As with all projects, most were good, some were fantastic, and a few were duds. Once the projects were all presented, I had my students complete a reflection were they gauged their own work, the work of their peers, and the requirements of the project as a whole. I found that overall, students were honest about the quality of their work, but still were able to identify the good parts of their projects and the projects of their peers. Additionally, most students enjoyed the project (at least that's what they told me) though many remarked that they wished it had been more structured. They wished there had been more rules, examples, or templates to follow rather than being given so much leeway. The students make an excellent point...unless I consider the alternatives.
You see, the thing is, it'd be incredibly easy for me to come up with more rules, requirements, and hoops to jump through to get the project done. I could easily write the project in such a way that I was getting basically the same thing, or one of only three possible options from every group. I could require a five minute video, ten questions, a brief discussion, and all elements posted to TED_ED. It would be much easier for the students, and much easier for me to grade. In fact, considering I'm a little obsessive-compulsive in cases like these, I'd probably feel much better using this strategy.
But...then again...maybe it's good the students are a little confused. The thing about following directions is that it's very easy to do. It doesn't require that much thought, and you're guaranteed to be "safe" even if the end result isn't wonderful. Forcing students to make the project....and THEN make the project, however, involves much confusion, risk...but also more learning. As I read the multiple requests for more rules, I couldn't help but agree with them...but also reject their ideas at the same time. The project has to be vague...otherwise you're just getting identical copies of the same gingerbread house.