Using screencasts to improve feedback on student assignments

Feedback plays a significant role in the learning process. Effective feedback can help students to understand and monitor their learning, highlighting both strengths and areas for improvement. While feedback is traditionally given in one way (usually written comments), new research has shown that using technology to provide multimodal responses can improve how students engage with and understand feedback.

Screencasting – using video software to record the images on the screen of a device in real time – allows educators to provide students with both audio, visual, and written feedback. This video feedback, or ‘veedback,’ enriches the feedback provided, as instructors are able to provide more in-depth explanations in their feedback. As a result, students are able to engage at a deeper level – increasing their understanding of the comments, and seeing a clearer connection between their work and the assessment process.

Enriching experience

Using veedback in two online graduate courses, Dr. Soroush Sabbaghan provided students with individual video screencasts – each about 4 minutes long – on their weekly tasks. After reading the assignments through once, Dr. Sabbaghan then used a screencasting tool to bring up the students’ work, annotate the submission using a stylus, and simultaneously record commentary on the work.

Dr. Sabbaghan also provided a live assessment using the rubric afterwrads, commenting on the marking process and why each level was selected. At the end of the term, the students were given an anonymous to find out how they perceived the veedbacks – the quality, quantity, how they understood them, and how they used them.

The students were very positive about the use of annotated veedback in the course. The students thought it provided a clearer sense of both what they have done well, and what they can improve, than non-video feedback. According to the participants, the veedbacks made the feedback more understandable, and it emphasized key points effectively. Most respondents also noted that it felt more personal, and the information went far beyond receiving a grade – it prompted many students to think differently about their assignment and their learning.

Some participants noted that the high quality videos could result in large files and longer download times. About 1 in 5 students thought their videos were too long – and most only watched each video once, even though it was always accessible on the course site. However, all of the participants indicated that they do watch the video regardless of the mark they receive. As the participants were new to receiving veedback, establishing norms and supporting students in using the videos may help them gain more from this approach.

Continuous learning

The annotations and narration provided in the instructor’s veedback were very well received by the students. Allowing for live explanation with greater detail shows that veedback can be a more effective way to communicate assessment to students than using only one mode. By making the feedback engaging and accessible, educators may help students engage in continuous learning, even after the assignment is submitted.

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Connected Citations

Sabbaghan, S. (2017). Enhancing student assessment through veedback. In P. Preciado Babb, L. Yeworiew, & S. Sabbaghan (Eds.), Selected Proceedings of the IDEAS Conference: Leading Educational Change, pp. 93-102. Calgary, Canada: Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary. Available Online