SCMLA: Screencasting Student Feedback

Steve Marsden
Screencasting Student Feedback in Literature

An associate professor at Stephen F. Austin State University, where he has been teaching for 8 years.
Steve has presented and published on gothic and American literature.

In literary analysis papers
Screencasting in an f2f class

Problems with written feedback in lit courses—my handwriting terrible and unimprovable. Also students don’t know read cursive. Typing = I spend more time on the writing than they do.

Previous research and then how my experiments came out.

Traditional feedback:
Traditionally encoded marginal comments (haven’t necessarily had a standard comp experience—You have to teach it.)
Rubric form (itemized by area, typical problems listed to be circled, scores for different elements of writing)
Holistic end comments

Problems:
Frequently not read (low student engagement)
Ambiguous/low context—commonly misunderstood
Little explanation of why—no room (maybe no time)
Hard to address complex style or logic = awk

Using elliptical encoded text to address student problems in reading and writing
Often devolves to editing—students just do accept

Problems for literary analysis:
Students often lack basic skills course does not address, even though in 200-level course. Try to fix the problems somehow, so I am not contributing.
Student problems are often higher order (interpretive, logical, conceptual).
We assume they can write, so we do not encourage extensive revision, do not include conferences. Often the writing is due late.

Previous studies
Thaiss and Zawacki—s
Vinclette Moore & Filling, Brick & Holmes= multimodal feedback for written communication is valuable
Students prefer screencast

Rough and ready study:
22 students, 2 sections f2f summer
16 female, 6 male, between 18 and 37 (mostly juniors and seniors)
60% comp credit at SFA, 23% at HS (most problematic), 18% at comm college
Students reported mostly marginal feedback in previous courses.
Initial attitudes toward revision were pretty sketchy; they were unconvinced.

Study design
2 literary-analytic papers, available for a 20-point increase in revision
half randomly selected for screencast first time
controlled for assignment and priority (found weird effect with priority)

all surveys online via Qualtrics
initial survey for demographic data, previous exp w revision
online survey required after each revision
final survey about attitudes and preferences
rubrics marking improvements on revision packets (a revision memo explaining changes, old draft, new draft)
I gave no written feedback, but they had to go back and mark what I was talking about.
Eyeballed the rubrics and decided how much they improved

Traditional feedback (see above)
Said you can come in for conferencing. Those people did well, who came to conferences.

Screencast feedback
Papers read once, problem areas highlighted
Don’t write feedback.
THEN scroll through highlighted text in Word on screen, explaining. Get pretty discursive, informal. Will stop and read or stop and ask questions. There’s nothing I see I don’t mark.
Maximum 15 minutes of audio/visual (Screencast-o-matic)—6-7 minutes most of the time
No marginal or end comments
Rubric filled out, handed back separately with paper copy of paper (which means after screencast for most) —Only heard coaching comments, until they get the paper copy—which does say what they did wrong.

Results
100% of students preferred screencast
79% more clear or less ambiguous
79% more detailed
68% more friendly-seeming
37% said more instructor work so seemed more committed

73% traditional feedback read completely (if did revision)
100% of screencast viewed completely
videos on screencast-o-matic were viewed an average of 2.5x
16 viewed the video more than once—max 8x

Process notes:
Careful screencasting feedback (view, highlight, record, fill out rubric, upload, post link to feedback area of D2L) took only slightly longer than written feedback … about 1.5x longer

Required a quiet place and time set aside.
Need a microphone that won’t catch ambient noise.
Couldn’t grade in hallway, between classes. Had to grade at a computer.

Required control of voice.

Student feedback:
Sometimes said uh when he wants to say something and then doesn’t say it. (rage management)
Screencasting helped me understand each issue I had better than just written comments

During the question session, Steve and Laura both mentioned that students responded well to screen casting, preferring it and seeing it as a way that the teachers showed they were involved with and committed to the class.

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