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Faculty in focus: Jennifer Lightfoot on diversifying feedback using multimodal feedback technology

In many academic writing courses, instructors will often give formative feedback on student written draft assignments in an effort to scaffold students’ self-revisions of their own writing. However, many instructors face the challenging task of providing clear, detailed and precise formative feedback on student written assignments while balancing teaching schedules and limited time resources (Seror, 2012). Many students may also find written feedback challenging to integrate into their own writing revisions. In an attempt to overcome these challenges, instructors in the Academic English Program at Vantage College provided formative feedback through screencasting technology, free software that enables teachers to capture videos of actions on their computer screens that may be simultaneously narrated, allowing instructors to orally comment on student writing in detailed, comprehensive and engaging ways while also reducing the amount of time spent providing such feedback.

Through various screencasting programs, including Jing and Camtasia, video feedback was provided to our students on a draft written assignment in the LLED 200 course to help enhance student uptake of instructor feedback. Instructors provided verbal feedback on students’ drafts by recording videos of their computer screens while commenting on students’ draft writing. Once a recording is saved, students can then easily access this recording through a link sent by their instructor. Student responses to this screencasting feedback were largely positive, which echoes previous findings (Seror, 2012). While students mainly expressed that a combination of both written and verbal is ideal, the majority of students stated a preference for video feedback when compared to written feedback on its own. With screencasting technology, rich and comprehensive feedback can be delivered in an efficient and engaging manner for both students and teachers.