Creating a screen-capture video to offer feedback on writing
What is a screen-capture video?
A screen-capture video allows you to record your computer screen as you narrate what you are seeing. When a written text is on your screen, a screen-capture video allows a reader to follow your thinking and your interaction with that text.
Why make a screen-capture video for a student writer?
The efficacy of audio feedback on student writing has long been supported by research. Many students report that audio or audio-visual feedback helps them better understand a professor's experience as a reader of their writing, offering them deeper insights not just about what to revise but also why. Additionally, hearing critical feedback delivered in a supportive tone of voice encourages student writers to experience revision as a necessary and normal learning activity, rather than as punishment for being a poor writer who didn't get something right the first time.
When teaching online, a screen-capture video helps establish a one-to-one relationship between instructor and student.
For some introductory examples of screen-captures of student work used for teaching, check out the following:
How do I make a screen-capture video?
There are many tools that enable people to make screen-capture videos. Many computers come loaded with the ability to make screen-capture videos through simple tools.
Snag-it is a robust tool available for purchase that we recommend if you are committed to utilizing screen-capture videos in your pedagogy. Currently, you can get a 15-day trial for free to try out this tool. Purchasing an affordable educator's license allows you to download the software to two machines.
Depending on the platform you choose, you will be able to find guidance online about how to utilize that tool. Snag-it offers a variety of online tutorials.
What content should I include in my video of a student paper? How do I prepare to make the video?
As with all teaching decisions, consider backwards design. What learning outcome do you seek? Design your commenting approach to reach that goal.
Here are a few use cases:
- An instructor has noticed students tend to misinterpret a complex text they are assigned to write about. Students then build entire argument-driven essays around those flawed ideas. As a first draft, the instructor has students write a short, critical summary of the text and submit it. In her video of each draft, she talks through how well the writer has interpreted the text, correcting any mistakes the writer has made and recommending further work as needed.
- An instructor in a writing-intensive course wants to focus on teaching students to write with clarity. In each student's draft, they highlight the most clear and least clear paragraphs. In the video, the instructor talks through the strengths that make the clear paragraph work well and then the limits that impede clarity of the weaker paragraph. The instructor also shares and discusses a model paragraph from another text that exemplifies the qualities they wish to see in the student's work.
- A professor has students writing three proposals for research they will undertake later in the term. Students submit the proposals for instructor feedback, and the professor ranks them, explaining what makes the best proposal stronger and offering ideas for how to plan and begin the proposed research.