A New Way of Providing Feedback to Your Students

23 02 2009

“Screen capture software” allows you to record the screen of your computer as if you had a video camera pointed at it. Everything you do on the screen is recorded and can be played back as a video, and if you have a microphone connected to your computer your voice will also be recorded.

This piece of software has been mostly used for IT training purposes, as for example; teaching how to animate objects in PowerPoint (PPT). Trainers simply turn on their screen capture software, begin actually to create the animation in PPT and comment on what they are doing, adding notes and call outs. The video is then saved and trainees play it back, listen and watch how to animate objects and jump from the training video to actually creating an animation themselves.

Russell Stannard, principal lecturer and Course Team leader in Multimedia /ICT at the University of Westminster, realised that  “Screen capture software” could be used as an innovative way of providing feedback to students on their written work. This method is leading to a substantial interest in the academic world. THES and Guardian have already written articles about it. Many lecturers and teachers have started using this method.

This new method is really simple and basically works like this: Your students send you their written work as Word files (or other formats), you open their work on your computer, highlight mistakes or aspects you want to bring up, turn on screen capture software and start recording yourself correcting and marking your students’ work.  Once you finish recording, send the video to the students. The learners are able to listen and watch as you talk about their work. You can also tell your students to watch and re-do their assignments according to your feedback recorded on the video.

The key factors that drew Russell Stannard to this idea of  “live video feedback” were:

  • Offers a solution to the issues around face to face contact
  • Students normally don’t understand the feedback we give them and they are unllikely to do more than quickly look over it. Video feedback provides visual and oral information and helps the learners to overcome any misunderstandings
  • Gets students more involved with the writing process. A teacher can point out problems and suggest alternatives, and learners can use the video to write up a better essay
  • Combination of  the video and audio leads to a “deeper learning”

Click here to read more about the case study and watch some screencasts.

If you want to try this new method with your groups, you can get screen recorders by googling “Screen capture software”, or you can download free software, such as Camstudio or Jing.

Drop us an email if you need a hand.

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