Screencasts are an innovative tool for instructors to provide personalized feedback for students in online courses as well as those who identify with a disability. As an alternative—or addition—to traditional handwritten feedback, instructors may send short videos addressing specific sections of students’ assignments while orally discussing areas of difficulty and how to address them.

Think of screencasts as a video blog or online demo in which instructors record reviewing a student’s assignment on their computer screen while providing formative feedback. This is valuable for auditory and visual learning styles and allows instructors to expand upon comments which are often limited to writing in the page margins and risk being truncated or misinterpreted.

The benefits of screencasts are particularly evident in online courses which lack the lectures, tutorials, and office hours in which on-campus students are able to engage with their instructors and seek clarification. While online courses often provide opportunities for both one-on-one and classroom-wide video conferencing, variances in time-zones and schedules make them potentially inaccessible for many students. Screencasts offer a solution, allowing students to feel connected with their instructor and receive formative feedback they may access at any time.

Additional benefits of screencasting include:

  • Discussing fundamental errors at length and opportunities to improve
  • Using multiple analogies to help students understand concepts they struggle with
  • Walking students through a problem or process step-by-step
  • Explaining reasons for giving a specific grade

While some colleges and universities may have screen-recording software available to instructors, there are many free and accessible options available. Windows 10 users may use the free and secure Xbox app’s DVR function, and Mac users have access to the capability through the built-in QuickTime Player.

Screencasting may not be the most useful method for providing feedback to every student in a large on-campus classes; however, it is a valuable way to connect with and support students in distance education as well as those who require extra support in class.

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About the Author: Dustin is a senior account manager with DesignedUX, providing communications and strategy to organizations in education and technology. Dustin is also board member of the Canadian Public Relations Society and contributes as a communications researcher with McMaster University.