Faculty: Jie Li (VES)

Fellow: Stephanie Lam

Professor Jie Li, in collaboration with Teaching Fellow Stephanie Lam, modified a series of assignments for his course in order to include the “video essay” as a possible medium in which students could submit their weekly responses to the course material. In the updated syllabus, each weekly prompt included a film-specific assignment, and as part of the course renovation Professor Li and Stephanie provided students with extensive resources related to film production—practical “how-to” guides that provided technical guidance on iMovie and Final Cut, tip sheets, examples of model assignments, contextualizing readings, etc.—to ensure that even those with no experience in film had the tools necessary to select the “video essay” option should they choose.

In conjunction with these changes to the syllabus, Professor Li organized a workshop to train course Teaching Fellows in how to evaluate and provide feedback on film-based assignments. The combination of these tools aided in the course’s successful scaling up from a mid-size lecture of 45 students to a large open-enrollment course offered as part of the General Education program. Perhaps most importantly, however, the addition of the video essay created a middle ground between the critical and the creative in which the students could express their analytical ideas by means of the medium relevant to the class: film.


Media, tools, and literacies: visual essay, video

Deliverables & outcomes: weekly short videos in liue of response papers, special training for TFs