Screencasting Feedback for Students

For my first time teaching a college level course (4 week online seminar class for College of Education students), I wanted to make sure I was following all of the research I have read since my last time teaching.  One of the biggest things I have read was on the impact of effective feedback and how quality feedback can be one of the most impactful things we do for students.  

While this was an online course, I am limited to only digital feedback but there is a lot of ways I can give effective feedback digitally.  One of the most impactful, but time consuming, is to record my computer screen (screencast) while I am looking at their work.  It also helps to have the rubric or other information handy so you can refer back to the expectations.

The following are the steps for how I did this using Screencastify, although you could use any screen recording app out there.  Screencastify does limit you to 50 recordings a month for the free version but it can automatically upload to your Google Drive to make it easy to share.  Other useful screen recording apps include Screencast-O-Matic, Camtasia, and even Quicktime on a Mac.  (There are countless screen recording apps out there but these are the ones that I use the most.)

Screencasting Feedback using Screencastify

Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 8.34.42 PM

  1.  Install Screencastify from the Chrome app store (link to Chrome Extension). (above image is what the Extension will look like.)
  2. Setup the Extension by following the directions and make sure you setup your Drive as part of it.  It will create a folder in your Drive called “Screencastify”.  
  3. Open the student work you are going to give feedback on and close anything you do not want to record.
  4. Click on the Extension.
  5. Adjust your settings (working from top to bottom in the follow image) 
    1. Select between Tab, Desktop, and Cam.  I suggest Desktop since it will allow you to switch between your browser window and other stuff.
    2. Select your microphone source.  I suggest using an external microphone and you can get some for real cheap or even spend a little more to ensure you have great audio.  You can find good USB microphones on Amazon for $50 or less.
    3. Decide if you want to include your webcam video or not.  I have heard from some students that they prefer seeing the video of their teacher while giving feedback but I have not seen any evidence that it improves the feedback or not.
  6. You will have to click OK one more time and then you should hear a 3-2-1 countdown.

Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 8.35.46 PM

You are now able to record and give feedback to your students.  Focus on being concise and ensure you are trying to meet the characteristics of effective feedback (following images from a recent presentation).  Refrain from telling your students they did a good job or that they are a good boy/girl as this can actually cause a negative impact.  Focus on the learning and relate back to the learning outcomes.

Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 8.45.13 PM

Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 8.47.55 PM

Once you are done, click Stop Sharing to stop recording.  Your video will automatically load in a new tab and start uploading to your Drive folder.  (If you use another app, just upload the video to your Drive by yourself) Click on the link icon to get the link to your video and either insert it into the Doc or use your grading/classroom/LMS tool.  I was using Canvas with my college students so it was easy to add the link to the video as a comment.  

It might take some practice before you free really comfortable giving feedback this way but do not allow that to stop you.  Giving video feedback can be very effective and does take more time but you can give more information than just text or audio.  Do not give video feedback all the time, you will be overwhelmed, but focus on the times where you you can give the best feedback to affect the most change.  Pick the biggest activities or projects to get the biggest bang for your buck, so to speak.  

No matter what, focus on giving quality feedback instead of giving a lot of low-level feedback.  Focus on quality and not quantity.  Focus on the learner and what feedback they need to improve.

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