At a Glance


  • Environmental science

Instructional Level

  • University


  • Geography

Tasks in Workflow

Social Plane(s)

  • Individual

Type of Tasks

  • Collecting & seeking information
  • Creating & designing
  • Taking a quiz & test

Technical Details

Useful Technologies

  • Video recording device
  • YouTube
  • Polling software

Class size

  • Small (20-49)


  • Multiple class periods (2-3 classes)

Instructional Purpose

  • Application & knowledge building
  • Assessment & knowledge refinement


The aim of this project is to get students thinking about facts and concepts related to rivers in the field (in real life!). The video of a river is part one of a two-part midterm exam.

Students are tasked to produce a short video or labelled pictures and write explaining different concepts about a river or stream of their choice.

With a friend, students go to a river or stream and, at a minimum, identify and explain: the river location (watershed and geographically), the thalweg, bankfull, provide, geomorphic units, human impacts, the zone (aggregation, degradation, etc.), alluvial vs non-alluvial, sediment size and provide an estimate of the river velocity.

  • Individually, students take video and/or picture footage.
  • Individually, students produce a video or pictures on a write up outlining their findings.
  • Students submit their video to YouTube, then submit the video link to the course website.
  • Students are given a written exam.
  • The final mark of their midterm is broken down as follows: 50% for the video and 50% for the written exam. This activity was performed with a class of 30 students.

Instructional Objectives

To apply course knowledge in the field and test the understanding of the first part of the course.

Workflow & Materials


Activity Workflow

View on CourseFlow

Contributor's Notes

Jamie Miller

Jamie Miller


The main benefit is that students get to put their knowledge into practice. Students get outside and really get to see and analyse the complexity of rivers.

  • Some students do not respect the time limit for the videos (2 min). The videos take a long time to mark.
  • This assignment can be not as accessible to some students compared to others, for example if the student is in a wheelchair, or does not have a mode of transportation to a river.
  • Safety is a large issue as well because they will be beside a body of water.
  • They should always go to the river with a friend.
  • Get approval from your department for this activity.
  • Be very clear for what you want in the video.
  • This could be turned into a group project.


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