In the article, Four tips for writing effective feedback (part 1) – DLaT Hub (dmu.ac.uk), we began looking at different ways to write effective feedback. Feedback provides a useful leaning opportunity but only if certain conditions are met. So, here are some more tips to help you write effective feedback.
Tip 5: Formative Feedback
Feedback should be seen as a continuing process and not an isolated event. Providing feedback early on in a module for low risk activities prepares students for the more high-stakes assignments later on in their module. So, consider ways you provide formative feedback to your students on specific tasks that builds up their understanding.
“The main goal of formative feedback – whether delivered by a teacher or a computer, in the classroom or elsewhere – is to enhance learning, performance or both, engendering the formation of accurate targeted conceptualizations and skills.” (Shute, 2008)
To be effective, formative feedback depends on: the student actually needing the feedback in the first place; the feedback being received in time for the students to make use of it; and finally, that the student is willing and able to act on it (Shute, 2008).
Formative feedback can take many forms, such as automated responses within tests and quizzes, which can consolidate learning. Other forms of formative assignments, where feedback can be deployed, include assignment tutorials, draft submissions, worked examples, and ungraded peer reviews. Students providing and receiving peer feedback is popular and encourages student engagement and interaction (JISC, 2015; Shute, 2008; McCarthy, 2017).
Tip 6: Blackboard Grade Centre
Feedback can be provided to students using many of the core technologies that we use at DMU, such as Turnitin and Blackboard. The Blackboard Grade Centre can be used to provide students with feedback to assignments or activities, by utilising the appropriate grade centre column where documents can be uploaded to provide feedback. Online tests and quizzes created within Blackboard can also include automated feedback to be released immediately or at a later date.
If students are not able to attend a face to face exam follow the process of Setting up and managing an online exam using a Blackboard Test – DLaT Hub (dmu.ac.uk), which includes how to provide feedback.
Tip 7: Audio or Video Feedback
Feedback is not just used for written activities, but can also be provided for portfolios, presentations, videos, podcasts, and multimedia assignments. Feedback can reflect this multimedia presentation by being delivered as written, aural, audio or video commentary.
Voice feedback can be quick for a tutor to produce and research indicates it can be more engaging for the student.
“Students appear to enjoy audio feedback and people usually prefer things that they enjoy to those they do not.” (Lunt, et al., 2010)
It is worth considering using Turnitin Feedback Studio to add audio comments to written assignments, as the audio monologue “can use a wider, richer and more direct vocabulary that formal written English permits” (Lunt, et al., 2010).
Do ensure that you provide a recording of any informal feedback to students so that they can return to it for reflection or when preparing future assignments. If you want to provide audio or video feedback you can use DMU Replay to set up private folders for students’ feedback, see Setting up Folders for student feedback – CELT Hub (dmu.ac.uk).
Tip 8: Ensure Feedback is Consistent
Feedback is ineffective if students do not use it. For students to engage with any feedback provided they need to trust and value the comments made. This requires that your feedback comments are consistent across assignments and students. When you provide your students with an assignment brief, base it on a template that includes details about what feedback will be provided, along with when it will be available and how they can use it (JISC, 2015).
Likewise, if there are multiple markers, you may consider checking they are providing consistent feedback. Inconsistent feedback from different markers can be discouraging (Li, 2014). In summary, try to ensure consistency on a programme and especially within a module with moderation.
Using a pre-defined matrix can help ensure consistent marking and enable quick mark calculations (JISC, 2015). Rubrics and marking grids help markers by providing a consistent feedback structure, see Using rubrics to communicate marking criteria and provide feedback – DLaT Hub (dmu.ac.uk).
Look out for more tips to the last article to this series that will follow shortly. Further advice on effective feedback is available in Pearson’s Providing Educational Feedback. There is also guidance on different ways of proving feedback at DMU is available at Support Using Technology – CELT Hub (dmu.ac.uk). There are also case studies involving providing feedback at Effective Practice in the use of ELT @ DMU – CELT Hub.
JISC (2015) Feedback and feed forward. Transforming assessment and feedback with technology. Available at: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/transforming-assessment-and-feedback/feedback
Li, J. and De Luca, R. (2014) ‘Review of assessment feedback’, Studies in Higher Education, 39:2, 378-393.
Lunt, T. and Curran, J. (2010) ‘“Are you listening please?” The advantages of electronic audio feedback compared to written feedback’, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35(7), pp. 759–769.
McCarthy, J. (2017) ‘Enhancing feedback in higher education: Students’ attitudes towards online and in-class formative assessment feedback models’, Active Learning in Higher Education, 18(2), pp. 127–141.
Pearson Education (2016) Providing Educational Feedback, Higher Education Services White Paper.
Shute, V. J. (2008) ‘Focus on Formative Feedback’, Review of Educational Research, 78(1), pp. 153–189.