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Lisa Coulson discusses the role of video-based feedback on student assessment.

“Video-based feedback on student assessment: scarily personal” - Michael Henderson and Michael Phillips, Monash University, Australia

The article proposes an alternative to written feedback in the form of individualised video recordings of the lecturer discussing each assignment, reporting on 126 undergraduate and postgraduate students’ reactions to 5-minute videos recorded by their teachers.

Research Method

A grounded theory approach was adopted to analyse a range documents created by both students and teachers.  These included email, discussion forum posts, videos, presentation materials and lecturer observations and video blog.  Data was also gathered via a student survey and interviews. 

Video Feedback Design

The videos were created by one teacher using a webcam and by the other teacher with an iPhone and were provided for final assignments (worth 50%–60% of the semester’s grade). The videos were generally recorded immediately after the assignment was read, and while notes were made on the assignment as prompts no script was written.  The article gives guidance on the creation and structure of the video-based feedback, including framing, length, and unscripted nature of the content.

Findings – Student Experience

The findings confirm that the majority of students valued video feedback over text-based forms.

Analysis identified seven recurring themes which included five strengths and two potential weaknesses of video feedback.

Perceived strengths of video-based assessment feedback:

(1) individualised and personal: specific and valorising identity and effort

(2) supportive: perceived as caring and felt to be motivating

(3) clear: detailed and unambiguous

(4) prompting reflection on work done, process and thinking in terms of success criteria

(5) constructive (useful): prompting consideration of future work, process and thinking.

Potential weaknesses:

(1) initial anxiety about seeing the assessor’s face while receiving feedback (particularly when students’ feel that may be receiving negative feedback)

(2) matching feedback to assignment: sometimes effort is needed to find the specific examples in the assignment that relate to the video comments.

Findings – Educator Experience

Lecturer reactions to providing video feedback were also positive. Three key benefits were identified:

(1)    time efficiency : they found that creating the videos was much faster than text based feedback; taking on average about half the amount of time.  The videos were approximately 5 minutes in length, whereas the text-based feedback comments on similar assignments were the equivalent of less than 1 minute of talking

(2)    facilitating quality, especially in the form of feed forward comments :  they suggest that the efficiency in video-based feedback  allows more time to be devoted to discussing what students could pursue in future work

(3)    greater intellectual engagement with the process of marking,  enabling a move away from textual issues to focus more on concepts and the development of argument.

The article concludes by considering implications for future research.

Henderson, M. & Phillips, M. (2015). Video-based feedback on student assessment: scarily personal. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 61(1), 51-66.

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