Marking at the speed of thought – video feedback.

At E-Assessment Scotland 2012 in Dundee I saw a presentation by Russell Stannard from the University of Warwick where he demonstrated his research on using video feedback with his ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students. Instead of writing comments on his students printed assignments, he created screen recordings with narration, and was able to show and highlight areas for improvement. Russell explained that he had found that video feedback cuts down on marking time, and that students liked it better than other forms of feedback.

Also at the conference was fellow educator, Ian Guest, and he tweeted to me ‘Could you use this in photography?’. Great minds think alike, as it had just crossed my mind that this could work well for giving feedback to photography students.

It took a while to find an opportune moment to try video feedback, but I have a small group of HND photography students that I thought I’d try this with. Opening their fashion photographs in Adobe Photoshop, I used to record what was happening on screen and to narrate my critique of their work. It took me just a few minutes to record each critique (screenr has a 5 minute time limit anyway), which was much quicker than writing the feedback. It was almost ‘marking at the speed of thought’. Screenr saves the video to a website automatically, but I chose to use its ‘Publish to Youtube’ option which allowed for more flexibility in sharing the videos.

After creating the videos I published them on a website so that all of the students could access them. This meant they could access the videos easily, but also see the comments made on each others work. I felt that the students would benefit from seeing the critiques of their classmates’ work.

After giving the feedback in this form I asked the students what they thought. All of them said they liked this form of feedback better than written form, however one suggested that they’d like written comments too (perhaps suggesting a read/write learning style). Several were enthusiastic about receiving video feedback and claimed it was easier to understand what the feedback meant. Some students had difficulty understanding written feedback, and needed it explained verbally by their tutor. The video solved this issue. One student said they kept losing paperwork such as written feedback, so liked the idea of it being online. Several students liked the highlighting in the video that made it very clear what was being explained.

This was a very small scale study, but with promising results. I plan to try it on a wider scale now, perhaps with National Certificate level students, as I think it would be more beneficial with less experienced learners.

Here’s the first photography critique video I made – Photo critique (Youtube)

I’ve included some links for further investigation.

Russell Stannard’s research –

Russell’s work with Brainshark – –


Colin Maxwell


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