Recent Times Higher Education Award winner Russell Stannard has gained much notoriety for his use of video feedback on student assignments. Similar to audio feedback (which I’ve covered in this post), Russell promotes the use of screen recorder software to record the tutor’s evaluation of of a piece of students work. For an example see this YouTube video.
I was first made aware of Russell’s work in late 2006 when this article from the THE was pushed under my nose followed by the question ‘can we do this?’. At the time I was confident that the screen recording software was freely available (CamStudio was at the top of my list), but I was unsure about how and where the video files could be securely hosted or delivered and consequently the idea wasn’t taken any further.
Two years on and if I was to be asked the same question today my answer would be TokBox. TokBox is a free web service which not only allows you to talk to your friends via a live video link but also allows you to record and send videomails.
Before I talk about how you might implement Russell’s model there is one other additional piece of software I need to introduce. A key element of video feedback is to capture the screen desktop as the tutor works their way through an electronic copy of a piece of students work. To use TokBox you need a way of streaming your desktop. The solution is to use a virtual webcam. Virtual webcam software allows you to trick your computer into thinking your desktop is a webcam (confused? – my example at the end of this post hopefully explains all). The virtual webcam software I like to use, and is which is also free, is ManyCam.
So back to the main topic – to implement Russell Stannard’s model there two directions you can take. The first option is to give a student live feedback. To do this you need to register with TokBox (it’s free) which will generate for you a dedicate link. This dedicated link can either be to the TokBox site or (and this feature really impressed me) you can embed it into your own website! You would then direct the student to the link at a specified time and talk through their assignment.
The second option is to record a voicemail message. With this option you would record your desktop as you talked through a students assignment. TokBox then allows you to email a person, or a list of people, a link to the recorded voicemail.
Worried that the perennial problem of students never checking their feedback will mean they will never follow the link to their feedback? Fear not – TokBox will email you when the voicemail has been picked up (I hope you are impressed – I was).
This video demonstrates how all of this fits together: