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Monday, January 11, 2016

Flipping Feedback: Screencasting Feedback on Student Essays by Ron Martinez, PhD.

Photo: Ron Martinez
"Last semester I was faced with a larger-than-usual senior composition class for English majors—which of course also meant a larger-than-usual feedback load." notes Ron Martinez, who has taught language and language learning at a number of universities, including the University of Oxford and San Francisco State University. Ron is currently an assistant professor of English at the Federal University of Paraná in Curitiba, Brazil.

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: [])

Source: Faculty Focus

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