ACM Logo  An ACM Publication  |  CONTRIBUTE  |  FOLLOW    

Screencasting Technology to Increase Engagement in Online Higher Education Courses

Special Issue: Instructional Technology in the Online Classroom

By Shaunna Waltemeyer, Jeff Cranmore / December 2018

Print Email
Comments Instapaper

The increase in online courses at the college level offers many opportunities for learners. Hersman [1] noted increases in online enrollment are attributed to the convenient nature of online learning. Students can work at their own pace, in an environment that is conducive to their personal learning style, and at hours that that allow virtual students to meet the demands of their professional and personal commitments. Learners further report increases in these benefits when working with engaging course material and instructors. In online classes, instructor interactions with students is challenging, often relying on discussion forums and written feedback [2] . The use of video and audio recording can be used to minimize feelings of isolation and give direct contact with faculty.

The purpose of this paper is to provide a review of screencasting technology such as Loom, a technology that can be used to increase engagement in virtual higher education classes. Screencasting allows instructors to use video and audio elements to record material for students to view. This may be in the form of instructional material, demonstrations, or individual feedback. These videos can be viewed multiple times by students for additional review. For asynchronous classes, the instructor can create a single recording to be viewed throughout the course. Due to the practical nature of having a permanent recording, the video may offer a personal connection between instructors and students. Students may be able to see and hear the instructor, which is not always the case in online classes.

Impact of Video Feedback

Murphy et al. [3] stated deeper assignment feedback, which includes identifying weaknesses in content, is more effective and valuable than surface-level feedback on formatting or spelling and grammar. West et al. [4] recounted a study in which students at a four-year university preferred video feedback nearly three times more than written feedback, and that they placed a higher value on video feedback. Evans [5] added the ability to incorporate asynchronous video feedback allowed for increased social dynamic between instructors and students. The visual cues in video feedback created an environment in which students identify their instructor as a real person [6]. Prior research suggested students place a high value on video feedback due to the personalization, easy to understand comments, and provided more feedback in a lesser amount of time [4] . As such, video feedback allowed students the ability to view assignment feedback as often as needed at times that fit within their schedules while allowing instructors to highlight key areas of the assignment to focus on in terms of format and content to avoid the same mistakes in future assignments [4, 7].

Student Engagement and Social Connections

One unique challenge of online education is building a rapport between the instructor and student. According to Glazier [8]the lack of a rapport in the online classroom can lead to poor student performance, disconnecting from the course and instructor, and eventually dropping the class entirely. Research suggested the majority of students valued video feedback as they found it personalized, specific, motivating, caring, and clear [9]. Building rapports between online instructors and students is an important element of student success. Glazier [8]explained rapport can be established through the use of technology feedback tools, positive and collaborative communication, access to the instructor, and personalized instruction. When compared to similar text feedback, students found video feedback more personal and effective due to seeing facial cues, non-verbal mannerisms, and voice tone and inflection [10].

Screencasting Technology

Screencasting technology allows the instructor to capture live video by incorporating the desktop and voice/video recordings. Several free screencasting programs are available, such as: Microsoft Expression Encoder 4, Ezvid Video Maker, TinyTake, Open Broadcaster Software, VLC, Screen O Matic, Game Bar on Windows 10, and Loom. Loom is available for download via and presented as "The ultra-flexible communication tool with endless use cases." The developers recommend several possible uses for Loom, including: consulting, customer service, education, information technology, employee training, sales, and marketing. In the educational setting, Loom provides instructors a variety of feedback options including video tutorials and personal videos on specific assignments. Loom is quick and easy to install by accessing Google Chrome and clicking "One-Click Install" and following the step-by-step instructions. The website provides a short video for those in need of visual instructions. Loom is a free tool; however, optional upgrades are available for purchase.

Instructional practices. Screencasting technology gives not only a face but a voice to distance instructors. By making online teachers more human they can become more accessible, providing a greater chance for students to engage with them. Loom allows instructors to provide audio and video feedback for assignments. The software has applications in providing direct feedback to students. Additionally, it can be used for direct instruction, including demonstrations and modeling steps. When instructors create these videos, they can be used to form a library of instructional steps and demonstration that can be accessed by students.

Individual feedback. One of the primary goals of screencasting technology is to help instructors provide detailed audio and visual feedback. An instructor can grade a paper can make corrections using track changes, while simultaneously providing audio commentary. Students can view the instructor rewrite a sentence, while listening to the recording of the instructor explaining the changes. Additionally, this video is downloadable, and can be viewed multiple times by the student, as they prepare to write the next paper. Instructors teaching courses requiring written assignments historically struggle in providing effective feedback to address mistakes and guide revisions [11].

Demonstrations. Instructors can create videos that demonstrate certain tasks. This might include how to upload assignments, access online resources, or how to set headings in a paper. Additionally, these videos can be used to create an online library of these types of demonstrations as a permanent resource. Instructors can re-use these demonstrations and load them into each class, or onto a permanent website for student access.

Modeling. Screencasting technology offers the teacher the opportunity to make videos that can demonstrate instructional practices. This may include citing references in proper APA style or solving certain multiple step problems in math. These models could serve as instructional resources that can be reviewed by students in asynchronous classes or to review material before exams. Avci et al. [12] found an increased appreciation of mathematics in students in online classes that utilized instructor voice-based communication in the class.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The primary purpose of this paper was to explore possible uses for screencasting technology in higher education. The combination of video and audio feedback offers instructors a way to connect with distance learners. Increased connection can lead to improved student satisfaction with courses, increased engagement, and desired learning outcomes. The paper outlines several possible outcomes for screencasting in the virtual classroom.

Additional research on screencasting technology in higher education is needed to determine instructors' level of comfort with technology as well as student outcomes. Both quantitative and qualitative methodologies can be used to explore the multiple possible benefits of screencasting from both instructor and student perceptions. Finally, further research can explore increased perceptions of engagement when screencasting is used in virtual classrooms.


[1] Hersman, B. L. Increasing student engagement in online classes. Chronicle of Kinesiology & Physical Education in Higher Education 25, 2 (2014), 23-25.

[2] Parsda, B. and Lewis, L. Distance education at degree-granting postsecondary institutions: 2006-07. World Wide Web Internet and Web Information Systems (2009).

[3] Murphy, K. and Barry, S. Feed-forward: students gaining more from assessment deeper engagement in video-recorded presentations. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 41, 2 (2016), 213-227.

[4] West, J. and Turner, W. Enhancing the assessment experience: Improving student perceptions, engagement and understanding using online video feedback. Innovations in Education and Teaching International 53, 4 (2016), 400-410.

[5] Evans, C. Making sense of assessment feedback in higher education. Review of Educational Research 83, 1 (2013), 70-120.

[6] Silva, M.L. Camtasia in the classroom: Student attitudes and preferences for video commentary or Microsoft Word comments during the revision process. Computers and Composition 29, 1 (2012), 1-22.

[7] Soden, B. 2017. The case of screencast feedback: Barriers to the use of learning technology. Innovative Practice in Higher Education 3, 1 (2017), 1-21.

[8] Glazier, R.A. Building rapport to improve retention and success in online classes. Journal of Political Science Education 12, 4 (2016), 437-456.

[9] Henderson, M. and Phillips, M. Video-based feedback on student assessment: scarily personal. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology 31, 1 (2015), 51-66.

[10] Borup, J., et al. Improving online social presence through asynchronous video. The Internet and Higher Education 15, 3 (2012), 195-203.

[11] Thompson, R. and Lee, M. J. Talking with students through screencasting: Experimentations with video feedback to improve student learning. The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy 1, 1 (2012).

[12] Avci, Z.Y., et al. An exploration of student attitudes towards online communication and collaboration in mathematics and technology. International Online Journal of Educational Sciences 7, 1 (2015), 1-17.

About the Authors

Shaunna Waltemeyer is a full-time faculty member in the Colangelo College of Business at Grand Canyon University. She teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in leadership, organizational behavior, management, and marketing. Shaunna is currently completing her Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership and Development.

Jeff Cranmore has been a high school counselor for the past 13 years. He has presented numerous sessions on counseling issues at a wide variety of conferences, including the Texas Counselling Association (TCA), Texas School Counseling Association, and the International Association of Truancy and Dropout Prevention. He has been awarded the TCA awards for research and scholarly writing. His research appears in a number of state and national journals. Additionally, he works as a dissertation chair and teaches doctoral psychology classes at Grand Canyon University.

Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than ACM must be honored. Abstracting with credit is permitted. To copy otherwise, or republish, to post on servers or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Request permissions from [email protected].

© ACM 2018. 1535-394X/18/12-3236693 $15.00


  • There are no comments at this time.