In this post we will explore how to provide audio feedback for students using a screencast, and look at two tools available for doing this: Jing and BB Flashback Express.
In an earlier post we explained how to provide audio feedback to your students by creating an audio file that you upload to Moodle. We later explained how you can also embed shorter audio files in a Word document, that you then upload as a response file for the student. This had the advantage of making it clearer to the student which part of their assignment you were talking about in your audio feedback. One way that you could make it really clear to the student what you are talking about is to show them their work as you comment on it. An increasingly popular way to do this is to use screencasting.
A screen cast would allow you to record what happens on your computer screen as well as what you are saying, so you could talk about different sections of a student’s assignment, for example, while displaying those sections on the screen. You then save the recording (usually as an swf file) and upload it as a response file to the student’s work in Moodle in the usual way. Some of the software available allows you to save as a file on your computer, or to upload it to the internet. Given the related issues of data protection, please remember that you should not upload student feedback to a publicly visible internet site, but keep it within the VLE (Moodle).
JISC Digital Media provide a good introduction to screencasting:
JISC Digital Media: Introducing Screen Capture Software
There are plenty of screencasting tools freely available online. If you are using a computer on campus, you will most likely need to contact the IT Services helpdesk in order for them to temporarily override the anti-virus protection while you install the application.
Some screencasting tools are more user-friendly than others. We have found that one of the easiest to use is probably Jing. Below is an example of giving feedback using Jing:
Shelley Blake-Plock: An example of Jing used to Comment on Student Work Online
Russell Stannard, a teacher of English for Academic Purposes and expert in using technology in teaching and learning, also uses Jing. From the link below you can listen to him explaining how he uses screencasting to provide feedback for students:
Russell Stannard: How technology can revolutionise the way we give feedback (BBC/ British Council)
Russell also provides an excellent step-by-step guide of how to use Jing:
Russell Stannard: Jing online training videos
One problem you may find with Jing, however, is the length: if you just use the free version there is a maximum recording time of 5 minutes, although arguably this should be enough time to give some relevant feedback to your students.
Jing makes it easy to upload screencasts to the related website, screencast.com, but you should avoid this option when you click on ‘share’ – remember that you should only upload student feedback to the VLE, not to an open internet site.
BB Flashback Express
Another free tool that we have experimented with and find quite user-friendly is BB Flashback Express. This tool has the advantage that there is no limit on recording time. If you are not confident using editing tools, you could find this software more confusing if you choose to ‘review’ your recording before ‘exporting’ it. However, you would have the option of changing how the cursor movements appear on the screen or setting the recording to pause when you click on the mouse.
Our screencast below explains how to create a screencast using BB Flashback Express to provide audio feedback: