Home Online Learning Demand for Video Feedback in Education Has Grown during COVID-19
Demand for Video Feedback in Education Has Grown during COVID-19

Demand for Video Feedback in Education Has Grown during COVID-19

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By John Blair Clark
Faculty Member, School of Arts and Humanities, American Public University

Do you remember Candid Camera, the comical television show where unsuspecting people were led into humorous and often implausible situations with hidden cameras filming their reactions? The joke was revealed when Alan Funt, the creator and host of the show, would expose the hoax by saying, “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!”

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Smiling for a camera has never been more popular or useful than it is today. To meet community distancing measures, the COVID-19 pandemic has engendered a demand for videoconferencing technology in business, religion and education.

As Zoom’s Founder and CEO, Eric S. Yuan, stated, “The COVID-19 crisis has driven higher demand for distributed, face-to-face interactions and collaboration using Zoom. Use cases have grown rapidly as people integrated Zoom into their work, learning, and personal lives. We also supported over 100,000 K-12 schools around the globe that chose Zoom to deliver the best online educational experience.”

Using Video Feedback Capabilities in MyClassroom

I recently taught a course using the online learning management system MyClassroom, during which I ran into a written communication issue with a student and realized the need for a different strategy. I accessed the Video Link in the grading area and recorded a personal video to clarify the issue for the student.

Talk about shock! The student was grateful the video had addressed the issues visually. I used a different strategy later when students submitted questions about an upcoming assignment through video in a discussion forum. They were provided with video feedback and could access it while working on their projects.

Advantages of Video Feedback

My teaching experiences confirmed the research data that aligns with the Community of Inquiry (COI) for improving an instructor’s social presence and student learning outcomes. David T. Marshall of Auburn University and colleagues have identified the following advantages of video feedback:

  • Increases the instructor’s social presence in the COI
  • Builds student-teacher relationships when students feel known, valued, and cared for
  • Humanizes the teaching and learning experience
  • Affords emotional expression not found in written communication
  • Instructors seem more real and students are motivated to complete assignments
  • Offers revision opportunities for all writing assignments when using video feedback

Disadvantages of Video Feedback

In a similar vein, Richard E. West highlights the disadvantages of video feedback and then offers effective strategies that instructors can employ to maximize this feedback in today’s online classroom:

  • Technical challenges when accessing the video on the university’s hosting service
  • Time-consuming to edit, amend, correct and record videos
  • Can become a highly repetitive process in large classes
  • Decreased effectiveness with videos 20 minutes in length; 10 minutes for some students
  • Can convey an instructor’s frustration and disappointment with student work when not intended

Strategies for Incorporating Video Feedback

1) Make video feedback efficient for students and instructors by:

  • Writing out ideas first
  • Providing summary notes for students
  • Avoiding re-recording videos
  • Keeping videos short
  • Communicating in a timely manner
  • Considering yours and your students’ technological limitations

2) Make video feedback personable by:

  • Projecting your personality even if it means leaving mistakes in the video
  • Being positive and conversational, using compliments and hand motions
  • Envisioning strategies with the idea that students are in front of you

3) Make video feedback an effective teaching tool by using it:

  • Early in the course for your introduction
  • With the first assignment assessment to establish social presence
  • Later in the course for encouragement and promoting student success
  • With screencast videos to contextualize comments in assessment feedback
  • With webcam videos to establish social presence
  • For more complex feedback and overall comments
  • With knowledge of your setting, background, lighting, and audio quality
  • With a mixture of feedback methods including written and not just video

Scaling This Trend to Ensure Stability Is Critical

If there is one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated, it is the increased challenges instructors face creating new ways for employing effective video feedback as a medium for building caring relationships and humanizing the student’s learning experience. As Helen J. DeWaard states, “Scaling this trend to ensure stability is critical…Presenting a human face to feedback content, strategies, and sequences will continue…As a teacher in online learning spaces, it is an exciting time to focus on the human face and voice in feedback messages.”

If my experience with this medium is any indication, our students are more than receptive and will value your efforts. It brings a whole new meaning to “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!”   

About the Author

John (Blair) Clark Jr. has been a full-time faculty member of American Public University as an instructor of religion and philosophy for 17 years. He holds a Master of Divinity from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and is an ordained minister of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod. Clark calls Florida home. 

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