Reflections on parallel sessions: Video feedback to students (Durham Blackboard Users Conference 2011)

This post is a summary of one of the parallel sessions at the 2011 Durham Blackboard Users Conference. It focuses on providing assignment feedback via short videos recorded by academic tutors.

Session: ‘”When and where is neither here nor there”: Taking personal tutorials and feedback beyond four walls, with portfolios, tags, and video.’ by Guy Pursey, University of Reading.

Video feedback is touted here as a quick and effective way of providing general feedback to a group. One of the tricks that is suggested is to use the first 10%-20% of marked assignments to draw out the main, general problems that students come across and then to record a very short explanation of these issues and provide this as soon as possible, typically before all assignments are marked and handed back. The key is easy to use software and overcome the need for editing by setting the expectation that it should not be a Hollywood production!

Complementary to this is the need to establish with the students that this video feedback is a way to provide fast, meaningful feedback. It doesn’t necessarily replace the individual detailed feedback provided on scripts, but reduces the need for a marker to write the same thing on every script. Managing and setting realistic expectations is the key to improving student satisfaction and indeed the overall learning experience.

An interesting anecdote is that tutors, upon watching themselves back on video, changed their face-to-face teaching styles. Some commenting that they didn’t realise they spoke in a certain way. The video feedback process has had a side-effect of encouraging self-evaluation.

In addition to the video feedback, additional ideas were discussed which warrant further investigation:

  • Providing feedback options within student portfolios not just on the portfolio as a whole, but on individual items. Essentially, providing an opportunity for the tutor and student to discuss on a micro level as opposed to vague references holistically.
  • Using star-ratings so that students can rate collectively how useful a resource is.
  • Allowing staff to tag items, perhaps even cross-course, and then search and present these items together based on tags.

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