|Photo: Ron Martinez|
|Photo: Faculty Focus|
With a new baby at home, I was more than a little concerned about finding the time to do it all. Fully aware of the research (e.g. Ferris, 1997; Hyland & Hyland, 2006) that favors more detailed feedback on student writing (seems “awkward: reword” just doesn’t cut it), I could not in good conscience consider reducing the quality or quantity of the feedback I usually give. Moreover, my feedback would typically include holding “writing conferences” (one-on-one consultations) with students—usually during office hours. But this was a big class, and there are just so many hours in a day.
I knew something had to give.
Having already tested the limits of the physical word, I turned to the virtual one. I had learned anecdotally of professors who sent audio podcasts of their feedback along with their written feedback, which seemed like a nifty idea. But, I thought, what if students could actually watch and hear me in a video as I go over their papers? If possible (which it is), that would approximate the kind of feedback experience I aimed to offer students without constraining it to a particular time or location.
Screencasting (recording and narrating actions performed by the instructor on a computer screen) did that and much more for me and my students. Below I describe the process and the resulting benefits.
Which software did I use?
After looking around a bit, I settled on using Screencast-O-Matic installed on my PC computer, but I know that Quicktime and other packages can work just as well.
What was the feedback process?
Students would submit their completed take-home writing assignments electronically. Especially for shorter assignments (e.g. fewer than three pages), I would only briefly skim over the text, and then launch Screencast-O-Matic to record my feedback in real time. In other words, students would see all highlighting, corrections, or suggested changes happen as I was making them on their Word documents. In effect, students would hear me “dialoguing” with them as I narrated what I was doing, why I was doing it, and what I was thinking throughout the feedback process. I would then return the marked-up document to students via email, along with a link to the (private) YouTube upload. To understand the written feedback, students would need to watch the video. For demonstration purposes, I created this short screencast of me providing feedback on a fictitious paper: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSZhNWCwSjA])
Source: Faculty Focus