CCCC 2006 in Review
Scott Warnock began by reviewing the literature on audio commentary by Fitzpatrick, Sommers, Sipple, Anson and others. Today it seems quaint to think about instructors giving feedback on audio cassette or reel-to-reel. Nevertheless, Warnock showed it was done with some success, and in this presentation, he showed the potential of using present day technology.
In this small study, Warnock used three modes of giving feedback on three different essays that were assigned in the same class. For the first essay he gave written feedback using a rubric program (Waypoint), for the second essay he had conferences, and for the third essay he gave feedback using video capture software called Camtasia. Briefly, the Camtasia software enables him to make an audio recording and a digital video recording of his computer screen. He gets the student's essay up on the screen and, using highlighting and the pen feature of his notebook computer, Warnock can give his comments verbally while highlighting passages. This is saved as an A/V file, and can be viewed at the student's convenience. Warnock shows how easily this can be done provided, of course, that you have the right equipment, software, and institutional support.
Warnock pointed out that he used this process for only about five minutes of commentary. Also, he reads the draft through once before he makes the A/V file. This shows that he has a clear idea of what students can absorb in this format. Based on Warnock's suggestion, I tried this for one essay last year, and found that I was taking too long-I ran on for 20 minutes and when I previewed the file I decided that the student wouldn't sit through it. Also, I disgusted myself with my "uh's" and "duh's."
Warnock presented some results to his study. Thirty-five percent of students favored the conferences, twenty-seven percent favored the A/V feedback, fifteen percent favored written comments with a rubric, and twenty-three percent had no preference. One of the more intriguing statistics, however, concerned the amount of time it took for the responses. Warnock calculated that he could do four essays per hour if he wrote margin comments, five per hour if he used Waypoint, and six per hour using A/V captures. For those who teach multiple sections of freshman comp, this time savings can be dramatic. Warnock's ideas about A/V feedback merit further consideration.
For more information on the CCCC 2006 conference,
visit the NCTE Web site at http://www.ncte.org/profdev/conv/cccc/.