Configuring Video Essays

There are a few configuration steps required to begin capturing video essays through Slate. This section will take you through each of the required steps.

Create a Video Essay Material

  1. Select Database on the top navigation bar and select Materials.
  2. Select Insert.
  3. Enter the following Material configurations:
    • Status - Set the status to Active.
    • Key - Type video as the key.
    • Name - Provide a descriptive name, such as Video Essay
    • Scope - Set the scope to Person/Application, since the material will be associated with application records.
    • Access - Set the access setting to Admin only, since this material type should never be used for the direct upload of documents from the status page.
  4. Select Save.

Create Video Essay Prompts

Video essays will display random questions from the question bank to applicants, allowing a more authentic response. The question asked of the applicant is stored with the recording, so users will know which question was asked while watching the video. Prompts with the key video_prompt are used to generate the video essay question bank.

  1. Select Database on the top navigation bar and select Prompts.
  2. Select Insert.
  3. Enter the following Prompt configurations:
    • Status - Only Active prompts will be included in the question bank.
    • Key - The key must be set to video_prompt.
    • Value - Enter the question exactly as it should be displayed to the applicant.
  4. Select Save.

Repeat steps 1-4 for each question that should be included in the question bank.

Displaying Additional Information

The question bank can also be configured to display something other than the exact prompt value. For example, the prompt can be configured to display the question along with additional instructions, or even an embedded YouTube video. This can be configured within the XML box of the prompt using a key-value-pair with the key html. For example: 

Note: The prompt value will not be displayed to applicants, but this value is still what users will see within the Reader while evaluating the video essay, so the value should resemble the question or essay prompt that the applicants will see.


If you are embedding a YouTube video, be sure to adjust the width of the iframe so that it does not overlap with the applicant's webcam display and controls. The height should also be adjusted to maintain the proper aspect ratio.

Create a Video Essay Page

The video essay page is a standard page that can be added via the Application Editor. 

  1. Select Database on the top navigation bar and select Application Editor.
  2. Select an application configuration to modify (/apply/)

    Note: If no applications appear for modification, add the Slate-Hosted Application file from the Slate Template Library.

  3. Select Edit Menu.
  4. Select Add Link.
  5. Enter the following configurations:
    • Type - Select Video Capture.
    • Label - Enter the name for the application page menu item.
    • Page Keys - Select the page key that was created in the previous step to limit the display of the page to a specific applicant population.
    • Round Keys (optional) - Select a round key to limit the display of the page based on the application round.
    • Period Keys (optional) - Select a period key to limit the display of the page based on the application period.
  6. Select Save.
  7. Drag the Video Essay page to reorder its position in the menu.
  8. Select Save.
  9. Select General Settings and enter the desired configurations:
    • Custom Title - This setting will update the title of the page, which is displayed on the browser tab and as the heading on the page. If this is left blank, the title will match the menu link label configured in step 5.
    • Instructions - Use the HTML editor to add custom instructions to the page. Typically, this will include information about the video essay process, such as explaining that a random question will be asked and reminding applicants to review the completed video essay to ensure that the upload succeeded. These instructions are visible only if the applicant has not yet completed the video essay.
    • Attempts Limit - Applicants can be given the opportunity to receive a new random question and start over. The attempts limit dictates the number of times an applicant can record the video essay. By default, an applicant is given one attempt, which does not permit starting over. Users who are logged in administratively can delete a recording to provide a specific applicant with additional attempts.
    • Preparation Time - The preparation time is the amount of time (in seconds) that an applicant should have to read (or play) the question and prepare an answer before recording automatically begins. The applicant is able to start the recording earlier by clicking the Start Recording button. If no value is entered for this setting, the default preparation time is 90 seconds. 
    • Recording Time - The recording time is the amount of time (in seconds) that an applicant has to complete the recording. If the applicant does not click the Stop Recording button prior to the specified amount of time has elapsed, the recording will be automatically stopped and uploaded. If no value is entered for this setting, the default recording time is 90 seconds.
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