Evaluating the integration of Jing® screencasts in feedback on written assignments

Presentation by Felicity Harper, Hannelore Green, and Maria Fernandez-Toro at CALRG 2012.

Cloud created by:

Rebecca Ferguson
19 June 2012

In addition to written summary comments, students studying modern languages at the Open University receive annotations and corrections on their written eTMA scripts, and spoken feedback on speaking tasks. We have investigated using Jing®, free software allowing the recording of a five-minute video of what is happening on a computer screen accompanied by a tutor commentary, to provide feedback on written assignments. This presentation reports on the student and tutor responses to the medium and the nature of the feedback in terms of depth and focus. The project involved students from three language modules at three different levels, and aimed to:

  • identify any issues regarding the functionality of the tool;
  • investigate the range of approaches tutors took to providing Jing®  feedback;
  • anaylse the nature of the feedback in terms of the criteria being addressed and its depth in relation to strengths and weaknesses;
  • evaluate the students’ and tutors’ perception of the tool’s usefulness,

Tutors adopted various methods of incorporating Jing® feedback, most providing a commentary on each student’s TMA but two creating a generic recording of a grammatical explanation.

Seven students completed the online questionnaire and five took part in a follow-up interview. Students cited a number of benefits of Jing® feedback, including clearer explanations, improved retention of information and better engagement with feedback.  They found it motivating, and welcomed the benefits of hearing a native speaker read the words they had written. They talked of the advantages of a multi-sensory approach.  They felt that Jing could also be used to provide generic recordings on language issues before or after assessments, or as part of the feedback to an individual student.  Disadvantages mentioned were that it could be more difficult to access the feedback later and possibly more time consuming.

Nine tutors participated, generating Jing feedback on 57 eTMAs.  Tutors were unanimous in approving the use of the tool, finding it a more personal way of giving feedback and more flexible in allowing fuller explanations.  Many talked of increased ‘presence’ and a sense of feeling as if they were talking to the student in the room.  They found the ability to make corrections and explain them orally at the same time a great benefit. Concerns from tutors were around how Jing could be incorporated into traditional feedback without increasing workload.

Preliminary findings suggest that using screencasts in conjunction with written comments elicits richer and deeper feedback. In addition to receiving error corrections and/or explanations, hearing the tutor’s voice seems to create a greater affective engagement. Although receiving the feedback remains asynchronous, it establishes a learning dialogue between student and tutor that has the potential to be extended beyond the assignment. Tutors and students will need to develop new strategies to work with digitally mediated interactive feedback.

The feasibility of extending the use of Jing® on a larger scale needs to be investigated further, as do the outcomes at different levels of language proficiency (i.e. recorded feedback in the target language for foreign language learners).

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