February 2016
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Rebekka Eckhaus, New York University School of Professional Studies, Tokyo, Japan & Joachim Castellano, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, USA

Rebekka Eckhaus

Joachim Castellano

As teachers, we are always trying to find ways to make our feedback more useful for our students. However, the realities of the classroom often pose significant challenges, especially if we want to tailor our feedback to the individual needs of our students. We may be faced with large numbers of students, inconsistent student attendance, limited classroom time, or a lack of face-to-face time with our students.

In response to these potential hurdles, we explored feedback methods that would utilize time outside of the classroom so that in-class time could be dedicated to activities requiring face time with the instructor. Applying screen capture technology to provide feedback to video recordings of student presentations allowed us an opportunity to not only better reach students with various learning styles, but also improve the quality of our presentation feedback. Building on research investigating varied modes of presentation feedback (De Grez, Valcke, & Roozen, 2009; Mayer, 2001, as cited in De Grez, Valcke, & Roozen, 2009; Kırkgöz, 2011; Silva, 2012; McNulty & Lazarevic, 2012), our goal was a method of feedback that was effective and easy for students to understand so that they could directly implement the suggestions as they developed their presentation skills.

To this end, we designed an action research project utilizing screen capture technology to provide multimodal feedback in the form video, audio, and text output, as well as to instantaneously connect the instructor’s feedback to the student’s presentation behaviors in one “master video.” In Eckhaus & Castellano (2014b), we developed the process for implementing the screen capture feedback method. Then, based on initial student surveys and instructor input, we further refined the method to make it more effective and user friendly (Eckhaus & Castellano, 2014a). The final stage of this project shares practical tips for teachers, as well as students’ opinions about the value of using this method.

Screen Capture Process

There are several technical advantages of using screen capture for presentation feedback. It provides a rich, multimodal experience to enhance comprehension and reinforce teachable moments. Students can hear their teacher’s voice for aural feedback. By virtue of being a video file, students can both see their actual performance and read text comments. The cursor itself can pinpoint exact areas for students to focus on. Finally, integrated feedback videos also allow student control through the video player’s playback mechanism.

The screen capture process itself is the easiest method involving technology. First, it does not require feature-heavy video editing software such as iMovie. While modern Apple computers come with Quicktime screen capture software built in, free screen capture software, such as Ezvid, for Windows PC can be freely downloaded. Second, teachers do not need to use expensive, professional equipment for recording video. A serviceable video can be produced with a consumer camera or smartphone. A few simple tips can improve the quality of the video. For instance, placing the camera closer to the subject instead of relying on a camera’s zoom feature will result in clearer audio. Using any tripod provides image stabilization. Please refer to Eckhaus and Castellano (2014a) for step-by-step details on how to produce a screen capture feedback video via Mac or Windows PC.

Findings and Results

Data gathered from multiple EFL classes in 2014 suggest positive reception from students who received presentation feedback via screen capture video files. Compared with traditional feedback methods such as written feedback from the teacher or classmates, a majority of students preferred either video feedback from the teacher or multiple forms of feedback that included video. More students found that selected moments of the presentation, a highlight reel per se, were more helpful than the complete video without feedback.

From our experience, there are several steps that should be taken to maximize the presentation feedback process. First, have students assess themselves. This will prepare students for constructive feedback. While watching their classmates’ presentations, have students in the audience identify target areas: strengths and areas for improvement. In this case, we limited feedback focus to language, delivery, and content. After the presentation, have students assess their own performance, and this data could help guide/focus instructor feedback. Try to find common themes among all these written forms when preparing your own teacher feedback. Finally, data showed that students appreciated having both video types shared: the original student presentation (complete and uncut) in addition to the integrated feedback video.

As we worked on refining the screen capture feedback process, we were also faced with practical challenges. The process itself can be time consuming because each video must be made in real time, so it is more helpful to target the key areas the student has identified and address moments that would best illustrate those issues rather than record feedback about the entire presentation.

Moreover, depending on the instructor’s level of technical expertise, it could take some time and effort to learn the procedure. Teachers must factor in their own learning time to maximize the benefit to the students. Encouraging student involvement in the process by having students record and upload their own videos will promote learner autonomy. In this way, students may feel more positive about being recorded and watching themselves on video.

The videos can also be used as additional classroom tools. Surveys indicated that students feel that their peers are unable to give valid feedback. However, both the feedback videos and the uncut versions could be used as tools to help norm the peer feedback, which in turn would give students a deeper understanding of the presentation skills being taught. In fact, instructors could create video libraries of student presentations that may be used to teach skills, not only as feedback tools. Most important is to focus on the teaching of the presentation skills beforehand, especially for students who are shy about being recorded. We found that sometimes less is more, so using video feedback one to two times during the semester may be more effective than after every presentation opportunity.

Integrated video created by screen capture provides precise feedback to student presentations. Students no longer have to guess about their presentation grades. Instead, they are provided with a teachable tool that they can control and review. Screen capture software provides a straightforward procedure that lacks the complexity of typical video editing software. Furthermore, feedback forms and student involvement could ease the production burden on the teacher. Although this process might be time consuming, our data showed that students valued these videos. Such a useful feedback instrument seems well worth the effort.


De Grez, L., Valcke, M., & Roozen, I. (2009). The impact of an innovative instructional intervention on the acquisition of oral presentation skills in higher education. Computers & Education, 53(1), 112–120.

Eckhaus, R., & Castellano, J. (2014a) Applying screen capture presentation feedback in the classroom (pp. 1454–1459). ICERI2014 Proceedings.

Eckhaus, R., & Castellano, J. (2014b). Using screen capture to give meaningful feedback on presentations (pp. 1633–1637). INTED2014 Proceedings.

Kırkgöz, Y. (2011). A blended learning study on implementing video recorded speaking tasks in task-based classroom instruction. TOJET: The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 10(4), 1–13.

McNulty, A., & Lazarevic, B. (2012). Best practices in using video technology to promote second language acquisition. Teaching English with Technology, 12(3), 49–61.

Silva, M. L. (2012). Camtasia in the classroom: Student attitudes and preferences for video commentary or Microsoft Word comments during the revision process. Computers and Composition, 29(1), 1–22.

Rebekka Eckhaus is currently a language lecturer at New York University School of Professional Studies - American Language Institute Tokyo Center, where she coordinates the Professional English program. She has taught in universities and companies in New York City, Tokyo, Seoul, and Valparaiso (Chile).  Her research interests include learner autonomy and blended learning, especially in the area of ESP.

Joachim Castellano is an educational technologist at the University of Notre Dame's Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures. He specializes in computer-assisted language learning (CALL) and media literacy. He has taught extensively at Japanese universities and was the recipient of the
2013 Apple Distinguished Educator - Japan award.
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