Case study: Student-created multimedia field notes

Tools used



Dr Kirk Sides  (email:


“City Futures: Migration, citizenship and planetary change” is a Bristol Futures optional unit.  Students explore urban surroundings in Bristol in engaged field study throughout the unit, venturing out to various sites at which podcast lectures have been filmed and accessing these learning materials in situ. Using phones students also collect their own multimedia “field notes” which form the basis for weekly workshop discussions as well as informing the group video presentations which are part of the assessment.

What was done

In the weekly course readings and videos students were presented with topics and themes to reflect on and explore in the city. They were asked individually to take photos or short videos from around the city which were then used as stimuli for discussion in the face-to-face workshops, where the material students themselves had gathered helped exploration of the course themes. Capture and analysis of visual material in this way was also designed to help students with their main assignment for the unit which was a group video. To capture these multimedia “field notes” students used Padlet, a simple collaborative application for gathering and sharing text, images, video or files. Kirk created a Padlet “Board” for different themes in the course, and these were embedded in the relevant sections of the Blackboard course.

Screenshot of Padlet board containing images of Bristol harbourside

What went well

Future plans for improvement