Monday, 4 November 2013

Screen-casting for feedback

What is screen capture or screen-casting?

Screen-casting is using software to record whatever you do on your computer screen, with your voice commentary, saved as a video file. You can use it to create feedback, talking to the student while showing on the screen their work in MSWord or in Turnitin’s Grademark. You can talk to the student(s) while pointing to parts of their work. You then send them the video file. The student work could have your comments or corrections on it and you could return that as well. A screen-cast could be used for general, cohort­-level feedback or for individuals. Screen-casting is increasingly used for educational purposes like feedback, providing short introductions to lectures, or demonstrating how to solve arithmetic problems.

Why use a screen-cast for feedback?
The advantages for the student

  • Providing richer, more detailed feedback than text. A lot more can be conveyed in 5 minutes of speech   than feedback written in the same time.
  • The feedback video file is portable, as it can be downloaded by the student and reused.
  • Evidence suggests that students feel feedback produced in this way is more personal and understandable. Voice intonation adds information and difficult concepts can be conveyed more easily.
  • Feedback produced in this way can produce more directed feedback; it can be easier to explain specific errors and improvements.

The main advantages for staff can include

  • Members of staff who have used screen-casting for feedback noted that it allows them to provide richer, more detailed feedback.
  • It is often easier and quicker to explain complex concepts verbally than in text.
  • It can take no more time to produce more detailed feedback to students.
  • Student will listen to it all, rather than skimming text.

You should deliver the files through the KLE, where you can control access and they are archived

How do I produce screen capture feedback?

You will need a microphone plugged into your desktop PC (laptops generally have one built-in.) Screen-cast software can be free (e.g. Jing, Screenr) or purchased. Suggestions can be found at

Tips for providing screen-cast feedback

  1. Make sure you are in quiet space
  2. Turn off your phone
  3. Prepare some notes or prompts for yourself before hand
  4. Make sure to save the file as the student number, to identify which file is for which student
  5. For better audio quality use a microphone
  6. If you want to provide textual comments as well or follow a standard proforma, embed the file into a word doc (resources
  7. Try to keep the recording to about 5-7mins (some free programs like Jing only allow 5 minutes)
  8. Don’t feel your recording has to be perfect – small verbal stumbles add a human element
  9. Use the Pause button to give yourself time to compose the next section
  10. Start the recording with a header of module, assignment, student name etc.
  11. Tell the students what you are doing and why.

Resources and further information