Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Escalate Hot Topic

As University departments try to look for innovative and effective ways to improve feedback to students it is worth considering the use of free screencasting software, such as Jing, to provide either whole class or student-specific feedback.  Screencasting combines both written and oral elements , can be used to give feedback on digital submissions, or to give feedback that you have created on a Word, PowerPoint or other suitable software in response to hard-copy assignments.  In simple terms a screencast is a short recording of your screen accompanied by an audio commentary of what is taking place.
The VLE in my institution makes the submission and processing of assignments in digital format very straightforward, but it doesn’t matter if your institution has this facility – submission by email works just as well and your Jing feedback files can be posted online (with password protection) at screencast.com if they are too big to send by email. Jing screencasts are saved as .swf files which can be opened by Internet Explorer or Adobe Flash Movie Player.
I use screencasting with a tablet pc which allows me to respond to students’ assignments, submitted in digital format, with ‘ink’ annotations accompanied by brief oral explanations of my annotations.  However, you could use the review tool in Word , PowerPoint or Excel to ‘track changes’ and ‘add comments’ as you make oral comments.
A Jing screencast is limited to 5 minutes which ensures that feedback is focussed and concise. You can see examples of feedback screencasts at http://www.screencast.com/t/CrbqrYyjBR . If you want to ask questions or leave comments you can do so by clicking the comment button below.