Capture50: A tool to facilitate peer review and assessment

Awardees: Dan Coffey and David J. Malan (SEAS)

Summary: Awardees will provide a low-cost tool that automatically captures video of instructors, facilitating more robust peer review and frequent opportunity for pedagogical assessment.

Dan Coffey, in collaboration with his CS50 colleagues, aspired to develop a system enabling a more regular opportunity for teaching fellows (TFs) to receive pedagogical feedback in real teaching situations. Inspired by his own experience seeing himself on film in CS50, Coffey expanded an AY14 pilot project (“Capture50”) and installed low-cost cameras and microphones in seven classrooms in Maxwell Dworkin. The filming option was available to any course scheduled in these rooms, some from CS50.

The recording of every course section meeting provided students the flexibility to review any course meeting material, and provided TFs a rare mechanism for regular self-assessment. Coffey improved upon the pilot project by including screen captures of the instructor’s laptop/slides, stitched together with the video of their instruction. He learned that in order to control the audio quality within recordings, installing microphones in the ceiling eliminated user error in properly wearing or operating a lavalier mic.

Nearly two thirds of CS50 TFs were paired in a peer-to-peer mentoring model to review each other’s recording and provide feedback. Even with this option available, Coffey observed that many of the recordings were not viewed and imagines that another iteration of the project would formalize the mentoring model.