The following page is designed to improve the feedback you offer students by acting as a resource for easy-to-use screen-capture technology. 


  • To make evaluation a dynamic, participatory, and interactive experience
  • To move assessment into an ongoing conversation that highlights revision
  • To increase student motivation for revising written essays and portfolios
  • To save time while grading and evaluating written feedback

Free Resources:


Positives: easy to install and manipulate; forces five minutes time limit to keep response short. Drawbacks: limit of five minutes. Files export as Shock Wave File (SWF) and typically need to be opened in a Firefox browser to view


Positives: quick, easy interface. Drawbacks: no editing available, so you need to have a plan before you begin recording


Positives: you can add text between clips to create a more dynamic. Drawbacks: you cannot export a file yourself, but you can export the file to youtube

Blueberry FlashBack Express Recorder

Positives: lets you use your webcam to record yourself while recording the activities that are happening on your desktop. After you have stopped recording, it creates an FBR (flashback) file which can be edited with its packaged video editor. Drawbacks: requires you to register (for a free account) after 30 days of use


Free for screen captures of up to 15 minutes. If you pay $15, you get unlimited time.


Positives: screen recording program without having to install a program. Drawbacks: five minute limit; requires account creation

Screencastify (a chrome extension)

If you have a Mac, you can also use QuickTime player and/or Screenflow. 

Paid Resources:

  1. Snagit ($50.00; $40.00 with educational discount)
  2. Camtasia; an advanced program for editing videos ($300; $100 with an educational discount)

Step by Step Instructions:

  1. Grade the paper; if you have time, add comments
  2. Decide what kind of feedback you’re going to give
  3. Do you want to give an audio file only?
  4. Do you want to give a screencast of the paper with an audio voiceover?
  5. Do you want to give a video of yourself?
  6. Do you want to give video and a screencast of yourself?
  7. Decide which program you want to use
  8. Play around with it a little
  9. Offering your students responses
  10. For larger files, you’ll need to zip the file
  11. Make sure your students know how to open the file (explain the kind of file extension and ensure they have the appropriate software to open it)


  1. Position yourself as a novice: I preface all of my voiceovers and videos as a conversation; this allows me to mess up a few times and still receive the benefit of the doubt from students—and it saves time!
  2. Seek Feedback: Tell your students about this kind of feedback and ask them their thoughts about it; in my experiences, they really like it (it’s new) and they come to my office hours to discuss.
  3. Position this feedback as opportunity: This kind of feedback helps students in revising. In my experiences, students enjoy this feedback and are more willing to participate in revision of future (or current) papers.
  4. A Variety of Benefits: While you may not save time initially, in the long run, this can save time in looking at and responding to student drafts, offering overall portfolio comments, and helping to embody your voice (tone, delivery, inflection) which can help students to better understand your comments, concerns, and—most importantly—what students did effectively!

Try searching for “Free screen capture” programs—a plethora is out there!

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign