case studies

The use of filmmaking as a learning tool has been pioneered at the University of Sheffield over the past few years across a wide rage of disciplines. Apart from the discipline-related benefits, filmmaking promotes independent, inquiry based learning, and fosters skills such as collaborative working, planning, negotiation, communication and IT skills, as well as filmmaking per se. The changing student profile, where there is greater diversity and a wider range of learning styles also benefits from fresh approaches. An opportunity for students to engage creatively with their subject, and to put their abstract ideas into concrete form empowers students, building their confidence, and students respond enthusiastically to this teaching approach.

The case studies show different ways that filmmaking was integrated into the academic context. Click on the left-hand menu to see the case studies.

Genesis and Genre - Since film was a core part of the module, students spent a considerable part of their classroom time studying films and learning about filmmaking. They worked in groups to produce short dramatised sections of novels and plays by Galdós.

Understanding Law II - Students were asked to make a group-based presentation in an electronic format of their choice - video, podcast, screencast or a combination. Students had a two-hour workshop on shooting and editing, then worked independently.

Architecture - Post-graduate architecture students were offered the opportunity to use filmmaking as part of a large final project. They worked with a Norwegian filmmaker and had professional help in the form of 'master-classes' from Sheffield based filmmakers, then went on to make their own films.

Filming Shakespeare - Students were encouraged to creatively interpret a section of a Shakespeare play. Working in groups they storyboarded, directed and edited, with the support of a film crew.

Below are references to two papers presented to conferences which look in more detail at the learning and teaching outcomes as well as the sustainability implications of using video production in learning and teaching:

Allam C (2008) ‘Creative activity and its impact on student learning - issues of implementation'. Innovations in Education and Teaching International Vol. 45, No. 3, August 2008, 281-288

(Presented to The Creativity or Conformity Conference, 8-10 January 2007 University of Wales Institute Cardiff, Cardiff, UK)

Allam, C (2006) ‘Using filmmaking to teach students about Shakespeare, urban regeneration and other stuff!' Proceedings from 6th International DIVERSE Conference, 5-7 July 2006, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK pp163-170