Lay Summary Vlog

Assessment overview

A lay summary video blog (vlog) is a 5 minute individual video presentation providing an overview of students’ research project presented to a non-scientific audience. It is developed alongside a journal article (find case study here) that summarizes research findings to a scientific audience. Both assessments are equivalents/ alternatives to a more traditional combination of a dissertation and a viva. 

Programme overview 

Global Masters of Public Health is a fully online degree with 105 students (numbers as of 2021/22) coming from across different parts of the world. Students on the programme are part time mature students who are often working and are spread across many different locations and time zones, hence the programme is spread over 2-3 years.  

Design decisions

Rationale for the assessment type

When Global Masters of Public Health (GMPH) was developed, the idea was that it would be equivalent to the on campus programme just spread over time. The on campus Masters has a viva where students have to present for 15 minutes, which is then followed up by questions lasting approximately 5 minutes. This was mirrored in the online programme through the vlog. The vlog is them presenting their research to a lay audience. This is a very important skill, particularly for public health professionals as part of a public health professionals duties is engaging and educating, discussing public health issues with the public who are often not part of the public health community, who don't have the same knowledge.  

Fit with other assessment methods on the module and the programme

The assessment is part of Research Portfolio 4 module. There are four modules that are interlinked, i.e. research portfolios 1, 2, 3 and 4. The vlog is the culmination of research portfolio 4 and throughout those four modules the students design and develop their own research project. In Portfolio 4 they undertake their research and then they write it up as a journal article. The vlog is the final assessment undertaken for the module and is strongly linked to the Journal Article.  

Practicalities

Preparing students for assessment

All of the assessments for the module are discussed in detail at the start of the module. The students are made aware of what the assessment is, what the timeline is and how they will be assessed (i.e. what the criteria are). This information is also available in the handbook. In addition to that there are live drop in sessions where assessment can be clarified further and due to the nature of the cohort students are encouraged to email or use the forum for any further clarification and support if the live sessions are schedule at a time when attendance is made difficult due to prior commitments or time zones. 

The students are given four questions to cover in their video (imagine they were being interviewed): 

  • “why did you conduct this study?” 
  • “what was your methodology?”,  
  • “what did you find?” etc,  
  • “what did you conclude?” 

Alongside additional guidance as to requirements of the output - they can only just speak into a camera, they can't use graphics, or anything that distracts from the spoken message aimed at lay audience. The focus of assessment is checking if students can take their journal article, condense it into 5 minutes, and understand that the way you would explain your research to someone who's in the same area is different to how you would explain it to someone who is not from the same area.  

Marking

The marking criteria are as follows: 

  • Lay Audience (including adapting content, how understandable to the content is and use of jargon or complex language) 
  • Content (including structure, coherence, relevance, topics covered) 
  • Style (including delivery, language, tone, grammar, rapport with audience) 
  • Presentation Structure 

There are two blind independent markers marking the assignments separately. They're all academics within the school of Public Health. Those markers are identified from the department based on their interests and research methodologies they apply. The module lead allocates one person as the first marker, one person as the second marker, and then only the first marker comments are seen by the students. But the first marker is supposed to discuss the work [with the second marker] and potentially combine their comments into one. Hence ultimately just one set of comments is provided to the students. 

Feedback

The purpose of the feedback is commenting on how well they students have done with the task, and think when they next need to discuss something with the public and how they could improve choosing appropriate language. 

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