Student Selfie Videos in University Language Learning

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In this video Antonio Martínez-Arboleda discusses his assessed video task for Year 1 students learning Spanish as part of their BA which he piloted in 2015/2016 at the University of Leeds with post A-Level students (B2.1 CEFR).

This presentation focuses on some of the educational values informing the design of the task, on the integration of the task in the programme and on the support provided to students. At the end, the viewers are invited to comment on the task, particularly on the proposed assessment criteria.

The task description for students and the assessment criteria can be found below in Annex 1 and Annex 2 respectively.

Annex 1: Selfie video task in Spanish

You have to do produce your own selfie video in Spanish. The minimum length is 2 minutes and 30 seconds and the maximum is 3 minutes.

In your video you are supposed to reflect in a conversational tone upon the expectations and challenges of university life for you, as a Year 1 student in a British University.

You are advised to decide in advance who your potential audience might be. For instance, young people from any Spanish-speaking country of your choice or a global audience that includes also students of Spanish or speakers of Spanish as a second language. This will help you to define the contents of your video and make it meaningful and interesting to your target audience.

You should have a plan, either in the form of a script or not, but this is only for your own benefit and you cannot submit it alongside the video.

Remember that Youtubers do not read out sheets with essays or read out of prompters, they talk to the viewer. Therefore make sure your contents are fresh and linguistically accessible for the viewer. Long sentences can make your audience switch off. Manage your style and the flow of information well.

Annex 2: Assessment of video contributions in Spanish: Selfie video Youtuber style

Maximum mark: 90 – Minimum mark: 20

1. Naturality
You talked to the camera and your audience, rather than read:
Yes: 25
Mostly (except for quotes or difficult information like names): 23
To a great extent (more than 70%): 20
Maximum total points: 25

2. Style
The style of your video contribution (organisation of the information, length and structure of the sentences and verbal signposting, including pauses and intonation) was excellent.
a. Organisation of contents (0-3)
b. Length, structure and types of sentences (0-5)
(Maximum marks for the use of a variety of structures and strategies that are suitable for audio-visual communication and engage with the audience).
c. Prosodic signposting, rhythm  and intonation  (0-7)
Maximum total points: 15

3. Content
The contents were very interesting and suitable for the intended audience (0-10)
Maximum total points: 10

4. Audio-visual quality
Visually, the video was, technically and artistically, of high quality and the sound had no issues. (0-5)
Maximum total points: 5

5. Verbal quality
A mark of 0 is given for an inadequate performance, i.e. one that does not achieve the minimum level of competence expected in the module at the time of the assessment. Maximum points for exceptional level of oral linguistic competence.
a. The language used was precise semantically (0-3)
b. The language used was grammatically accurate: (0-3)
c. Your tone and register was appropriate for the task and the audience (0-3)
d. The pronunciation was very clear (0-6)
Maximum total points: 15


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Antonio has worked at the University of Leeds since 1998, when he started to teach Spanish Language whilst studying for his MA in Business Law. He continued his career in education combining Language with Spanish Politics. Antonio became a Fellow of the Higher Edcuation Academy in 2001 and since then has been involved in a number of initiatives and projects on e-learning and OER (Open Educational Resources).

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