By Dominique Bourg Hacker
Dominique Bourg Hacker is the 2015-16 TA Coordinator of the Online Writing Center at UW-Madison, where she has been a tutor since fall 2010. Dominique is also a PhD candidate in English literary studies writing a dissertation on contemporary South African and Caribbean fiction, gardens, and environmental imaginaries.
Before my work began as Coordinator of the Online Writing Center, I knew that I wanted to integrate screencasting into the email consultants’ workload. Screencasting is a video recording of your computer screen accompanied by voice narration. My predecessor, Mike Shapiro, had experimented with the technology in Summer 2014 and the student response was overwhelmingly positive; many students stated that they would rewatch their screencast 5 or more times. The recent studies I came across, likewise, heaped more praise on screencast technologies. Chris Anson et al. found that students:
“perceived that screencast technologies facilitated personal connections; made transparent the teacher’s evaluative process, revealed the teacher’s feelings, provided visual affirmation, […and] seemed to account for students’ face-related needs (belonging, respect, and autonomy) and hence mitigated the predominant face-threatening potential of the evaluative space” (3).
Riki Thompson and Meredith Lee’s study revealed:
“that explanations within video feedback made the thought process of the reader visible, allowing [students] to identify problems. Thus, [f]eedback provided students with greater guidance about how to improve.”
I was so excited by the possibilities of helping students gain audience awareness as they heard their reader talk through how one moment was confusing or interesting while simultaneously enabling tutors to make personal connections without face-to-face interaction. Continue reading