Using a Creative Award Presentation to Review Semester Content and Leave a Lasting Impact

In this example, we share how putting together a fun, creative recording of key course content can leave a lasting impression on students' learning.

Teaching and Learning Goal

The goals with using this strategy are to:

  • Solidify student learning through a creative, engaging wrap up;
  • Acknowledge the insights and work students did in their simulated family therapy sessions;
  • Celebrate the learning that took place during engagement with the curriculum, activities, and fellow classmates;
  • Build a sense of community around the educational process;
  • Show the importance of the professor-student relationship to validate the work students have completed.

Activity and Results

Because students most often remember the first and last day of a class, providing a creative review allows for them to recall vital information through watching clips of their work. This activity honors their hard work and engagement with the material, while acknowledging the importance of students’ growth. This activity was developed from a student in the course who suggested that they receive “Emmy” awards for their acting in the family therapy role plays throughout the course. The “Fammies” was born as a way to celebrate students’ growth and acknowledge their work while reviewing the concepts they had learned. Note that you can name your ceremony awards anything you like; “Fammies” was the name used because we were studying family therapy.

Because the online classes are recorded, there was ample material to pull clips of each group’s simulated role-plays and categories of awards were applied to each group. This project did take a little time, but using Animoto Video Maker (free for educators, Animoto) aided in easily putting together a fun video that celebrated the class with clips from their role-plays.

Response to the video was overwhelmingly positive! The class seemed to enjoy seeing their work in clips on video and remembering the lessons learned through the assignment process. The reflection video also helped them feel heard by a professor who valued their work, input, and suggestions, while reviewing the concepts, theories, and interventions they had learned. This celebration of students also empowers them to see themselves as contributors to the class and the curriculum rather than just consumers of information. Collaborative effort with the professor and other class colleagues enhances the class experience culminating in a fun way to impact students and their education for the long-term.

Technical Details and Steps

Step 1: Ensure all class material is recorded.

Because you want to have enough material to work with to celebrate and solidify learning for students, ensuring that your classes and the group project sessions are recorded is important. Also ensure that you have access to all the recordings. If you plan to add this into your class, it may help to work through the semester to pull clips rather than waiting til the end of the semester to review each class. See record and play back Adobe Connect meetings tutorial webpage for more information (Adobe, 2022).

Step 2: Create a name and categories for awards - ensure all groups and individuals are acknowledged.

Choose a name for your celebration that reflects the course. In order to celebrate the contributions of each student ensure that each person or each group wins a category. Match the categories to the video clips to show the theories or interventions. For the “Fammies,” I listed the different theories we explored and who was in each role-play and then thought of award categories that matched. See Image 1 for an example where I mapped out the name and categories, along with making sure the clips highlighted each student:

Step 3: Using Animoto, splice out key parts of the recordings you’d like to use and edit into a cohesive video, adding your own effects and text.

Plan to set aside a little time to finalize your celebration video. Using short video clips from your course, edit them in Animoto with your own additions of award categories, music, and special effects. Note that Animoto is easy to use and has you drag and drop video clips and images into the program, along with providing templates. Here is a short 3-minute video that shows you how to create a video in Animoto: The Complete Guide To Making A Video With Animoto (Animoto, 2022).

You can also consider adding some photos of the major concepts you covered (e.g., family therapy theorists) to help students remember the key concepts or interventions before watching the class recorded video clips. Make sure the music is meaningful and fun for the video you have created! Pay attention to cultural competency when making your creative choices. See Image 2 for an example of working on the video slideshow in Animoto.

Step 4: Show the video during class

During your final class session, introduce the video (Image 3) and show it to the class (Image 4). Lastly, after the video has been viewed, ask for feedback on how the students enjoyed the recap of the class and what they liked most about seeing themselves and their classmates in a video montage.

Image 1: Building up the “Fammy” awards: Categories, winning role-play, and times in recording. This image was created by the author for the course and this chapter.

Image 1 Alt-Text: This is an image of the categories, where winning role-play names would go, and time stamps to help put together the Animoto video. The title of the Award Program (“The Fammy Awards! Summer 2020 - Fammies”) is across the top. Below that are the award categories, and each category includes space for the names of the students and the timestamps. In this list, the first category says, “The McGoldrick & Bowenian Great ‘Shapes’ Award: For excellent use of Genograms & Triangles!” Below that, it says “Week 4: Intergenerational Family Systems Theory Role-Pay. [List student names here] 4:13-5:14–genogram 8:29-9:04–triangle.” The second category says, “Best Exploration of Culture in a Drama.” Below that, it says “Week 5: Multicultural Family Therapy Techniques Role-Play. [List student names here] 6:54-8:36.” The third and last category says “Salvador Minuchin Mapping Award for Best Dramatic Performance.” Below that, it says “Week 6: Structural Family Therapy Role-Pay. [List student names here] 5:22-6:50 8:34-8:54 mapping.”

Image 2: Animoto image of creating the slide show video. This image was created by the author for the course and this chapter.

Image 2 Alt-Text: This is an image from the Animoto program that shows the process of putting together the video for the “Fammies.” The title of the project, “Fammies Summer 2020 Awards,” is in the top header, and the menu for formatting, adding pictures, texts, and logos is along the left side. The total video length is 7 minutes and 46 seconds, along with the song Bop Step by Bob Bradley and Roger Roger. In the body of the program, are slides with text for the slide show video. The first slide says the title of the presentation: “The Social Work Practice Fammies! Summer.” The second slide is a photo stock image of emmy awards lined up. The third slide says, “With review of some” followed by the names “Aponte, Minuchin, and Satir.” The fourth slide says, “Best Triangular Drama goes to…”

What this looked like in Adobe Connect

Image 3: Animoto video with opening image words for the start of the Fammies Video. Adobe product screen image reprinted with permission from Adobe. This video image was created by the author for the course and this chapter.

Image 3 Alt-Text: This is an image of an Adobe Connect classroom. In the left hand corner, the instructor is visible in the video pod. In the middle of the screen is the front page of the award presentation, which says “The Social Work Practice with Families: Fammies! Summer 2020!!” Along the right side of the screen is a running chatbox that stretches from top to bottom for conversation and student interaction.

Image 4: Animoto video with closing image words to thank the students for their hard work and dedication, and a word collage image of words students brainstormed for what family means to them. Adobe product screen image reprinted with permission from Adobe. This image was created by the author for the course and this chapter.

Image 4 Alt-Text: As in Image 3, in the left hand corner, the instructor is visible, and the chatbox continues to be an option throughout the presentation on the right side of the layout. In the center of the screen, the closing slide says “Thanks for a great semester of family therapy!!!” and has a word collage brainstormed by the students on what family means to each of them. The word collage is blue and in the shape of a circle. Multiple words are combined in the image with larger words like perseverance, support, chosen, diverse, love, and value more visible than smaller words like protection, hardworking, complicated, ecosystem, traditional, evolution, open minded, blood, nurturance, explosive, and blended. Smaller words fill in the rest of the space including dynamic, companion, and different, among others. These words are how the students described their understanding of family forming an intricate, beautiful collage of expressions and feelings.


Thanks to the students throughout the years in the Social Work Practice with Families courses at the Columbia University School of Social Work that have inspired creativity in teaching and learning.


Animoto. (n.d.).

Animoto. (2022). The complete guide to making a video with Animoto. Animoto.

Adobe. (2022). Record and play back Adobe Connect meetings. Adobe.

Johanna Creswell Báez

University of Colorado

Dr. Báez is an Assistant Professor in social work at University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. She completed her Masters of Science in Social Work at the Columbia University in 2006 and then worked at several non-profits as a director of clinical and research programming and as a private practice clinician before completing her PhD in clinical social work at Smith College in 2016. She was then a Manager of Course Development and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University School of Social Work from fall of 2018 through summer of 2021. Dr. Báez’s research focuses on issues related to trauma, children and families, and immigration. She has a particular interest in mental health support for immigrant youth and their families, school-based mental health services, culturally responsive interventions, and qualitative research methods. Dr. Báez is a passionate social work educator who has taught social work practice classes along with coursework on social welfare policies, families and children, immigrants, trauma, financial management, and research methods. She recently published a book on how to do qualitative research with SAGE Publications, co-authored with John W. Creswell, 30 Essential Skills for the Qualitative Researcher (2nd ed.), and is an Associate Editor for the journal, Qualitative Health Research. She has published articles in journals such as Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, Children and Schools, Families in Society, Journal of Social Work Education, Journal of Teaching in Social Work, International Journal of School Social Work, Social Work in Mental Health, and Journal of Public Health. She recently completed a three-year fellowship as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar Fellow (2018-2021) bridging practice and research to support the mental health needs of unaccompanied immigrant minors. You can see more of her work in support of unaccompanied immigrant minors here:
M. Karen Lichlyter-Klein

University of Colorado Colorado Springs

M. Karen Lichlyter-Klein is an MSW student at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. She holds a Bachelor's Degree from Colorado Christian University and a Master's of Divinity from North Park Theological Seminary. Her first career was as a pastor/theologian, public speaker, and religious writer, but then moved into the nonprofit sector working as a consultant in leadership development, organizational management, and conflict mediation, while also serving as the Chief Operating Officer of a county-wide nonprofit action agency. Her areas of research and interests include spiritual identity and its impacts on emotional health, health equity, burnout and resiliency, and organizational/systemic interventions for staff retention and health.

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