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"How to" create a Video Essay: Assignment of the Future!


Film and video lecturers are subject matter experts, however many individuals still use traditional teaching methods. To deliver relevant and engaging teaching, lecturers can turn to an emerging form – the Video Essay. The Video Essay is multimodal and works in accord with media literacy practices. As a contemporary approach, the Video Essay is an effective tool in the teaching curriculum (McWhirter, 2015).

This abstract is a summary of our research project funded by a WAND (West Australian Network for Dissemination) teaching and learning grant. The project objective is the design of a Video Essay Resource package to support the introduction of the Video Essay form into teaching areas across creative industries and to encourage learning through multimodal engagement. The Video Essay Resource package is currently online at

Current Teaching Practice

At Edith Cowan University in Western Australia, the Video Essay has been trialled as an assessment alternative for film students. Students were given the option to compose a Video Essay or traditional text based essay for an assessment. Those students who took on the creative challenge of working with the Video Essay were enthusiastic at the opportunity to work with the medium and language of film. However, some students immediately fell into writing a traditional essay and recorded the content as a narration and applied corresponding images. On reflection, it demonstrated that this was not the most effective approach to introduce the Video Essay and students didn’t explore the potential of working multimodally.

From this trial, we realized that there was a need to investigate the pedagogical application of the Video Essay and introduce activities that targeted the elements of multimodality. A preliminary investigation of the literature established a definition of the Video Essay; examined knowledge acquisition and multiliteracy skills through multimodal composition, and identified issues inherent in the Video Essay. These issues included copyright matters, academic rigour and assessment rubrics. To create an effective pedagogical framework to the Video Essay the New London Group theories in multiliteracies, multimodality and knowledge processes was applied (Cope & Kalantzis, 2009). The result of this investigation is the Video Essay Resource package.

  • Cope, B., & Kalantzis, M. (2009). “Multiliteracies”: New literacies, new learning. Pedagogies: An international journal, 4(3), 164-195.
  • McWhirter, A. (2015). Film criticism, film scholarship and the video essay. Screen, 56(3), 369-377.

Funding agency

West Australian Network for Dissemination (WAND) – Small Grants Scheme

Project duration

March 2016 – July 2017


Ms Tania Visosevic
Mrs Amanda Myers

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