Skip to content

by Karen Nichols

Feedback Computer Key In Blue Showing Opinions And Surveys

Faculty Focus, a publication I value a lot, posted an article on January 8, 2016 explaining the benefits of screencasting feedback to students.  Dr. Ron Martinez, the author, talked about his solution to providing students one-to-one feedback about their essays in his oversized class.  He was seeking a way to give the personalization when he could not individually meet with every student about every essay.  Using Screencast-o-matic, he was able to provide that personal touch.

There are multiple screencast apps out there, and we offer Camtasia Studio to our faculty.  However, there's a bit of a learning curve and faculty have to trek over here to our office and schedule time in advance in order to use it.  I shared this article on screencasting feedback with my colleagues here in the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development.

Dr. Jay Todd, our Associate Director, has already experimented with it in his English composition class.  Here's his feedback about screencasting feedback:

I used Screencast-O-Matic to make a video for my classes yesterday, since I waited until the last minute.... It worked pretty well, although the default quality of the video it posted to YouTube was significantly lower than I prefer. The free version doesn't allow any editing and includes a watermark, but the Pro version is only $15/year.  It has a much easier learning curve than Camtasia, at least the recording part.

So it seems that reading Dr. Martinez' article and downloading Screencast-o-matic may be useful, especially if you don't care to type pages of correction notes.  One caveat from Dr. Martinez is that screencasting your feedback is not necessarily a timesaver. I hope the fact that you can work outside of office hours, does give you more flexibility in how you distribute the time needed to provide such personalized feedback.  Let us know if you decide to try screencasting and what you think of it.

(For more information on various types of helpful feedback, see Janice Florent's recent blog post:  Give Students Feedback that Helps Them Learn.)

by Janice Florent

person with hands resting on book with fingers interlaced

Flipped learning environments are dynamic, interactive, and engaging. Students are actively engaged in solving problems, talking with each other, working through a task, or creating a product. The instructor provides assistance and asks questions when necessary. The instructor might take a moment to gather everyone’s attention and provide an explanation or reinforce a concept, but then the energy would immediately “flip” back to the students.

"You want your students to be active; you’ve got to be a little passive." –Professor Timothy Bresnahan, Stanford University

At its core, the flip shifts the focus from the instructor to the students. The flip occurs because the focus is on what the students are doing, not on what the instructor is doing. If we relate this idea to the quote above, you could say the instructor is being more passive while the students are being more active. The instructor is being what Dr. Barbi Honeycutt, in a FlipIt article, calls “actively passive” because it takes a great deal of energy, attention and awareness to step to the side and support students’ learning in this type of environment.

In the article, Dr. Barbi Honeycutt goes on to suggest three ways instructors can be “actively passive.” Those suggestions are:

1. Embrace messy.

A flipped classroom is “messy” which means students are often working through problems or confronting situations where there might not be a clear answer or a perfect approach. If the instructor needs structure, control, and needs to know exactly what to expect at every moment in the lesson plan, then this will probably be the most difficult challenge for them to tackle.

This might also be the most challenging task for the students to tackle as well. Some students do not appreciate the “gray” area in the learning process. This is a teachable moment and one that the instructor can model for the students. This does not mean the instructor has to let go of control of the classroom. They still plan and organize, but should allow time and provide structure for students to practice, make mistakes, try again, and make connections about the course material.

2. Ask effective questions.

A flipped class is active. Students are always engaged in a task or working on a problem, and the instructor’s role is to support that learning process. When the instructor is serving as the “guide on the side,” it’s essential for the instructor to ask questions that generate a response. Avoid questions that have a “yes or no” response which doesn’t stimulate critical thinking or analysis.

3. Be quiet.

Students in a flipped class should be thinking, analyzing and creating. As they work, the instructor’s role is to let the learning happen. This means the instructor is there for the students, providing resources, and organizing the structure, but it also means stepping back and letting students work through the learning process without too much input from the instructor until they need it of course. For many instructors, silence in the classroom is awkward and they want to fill up the time by talking more, lecturing more, or sharing more examples. But sometimes students need quiet time to think, to process or to review what they’ve just learned.

If this has piqued your interest, you can read more in Dr. Honeycutt’s article “Be Actively Passive: 3 Strategies to Be Successful in Flipped Learning Environments.”

Photo credit: Patrick Fore | CC BY CC0 1.0

by Karen Nichols

Since Inverted Learning is this year's theme for CAT+FD and we are having workshops and information on flipping, here's a free, handy tool for annotating videos that you may wish your students to watch in advance of class. MoocNote does require an account but it's very easy to set up and does not ask for all of your personal information.  Here are the steps to getting started:

1.  Go to the MoocNote homepage and click on Sign Up.

2.  Enter your email and choose a password.  You're in!

3.  Once you're inside MoocNote you may import one video or an entire playlist from YouTube by entering the URL.

4.  Assign your video to a group (it can be a group of 1 if you wish).

5.  Begin viewing the video and stop it at key points to use add notes, questions, a resource link, etc.  The textbox and buttons are located directly beneath the video you're viewing.

Add notes links hotkeys

6.  Once you've finished, return to the Dashboard and you will see all of the notes you've made on the right side of the screen.  In the center, you will see the option to Share the video with others.

7.  Note that your students or anyone with whom you share the video will need to create a MoocNote account in order to view it.   I'm looking into any plans the company has to make links available in Blackboard to view from there.  Perhaps that will be coming later!

We've experimented with this in our ETC (Educational Technology Community) virtual meeting and some of the instructors find this may be a useful tool.  I want to share a video with my French 1020 students to get their feedback as well.  Please let us know if this app is handy for your needs too!