Edwards, K., Dujardin, A.-F., & Williams, N. (2012): "Screencast Feedback for Essays on a Distance Learning MA in Professional Communication"

Edwards, K., Dujardin, A.-F., & Williams, N. (2012). Screencast Feedback for Essays on a Distance Learning MA in Professional Communication. Journal of Academic Writing, 2(1), 95–126. Retrieved from http://e-learning.coventry.ac.uk/ojs/index.php/joaw/article/view/62/105


Student satisfaction with feedback improved, but still ranked 2nd to lowest of 9 categories in National Student Survey. Student issues with quantity, quality, timeliness of feedback (95). Notes funding/staff reductions and increased enrollments may affect further.

"Literature related to assessment and feedback’s usefulness to feed forward indicates that it should be timely, motivational and sensitive, and provide clear specific explanations which students can understand" (96). Looking for methods to support learning while saving time. Testing Jing to see if it meets that goal.

Compares quality of two types of feedback (Jing and written), measured through analysis of whether students perceived fb as +/-, helpful for future essays, etc. Argues screencasting may be more effective due to:

  • understanding
  • emotions and socialization
  • timesaving (96)

Literature Review


Each part addresses the concern with counter argument as to how a-v fb may help.

Cites several sources supporting that students often don't understand feedback. Argues that a-v fb may help through less formal academic lang and real time linking (not cross-ref). Comprehensive lit review. Feedback may not be read. Students may need instruction on how to interpret/apply. Removes need to search for section in which the fb applies.

Emotions and socialisation

Desire to "maintain face." Feel disapproval. Vulnerability. Sense of ownership of texts/ feeling of judgment of the person rather than the writing. Miscommunication.


a/v may speed up return of work

Audio feedback research

Leicester U case study found audio richer/more personal. (98-99)

Audio-visual feedback research

Little research to date. Assumptions that "personal, timely and meaningful" (citing Middleton 2011).



distance learning MA in Professional Communication at Sheffield Hallam U.

Assignment feedback

18 essays submitted for summative assessment of module were evaluated. FB intended to be formative. Essays reviewed and annotated electronically. Then prepared/ timed written and screencast fb based on annotations. Used guidelines for screencast fb developed by Edwards (2011).


14 agreed to participated allocated to one of two groups (receive screencast or written fb first). After receiving first fb, students completed short online questionnaire. 2nd type then distributed to students who completed same questionnaire for 2nd type of fb. Completed rubrics/ grades only returned after end of trial.


Developed by Edwards (2011). questions designed for perceptions of positives/negatives of feedback and to rate agreement on certain aspects of quality.


Unable to conduct interview research due to time/ geographical constraints; stuck with questionnaire (open ended questions)

A remaining weakness in this research, however, is that it records student perceptions of the quality of feedback and fails to measure the understanding of feedback or application to future essay assignments. Understanding and retention can be researched experimentally through provision of feedback and testing for retention and understanding, and application to future essay assignments can be measured through longitudinal studies analysing application of specific feedback comments within essays (document analysis). However, neither of these types of research were possible within the scope of this study. (101)

Did not include time to post links to Jing files.

Not all students completed questionnaire twice (all completed after a/v fb, but only 11 after written fb).


Approved by Ethics Committee. Mentioning student's name avoided. Screencast edited with Camtasia to remove name from essay.



review/annotation for 1500 words took 1-1.5 hours. 5 minutes for Jing. 35 mins for written fb.

Quality of Feedback

Fairly positive for both types of db; 2 students strongly disagreed that a/v understandable. Disagreement as to screencast length.

Ratings higher for screencast fb for i.d. issues of importance. Detail higher for written.

Positives and negatives of screencast and written feedback

Table 2 (104)

  Screencast Feedback Written Feedback
Positives • More personal / easier to accept / ‘More like an interactive course’ (7)
• Simultaneous visual cues and explanations clarified points (5)
• Succinct/active listening (2)
• Improved understanding (3)
• Review/compare (6)
• Holistic visual overview (5)
• In depth (1)
• More positive (1)
Negatives • Time constraint (4)
• Linear (no overview, scanning or review) (3)
• Nervousness (2)
• Multimodality difficult (1)
• Unclear (3)
• Incomplete (1)
• Slower to assimilate (1)
• Cross-referencing hard (1)
• Insensitive tone (1)

Preferences and reasons

7 preferred screencast, 4 preferred written.

Screencast: link with visual cues, intonation, more engaging, high level of detail/specificity, succinct, stronger sense of socialization. Suggest that lower order issues should not be pointed out (embarrassment).

Screencast: flexibility for later reference, can be printed/read anywhere, digest at own pace.

Learning styles, order of feedback and preferences

interesting tie in to type of identified learning style and a/v preference.Those who had screencast first preferred to a greater degree than those who had written first.


Evaluation of the quantitative data

7 preferred screencast, 4 preferred written. Screencasting saved 30 mins per essay eval time.

Writing fb-- suggested more understandable and important issues covered in more detail.

Evaluation of the qualitative data

screencast more personal/easier to accept.

written: repeated review possible, holistic visual overview. But other issues with comprehension/application.

Emitional impact of s/c both +/-

Weaknesses and suggested improvements

  • small group (difficult to draw conclusions)
  • used same feedback for both groups
  • not all students completed questionnaire twice
  • need for measures other than student perceptions
  • Need feedback from multiple instructors


suggests that fb received more positively through s/c. Suggest three new guidelines:

  • give o/v of what will be covered at beginning
  • avoid pointing out low order issues
  • prioritize promoting self efficacy and motivation