to dedicate time for viewing. You could instead ask students to upload their videos to YouTube or Vimeo, and then post a curated list of links in your LMS or on your class webpage.
  • Which technologies will you recommend? Adobe offers a number of video creation tools that vary from simple to complex. Adobe Premiere Clip allows for quick and easy editing of mobile video footage, while Adobe Premiere Pro CC allows interested students to do more with their footage but requires more time to learn. Adobe Spark Video is a great option for creating videos and requires almost no technical training. Match your recommended tools with the style of video you're assigning, your students' technical experience and the amount of time you have to devote to this project. We provide links to tutorials you can share with students at the end of this article.

Support students through the three phases of video production.

Creating video is technically straight-forward, but students can benefit from an understanding of the overall process before they begin. The production process follows these broad phases:

  • Pre-production: In this phase, you brainstorm what's needed for your video. Begin with the story or arc of your video. What are you trying to communicate? What scenes or footage do you need to tell that story? Create an outline, a storyboard or a script during this phase.
  • Production Here's where the raw video footage is captured or created. This can be done using mobile devices or digital video cameras. If you're using images (photographs or slides) instead of video, you would prepare these during the production phase. This is also when you would record original audio (for voice overs or sound effects) and create or license a soundtrack.
  • Post-production In the final phase of production, you bring together all your footage and audio, and edit your video.

Your students may need guidance during all three phases of the production process. Plan ahead for what you can do to help, identify resources for students online and on your campus, ask students to share great resources they find and remember that students will learn from their mistakes as well as their successes.

Ready to get started?

Explore these additional resources to help you implement the best practices shared in this article:

Instructional Resources

Technical Tutorials

Real-World Example

Professional Development Workshops & Courses

Further Reading