Framing the Video Essay as Argument

Document Type


Publication Title

The Cinema Journal Teaching Dossier





Publication Date

Spring 2013


When first incorporating video essays into my classes, I struggled to conceptualize what role the video essay would play in my teaching. How do I justify assigning a video essay to students and colleagues? How do I teach or coach video essays for my students? How can I teach the video essay in a way that is just as rigorous as a written essay? And how do these questions fit together? Are my answers consistent? Do they contradict each other? In pursuit of answers to these questions, I have borrowed concepts from Internet studies, communication, rhetoric, and composition, which have helped create a framework for teaching video essays. While the other essays in this collection offer specific recommendations about how to teach students production skills or how to grade video essays, here I aim to offer an overarching framework that brings each piece together—whether the assignment is a vlog in an introductory media class or a video game walk-through in a new media class. I begin by detailing the “video essay as argument” framework, then describe one of my video essay assignments utilizing this frame, and lastly identify the advantages this framework offers.

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