The presentation started by showing a short film recorded by a group of students to illustrate the project output using the case of Chase Farm Hospital closure. Pat Cartney then explained the rationale behind their approach. The idea behind the making of the documentary was to stress out the importance of active participation, group work, effective communication and practical insight into community related issues, including strengths, challenges and processes in order to achieve deep learning.
Video used during the session:
The task given to students was to focus on a single issue within their own community and explore it by talking to people, researching and recording evidence with short videos. The group work was perceived beneficial to develop skills required by social workers and to enable students to see a bigger picture about the concept of community as well as have a practical experience of community- related work. This would then help students to apply critical theory around the concept of policy learned in class to understand this complex process. Students were asked to record their experiences using video as part of their formative assessment, which were supported by assessed portfolios and reflection.
The project required considerable technological support in terms of advising on available software, finding resources for video filming and train colleagues. Therefore, Angus Macdonald from CAPE was asked to collaborate in the project to provide necessary technological expertise. As a result of this collaboration members of staff were able to make and edit films on their own as well as advise their students.
The audience raised some interesting questions about the level of participation of students considering the fact that it wasn't assessed. The project leaders explained that indeed some people were reluctant as they thought that social studies students should not be assessed on their film making skills.
The majority of students actively participated as they could see the various benefits arising from the process and actually enjoyed it. However, the project team is considering using it as part of summative assessment in the future as they see it as integral part of learning about social work and acquiring relevant skills.
Report by Luiza Dantas, Academic Developer, Centre for Academic Practice Enhancement