Journal on Empowering Teaching Excellence


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The transition to Higher Education is full of new challenges for students not least the challenge to develop a style of writing expected within one’s discipline of study at the HE level. Feedback on students’ assessments can be one way that guides students to focus on the aspects of their writing that they should aim to improve at different points of their study but often students report difficulty in understanding markers’ comments and exactly how to improve on these skills. We developed a library of 27 five minute ‘How to…’ videos to support the development of student academic writing with their key use being in the feedforward practice of markers, pointing students to relevant videos that can help to develop their writing skills at that point of their learning. Three semi-structured focus groups were conducted with students who had watched at least one of these videos, transcribed and analysed for emerging themes with four themes being identified (1. Characteristics of the videos; 2. When and why students watched the videos; 3. Using the videos to understand expectations; and 4. The effects on student writing and their marks). The data show that students valued the use of these videos in the feedforward information on their assessments. The use of examples in the videos were mentioned by students as a key benefit to them. Some students reported almost immediate improvements to marks after viewing one or more video. This suggests that using a library of videos which provide further information on how students can improve their writing is useful to integrate into feedforward practices.