This post has been de-prioritised for about a month now as. I was about to just scrap the idea since the 9x9x25 challenge is technically over but students kept thanking me for using video to mark their work so I decided that I had to share. The feedback quoted in this post was all unsolicited – numerous additional students have thanked me in various ways for trying something new: Video feedback for written work.

IO-Images / Pixabay

Thank you for this video grade. I loved it! This has probably been the most helpful/effective grading process I’ve ever received. 

The process was simple and actually, in my opinion, saved me time. That was a surprise. It was an idea that I decided to take action on after talking to Jess about our webinar with eCampusOntario (below). We talked about ways to use open media – including audio and video – in our practice.


Creating videos can be quite a time-consuming endeavour – but as any video creator will tell you that time comes in the post-processing of the video, not the recording. When I mark using a video I do not do any editing. Sometimes my kids or husband can be heard in the background. One time he didn’t know I was marking and started blasting Everybody was Kung-Fu Fighting upstairs for the kids. My office is downstairs but it could be heard. I simply apologized to the student and finished up the recording. This was the response:

Much appreciated! The background noise is beautiful ;). Love the sound of children enjoying life.

Have a wonderful day!


The trick to keeping this approach efficient is to avoid editing and choose a fast screen capture program. Most people I have talked to in academia will tell you to use Screencast-O-Matic because it is easy to use. There is, however, some processing time for the videos. Personally, I prefer OBS. OBS takes some time to set-up but has no processing or rendering time once it is up and running – and it is free. I figured out how to set mine up quite easily using some YouTube videos. Now I simply press “start recording,” record, and press “stop recording.” The file appears immediately in the folder I wanted it to (The one I have designated for marking). If I wanted to edit the video I might use Camtasia, but editing would mean adding a lot more time to the process.

Thank you for taking the time to make and send the video. I appreciate the constructive feedback and plan to improve APA skills for the future. 

Sharing the videos (and audio recordings of feedback given to students during our meetings) was easy. At first, I tried private YouTube videos, but now I use Google Drive folders. Each student has a folder named by their name. The problem with private YouTube videos was the processing time and need to add the student’s email address each time. Roberto Blake, a YouTuber I have gotten some tips from, talks about the importance of improving your process to improve efficiency. Dan, my husband, has been encouraging me to do the same thing for years, which is why I developed a document with standard APA comments instead of re-typing them a million times. Standard comments is another huge time saver.

Wokandapix / Pixabay

Once the folders are set up and shared with the student any files are easily shared, which speeds up the overall process. If there is only one file being shared it makes sense to just share the file, but in many cases, multiple files will be shared with one student. A shared folder saves you from looking up their email address and copy/pasting it multiple times. Taking the time to set up a good process saves so much time in the end!

Recording tips

I try to reduce background noise. Every time I talk about recording video in a presentation the importance of audio is always seen as more important than video quality. If you have a good microphone use it. However, as long as background noise is not overpowering I have a higher tolerance for it in this type of video. The kids (or music) playing in the distance do not overpower the sound of my voice. What is importnat here is that they can hear you. I recommend doing a short test before the first recording.

Thank you for a wonderful semester. I enjoyed your course. I thought it was well organized, and I appreciated your regular feedback. I absolutely loved your grading style for the thesis paper! I have ranted and raved about it since. I wish every paper was graded that way.

Picture the student in front of you. When I mark via video as soon as I press record I am talking to the student. Just like when I am marking in writing I am constructive. I remind myself before I press record that they will be more receptive to feedback that is framed in a positive future-focused way. In my first year of teaching a student in my clinical group taught me how important it was to use the Oreo method (that is what he called it).

1150199 / Pixabay

I try to not only put the negative thing between two positive things but point out even more positive things. I find that when students are able to keep building on the same work in a course it is really easy to be future focused.

… I also really appreciated the video feedback for our essays and thought it was very creative and personal. …

The difference with video is that they can hear exactly how I react to their work. Sometimes I will say “huh?” and re-read a segment to them. Then I talk through how I figure out what I think they are trying to say. I have had students tell me that it was really neat being able to see exactly where I had a difficult time reading their sentences. It helped them see where to edit for the next time. Or, when a student swears in a paper …

Thank you for your dedication to this course and for the .mp4 feedback while grading the essays.  I think it was worth including the word “[*****]” in my essay to hear your reaction!  In all seriousness – I will not make that mistake in the future!

Sometimes I will edit their files on video. Sometimes I read their work out loud and other times I read in my head (and tell them that is what I am doing). When I read out loud and need to backtrack to figure out what was being said they hear that.

I appreciated your video feedback on the paper, I found it very helpful for future papers in this program.

Be natural. My process is to have the rubric on a split screen or beside the student’s work. I still have my APA Marking Comments sheet open and I let them see how I use it.

Save files by student name and date. OBS saves the file by the recording date in the folder I specified in the settings. I am always careful to open files and double check the name of the student before adding their name to the video file. I never want to make the mistake of giving a student’s feedback to the wrong person. I start the videos with their title page on the screen and address them by name before I start marking so it is easy to see who’s video it is. When recording audio feedback I also always start with the student’s name.


Here is a quick unedited look at my video grading set-up:


Laura Killam is an experienced nursing educator from Northern Ontario with a keen interest in improving student learning through innovation. For more information please visit


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