Many instructors use video recordings of student presentations or oral exams to give feedback or provide other assessment of student speech. Often, the process for doing these recordings, downloading them from the device to a computer, uploading them to Canvas or another service, and then providing feedback or grading to students, involved a cumbersome and lengthy process that slowed down the time between the student’s production and receiving their actual feedback. This can make correcting mistakes or improving skills before moving on to other material difficult, or in some cases impossible, to say nothing of it just being a very tedious ordeal.

With that in mind, the LRC began developing an automated workflow for these kinds of tasks, which we have affectionately called the “Vidworker Robot”. We piloted this workflow with the ELI, who have been regularly recording oral presentations and providing feedback to students using an online service called Viddler. Viddler allows instructors and students to provide comments and feedback inline on the video timeline, providing more context and pinpointing the feedback to specific examples. Additionally, comments can also be given as video and not just text in Viddler.

In order to reduce the steps necessary to complete the feedback cycle as much as we could, we decided to use iPads, which are WiFi accessible devices. This meant no more having to transfer files via memory cards or USB cables to a computer. The iPads use an app called “Capture” that was provided by and records videos, audio, or images directly to a shared online storage space (which means no worrying about running out of physical storage space on the device). Since all UM faculty, staff, and students have access to as for cloud storage, this meant we could integrate UM-approved and supported services.

The iPad setups have a sturdy tripod-mountable case, which also has a mount for a nice Rode VideoMicro microphone, which provides great directional audio quality. The case also allows you to attach a widescreen lens which is useful for capturing the full front of the room view, so there is less need to have to manually follow a speaker that likes to roam back and forth.

Once a video has been recorded, the Vidworker Robot routinely scans the shared folder, looking for any new videos. Once it finds one, it pulls it down, does any processing we want it to, and then uploads it to Viddler automatically. Once the video has been successfully uploaded to Viddler, an email is sent to the instructor with the shareable link and a screenshot. The instructor can then forward that email to the student for review.

This effectively shortens the workflow to a simple process of “press record, get email”, leaving all the tedious logistical work to the Robot.

Since the initial ELI pilot, the process has been so successful that the ELI expanded its use to all faculty. Additionally, the LRC has used this same setup with Italian courses doing “gallery walk” style student presentations.

If you would like more info about this setup, you can contact the LRC and set up a consultation.