Audio and video feedback for students

There are many good reasons to make video or audio-only feedback for students.

  • It is easier and faster to speak as opposed to write.
  • You can employ tone and nuance more easily in your feedback which might make the feedback more effective.
  • With a student’s work open on your computer you can record your screen and point to or highlight parts of the work you refer to.
  • Students are more likely to watch or listen to it, and to engage with it.

This article outlines how you can record and send ad hoc video feedback to a student.

This article also explains how you can use the Grade Centre or the Online Marking Tool to include video feedback when marking a Blackboard submission. 

But first, a few points for consideration

Generic feedback (i.e. the same feedback for all students) really soon after the assessment deadline is some of the most effective feedback you can give students. Like it or not, several days or weeks after the assessment deadline the assessment will not be as present in students’ minds. With a video or audio recording, arguably more so than in writing, you can say what is needed at that time to support the students. A simple way to get generic feedback quickly and easily to students straight after an assessment is to send an announcement on the Blackboard module site.

Although this article refers mostly to video feedback, it is important to remember how useful a straightforward audio file is for feedback purposes. Many students prefer audio-only feedback and members of staff may feel more comfortable recording just audio feedback, too. You can use Panopto or Kaltura to record audio-only files as well as to create video files.

A smartphone can record great quality audio and video files. Upload the files into Panopto, Kaltura or OneDrive and from there the files can then be made available to students as required.

One significant benefit of using a laptop/desktop computer to make a recording (as opposed to a mobile device) is that you can more easily record what happens on your screen. You could, for example, open a submission to be assessed and make a recording of the screen as you annotate, highlight and interact in various ways with the work. This makes for a rich feedback video which could prove very valuable to your students.

A simple way to send an audio file to a student is as an email attachment. However, it is not such a good idea to send videos as attachments as the file sizes tend to be too large. In general, do not send email attachments over 10MB. Files bigger than this should be uploaded into Panopto, Kaltura or OneDrive and shared with students from there.

Audio quality matters much more than video quality. Students tire of a recording that is difficult to hear much more quickly than something that is hard to see.

Keep feedback videos short. Attention spans drop off rapidly after just six minutes of video.

Consider where you will record and save audio and video files, and, particularly if you have lots of files, how you will name them, keep these organised, available if needed and secure. You could use OneDrive to save and share files. However, a benefit of using tools like Panopto and Kaltura is that they help you to do all of these things.

Be careful to follow good data protection practice, particularly if any recordings contain personal (e.g. student) data or if you are using personal and mobile devices. Delete files when no longer needed.

Quick Tip
Use Panopto for video feedback unless you are using the Grade Centre for marking or Online Marking Tool, in which case it is best to use Kaltura.

How to record and send ad hoc video feedback via Panopto

Using Panopto is probably the easiest way to record and send a video or audio recording to an individual student. You can use Panopto to make the recording, to share it with the student so they can see it, and to send an email notification to the student telling them the recording is there to be watched.

  1. Make your desktop recording with Panopto in the usual way.
  2. Make sure it is saved in your My Folder in Panopto or the ASSESS folder for the module, NOT the main module folder. (Be careful – files saved in the main module folder can immediately be seen by all students attached to the module!)
  3. In your video library, hover over the video you want to share and click on the Share icon. This will open your sharing options.
    User-added image
  4. In the invite people area, start typing the name or email address of the student you want to share with and a list of suggested users will appear. Select the correct person, being careful to choose the correct student from the search results. (Please note, if the student has never used Panopto before, the search system will not be able to locate them.)
    User-added image
  5. Before you save, you can add a message for the person you are sharing with.

    User-added image
  6. Click Send and save changes to share the video. It will be viewable immediately by the student once they visit Panopto. If ‘Notify people via email’ is ticked an email notification is sent to the student that includes your message, letting them know the video has been shared with them.

Recording and sending video feedback in response to a Blackboard submission

When you are marking a submission received in Blackboard the easiest way to give video feedback to a student is to include a Kaltura video. You can do this when you are using the Grade Centre to mark students’ work or when using the Online Marking Tool. In either case, the option to add a Kaltura Video is found in the same place where you add written feedback for the student – under the Mashups menu found in the content editor.

Marking and feedback via the Grade Centre

  1. When using the Grade Centre to mark students’ work, the Mashups menu is found by first navigating to a student’s assignment that needs marking.
  2. Once you have located the student’s submission, click in the text area where numeric grades are entered to open the Feedback to Learner editor and then clicking the A at the bottom to open the full content editor.
    screenshot showing how to open the full content editor
  3. When the full content editor is shown in the Feedback to Learners window that opens, click on the Mashups menu and select Kaltura Video.
    screenshot showing Kaltura Media highlighted in the Mashups menu

Marking and feedback via the Online Marking Tool

  1. When using the Online Marking Tool, at the point where you can enter a grade and written feedback, click the Mashups menu and select Kaltura Video.
    screenshot showing Kaltura Media highlighted in the Mashups menu

Sending the feedback video

Once Kaltura is open you can select an existing recording from My Media, upload an existing recording from your computer or record a new video.

After you have selected your Kaltura video you will see it embedded in the text editor.
screenshot of kaltura video in content editor with save and exit button highlighted

  1. You can add text before or after the embedded video if you wish.
  2. Click the Save and Exit button. The video will be available to the student when the marks and feedback is released to them.
Why not use Panopto for video feedback via Grade Centre or Online Marking Tool?
You may have noticed that in the Mashups menu along with Kaltura Video, there is also the option for Panopto Video. So, why not use Panopto instead of Kaltura ? The simple answer is you can use Panopto Video – but the process is more risky and cumbersome!

Why risky? When choosing to upload or record a new recording via the Mashups menu in the feedback editor of the Grade Centre and Online Marking Tool, it is essential that the feedback recording intended for an individual student is NOT saved to the main module folder. Anything saved in the main module folder is immediately viewable by all other students on the module! Unfortunately, the default folder selected for recordings to be saved to is the main folder for the module and it is very easy to forget to change where to save a recording and to accidentally save feedback video in the wrong place. Doing so might easily be a GDPR breach which would require reporting. Most importantly, if you use Panopto for feedback videos, make sure to save the recording in your My Folder or the Assess folder for the module.

Why cumbersome? For one of your Panopto videos to be viewable by a specific student only, you must share it directly with the student’s email address. So if you are using the Grade Centre or Online Marking Tool to do your marking, with Panopto it is a two-stage process:

  1. In the Grade Centre or Online Marking Tool – embed your Panopto video in the content editor as feedback.
  2. In Panopto – invite the student to view the video (see points 3 and 4 above under ‘How to record and send ad hoc video feedback via Panopto’.

If you only do the first of the above points and not the second as well, the student will not be able to view the recording.