Friday, January 18, 2013

Essay feedback in reel time. From the Times Higher Education Supplement.

A simple, inexpensive technique allowing lecturers to record personalised video feedback while marking papers is being used to improve the student experience, and could be scaled up to help online learners.

Lecturers at Cardiff Metropolitan University are using screen-capture technology to give students the impression of being present during the marking process, allowing more targeted feedback to be given.

Using widely available computer recording programs, many of which are free, lecturers record themselves marking students' papers, explaining where errors have been made and showing corrections. They then upload the footage to their university's learning platform or email clips direct to students.


24 comments:

  1. Bleep .... Bleeeep ... You make baby Newton cry ... Bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep ...

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  2. Ugh. I *hate* where technology is taking us. And I never *used* to be a Luddite.

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  3. It's not technology: this would be trivial to do in-person. It's the educational fads.

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  4. It's not technology: this would be trivial to do in-person. It's the educational fads.

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  5. I don't want to see sausages made. Students REALLY don't want to see how their grades are made.

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    1. I have on occasion offered to mark a student's work while he or she sat there, and they HATE it. I think you are right. Maybe with the video it would be less embarrassing for them, but it seems like a lot of work for little return.

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  6. See, my issue is with admin: They see shiny things and IMPOSE THE HELL OUT OF THEM onto us.

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    1. How it works in my school:

      "It's new and it BLINKS so we bought one for every classroom!

      Months later...

      "Why aren't you using it!? Don't you see that it BLINKS!?!? Why do you hate children!?"

      A month later...

      "We've cancelled a vacation day and turned it into an in-service so that we can train faculty on the Blinky Thing and force them to spend all day using it."


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  7. I can see how a video markup session could work really well. Students could see how we instructors read papers and what we think is valuable, and it lets them model their writing on how more experienced writers go about tackling problems. Plus, as the video pointed out, we speak far faster than we can possibly type; I know at least one instructor who does audio feedback on papers just because this.

    But yeah...I'd have to edit out so much "what the fuck is this shit?" and the ilk that video markup probably isn't worth doing.

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    1. I would think an initial reading and note taking would be necessary before recording, and at that point, I wonder how much time anyone would save, though maybe with practice, one could become pretty fast.

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    2. I agree. I have one colleague who does this, but I still have to think carefully about how to phrase comments (been doing this 15 years) so I think this would NOT save time. And it "wouldn't be fair" on students with, oh, internet issues, or who found my (perfectly normal, but RP) accent patronising or hard to understand, or "Professor B spoke too fast".

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  8. We'd probably also have to ditch the liquor. :(

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    1. This would be my biggest concern! Thanks for voicing it.

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    2. Word. I was just thinking this.

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  9. Some of my colleagues do this, and say it works well for them. And I've done the business of reading paper drafts during conference (in-person or via skype), and following up with brief written comments. But I don't think this would work well for me, since I'd need to read and organize what I had to say first, and it's easier to backtrack, condense, etc. in writing. Actually, that's a problem with most supposedly time-saving "minimal marking" (and/or alternative delivery for comment) systems: like any other time you need to produce a compact text (or one that can be audio- or video-recorded in one take), you need to do considerable behind-the-scenes preparation. And video raises both student and instructor (and administrator) expectations that the comments will be an at least semi-polished "presentation."

    Also, I know students supposedly love videos, but don't they present a bandwidth problem? Text is really quick and cheap to store and transmit, and you don't need an internet connection once you've done the download. At least for people without fast connections (or smartphones), that matters. (Also, I can't believe that students have more patience with waiting for slow/balky video downloads than they do with anything else, and my usual experience with trying to watch videos online -- on a pretty good home DSL connection -- involves more than a bit of stopping and starting due to buffering).

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    1. Have you tried it? During the recording of your voice and the contents of your screen you can always hit the pause button. When you are ready having consider the student’s words and your response, continue recording. One lecturer I know has always read the essay twice. He has continued this practise but now on the second read he records his thoughts, highlights tracks, makes comments on screen and verbalises so much more to his students. But you are right that in some areas band width could be a problem. Students are discerning and soon learn whose feedback is worth waiting for. We have examples where the video degrade and sound is garbled but the student said it was not a problem; they took the time to listen to it until they could hear it. These are not pristine I will use again and again videos, there are rough and ready, but can be full of knowledge imparted from you to your students.

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  10. Ya, this sounds kindof dumb. A live blog of my actual grading is going to involve a lot of swearing, head scratching, liquor, and other political incorrectness. A not-live blog of my grading is going to be a major time-suck as Cassandra points out. And accomplish nothing that couldn't be accomplished just as well with a few notes in the margin (red pen: $0.97, learning to write well: priceless), followed up with face to face meetings for the rare student who actually wants the feedback in the first place.

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    1. May be the few red pen notes is why only a few students come to see you for feedback. If your students expect you to swear and be politically incorrect why are you not writing those comments in the margin? You take care with your comment now; I would expect you to take care with you audio comments as well. However, those expletives would make it real and personal to the students. But one day you could expect the comments to appear on Youtube. I have examples of student’s feedback with phones ringing, cries of agony as the cat clawed my leg etc, but there is a pause button or the options to re-record or edit. This morning I marked a piece of work in which the student made the same simple mistake on every page of his analysis, finally I came to a page where he got it right, I gave him a round of applause. The personal one to one session is costly, but it is the best way to provide feedback. Screen casting is the closes we have at the moment to your face to face but they are not coming may be you would encourage more by a change of feedback presentation. Knock by all means but after you have tried it and had feedback from your own students.

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  11. I mark up my student papers as PDFs on this shiny borrowed iPad. It has the facility to record audio comments.

    One comment balloons a 400kb pdf to a 2.5MB monster; I cannot imagine the size of whole paper annotated with audio comments, never mind a paper reviewed with VIDEO feedback.

    Here's one way to replicate the effect and time involved in such a procedure; for every paper, a student could come to my office, I could hold up a picture-frame around my face, and I could directly tell the student what I thought about their writing and the way they could improve. They would even be able to provide *me* instant "video" feedback; we would just have to hand each-other the picture-frame and take turns simulating the video screen.

    Can I get credit for innovative teaching methods if I do this?

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  12. Yeah, this is exactly what we need: give them *less* to read.

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  13. Just shoot me now, Strel...it would be a kindness.

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  14. Does this system come with free money to compensate for the extra time requirement it imposes on the grader?

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Stew,
      You need to try it. There will be a learning curve, but it will be what it saves you in time from less student visits querying their feedback from miss-understanding of you notes that you might benefit from. ESL students can watch the video again and again to ascertain what you really mean. You can actually show them what to do on screen or a show a passage of text. You can verbalise so much more than type in a few minutes. But you need to be aware you can go too far in the amount of feedback you can give and the students mayl never watch the video. The videos are rarely above ten minutes long is that too big a price of your time. Allowing for breaks etc, a 3000 equivalent essay work out at about 2-3 scripts per hour.

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