Video analysis

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The goal of this assignment is to closely observe a recent education reform video documentary, and to share your analysis in a WordPress post that includes at least 300 words of analysis, visual evidence, source caption, and a source citation.

When viewing your assigned video, take notes on overall themes, and mark key scenes with hour-minute timestamps (e.g., 0:38). Watching and discussing films with others is strongly encouraged, but each essay must be written independently.

Your essay must include FIVE elements:

1) A key scene: Identify and describe an influential scene in the film, tell us why it matters, and explain how the filmmakers shot or edited the scene to convey their story to viewers.

2) Extended analysis: Elaborate on ONE or more of the following questions:

  • How might Kahlenberg and Potter respond to the video? Support your reasoning with at least one direct quote from their book.
  • How might Welner respond to the video? Support your reasoning with at least one direct quote from his essay.
  • What is filmmakers’ implicit or explicit theory of change? Specifically, how do they define the problem, the policy chain, and desired goals?
  • Where are the holes? Whose stories do not appear in this documentary?

3) Visual evidence: Show us the influential scene from the film by including either a static screenshot OR a time-specific Vimeo link in your WordPress essay. See my WordPress images tutorial for instructions about inserting images or video.

4) Source credit: Briefly credit the visual source in a caption (if you use a static image) or a short sentence (if you embed a video). A short credit can refer to a full source citation at the bottom of your post.

5) Source citations: Provide a full citation the film and other sources you refer to using any scholarly citation format (such as Chicago-style notes, or APA/MLA in-line citations with a bibliography). To note specific scenes from the film, use timestamps (e.g. 0:54) in place of page numbers.

Sample video citations:
If you use MLA inline citations with a bibliography, an excerpt might look like this:

. . . rates as the most pivotal scene (Guggenheim 0:54).

Bibliography (at the end of the essay):
Guggenheim, Davis. Waiting for “Superman.” 2010. Film.

If you use Chicago-style notes, try wrapping the citation using these WordPress shortcodes as shown below, which create web-friendly endnotes.

. . . rates as the most pivotal scene. 1

Remember to select the correct category for your post, as described in our syllabus.


  1.  Davis Guggenheim, Waiting for “Superman,” Video documentary, 2010, 0:54.