ACES Case Study: Screencasting

Screencasting can be used to give video and audio feedback on assignments. The university has a License for  Screencast-o-Matic, a web based screencast software tool that enables users to record screencasts directly from the browser.

This style of feedback has become very popular within areas of the university and we spoke to Jamie Caine from Computing about how he uses it in his teaching.

 Project Background

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Student feedback is an essential part of student experience and the assessment journey. Acknowledging work previously undertaken that explores the benefits afforded by audio feedback (Nortcliffe & Middleton 2011); a project led by Jamie Caine from Computing with input from Dr Andrew Hirst, Peter Lake and Lee Coddington led to an  LTA workshop in September 2015 based on utilising screencast software for student feedback. Aligning with the Assessment Journey Programme, this collaborative research project involved 70 first year undergraduate students, all of which received screencast feedback for their individual essays. Jamie and Andrew used contrasting styles in their delivery of screencasts to each student. This was drawn upon within the project evaluation and through the useful guidance outlined during the workshop for academics intending to explore this feedback methodology. In addition to this, analysis of the results from a small survey sent to the participating students was discussed during the workshop highlighting the strong preference towards this feedback methodology.

 

How do you feel the quality of your feedback was affected?

JC: “I felt that the richness of the feedback was better than what I can produce in a written format, because i’m able to elaborate and express more verbally than by writing. Certain things you can say that you wouldn’t necessarily write down.”

JC: “With Screencast-o-Matic (Pro) you can pause whilst you’re making the video so I didn’t really have to rehearse as such. The introduction was a bit of a script, but I was using that throughout every single video, but the rest of the video was quite natural and fluid. You can pause the recording, read a bit of the report, unpause and comment on it, pause and read another section. It’s as if i’m just fluently giving the feedback, so it’s quite effective in that way.”

What clear benefits were there for the students?

JC: “We’re a very Youtube culture… I think students are embedded in that culture already, so I think it kind of sits with where we are now in terms of expectations.”

JC: “We submitted some surveys to be completed by the students… The majority actually preferred this method of feedback.”

Feedback from a student – “Really good! I think this is a great way, it saves time because you don’t have to collect it and it means you can show students exactly what you mean! Would definitely say its a successful way of providing feedback!”

JC

What drawbacks can you see with this method?

JC: “One drawback is that you are not able to use this type of feedback in all types of assessment.

JC: “It’s not an inclusive method of giving feedback but it certainly is beneficial to those who can access it, and within it’s right context it can be used pretty effectively as well.”

 

Any comments on accessibility of the feedback?

JC: “I did actually record what device people used to access the video as well… some of them did look at it on their phones, which is great, and far better than looking at a word document on your phone which is not exactly user friendly!”

 

Does screencast feedback take more time to do?

JC: “It took a bit to prepare and plan out but once I got into the flow of it, I found myself maybe using a bit less time than what I would normally do to write feedback. So from a time perspective once you get going it is pretty good.”

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  • Average time to produce – 16:48
  • Range of video length – 05:06 – 09.33
  • Average video length – 07:00
  • Easier to talk than type

 

Have you expanded your use of screencasting outside of feedback?

JC: “The week I was ill I had two lectures I had to deliver that week. Because I didn’t want the students to miss out I ended up recording screencast videos as a replacement for both lectures. That was well received. Rather than putting just the slides up there with no explanation they had an explanation of what they meant.”

What recommendations do you have for other staff thinking of trying screencasting for feedback?

JC: “The initial stumbling block is the preparation you might do to get it set up. Lecturers have got no time. But after the initial preparation it cut down the time taken to give feedback.”

JC: “With screencast-o-matic you can pause while making the video. I didnt really have to rehearse as such… I would read it, then unpause and comment, then read another section but pausing while I’m reading so its as if i’m just fluently giving the feedback”

Screencast tips

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  • Plan a clear naming convention for each of your files
  • Multitask within the tool itself by recording new videos whilst waiting for encoding to complete
  • Prepare your intro first and export as a SOM file to use throughout your feedback videos.
  • Add mark on the assessment criteria after discussing each grade matrix
  • Book a room to record the feedback in

 

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