The Digital Manifesto: Engaging Student Writers with Digital Video Assignments

Paul Baepler, Thomas Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This article reports on two studies that examine the effects of introducing a video assignment in two intermediate-level writing courses. By examining how students compose written and video elements in tandem for a portfolio assignment, this essay underscores the need to engage students across modalities. The authors used low threshold (easy-to-learn) technologies to help students extend their capabilities to express ideas and to engage in "transmedia navigation." To mirror the writing process that relies on peer review of documents, the instructor used a freely available video annotation system that allows students to compose situated feedback on videos, thereby closing the loop on peer review of video documents. Both studies used a pre and post survey to measure student perceptions of engagement, confidence, and interest. The analysis also relied on student reflections to gain insight into the production process. The findings reported in the studies include several statistically significant gains in confidence on a range of abilities using similar assignments. We close with recommendations for instructors who want to incorporate a similar assignment in their writing courses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-136
Number of pages15
JournalComputers and Composition
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Inc.


  • Annotation
  • Composition
  • Multimodal
  • Peer review
  • Student assignments
  • Transmedia navigation
  • Video
  • Writing


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