AOI | Learning Innovations

Faculty Insider


Weekly Tip: Feedback

What is feedback?

In its many forms, feedback provides both students and instructors with ways to explore, improve, or reconsider their work and approaches to learning and teaching.

Feedback provides opportunities for:

  • Reflecting on a process.
  • Student to student collaboration.
  • Student to instructor feedback.
  • Preparing for future assignments and tests.

“Given that evaluation is the highest level of the cognitive domain, students themselves should be challenged to learn assessment techniques in which they assess work in exactly the same ways used by experts in the particular domain. Not only does this raise the level of student learning, it can also provide cycles of self- and peer-formative assessment, relieving faculty of part of the formative assessment workload.”

—Association of American Colleges and Universities, Liberal Education Outcomes: A Preliminary Report on Student Achievement in College (pdf)

Strategies

There are three key components to providing feedback. Rich feedback offers recipients with insights and details into what they could improve or do differently. Frequent feedback allows students multiple opportunities to reflect on their work and allows instructors to see where students may be struggling in their learning processes. Lastly, consistent feedback can ensure the focus of the feedback is on what students were asked to do.

Below are various feedback strategies that can be used frequently and do not require a significant set up or grading time. Additionally, the strategies presented build the capacity of your students, making them active members of a course.

  • Rubrics help guide feedback and ensure assessment consistency. When provided to students, transparency of expectations and focus on relevant requirements are increased. Students can also use rubrics to complete self-assessments and peer feedback, allowing students to reflect on their work and develop critiquing skills.
  • Think-Aloud Processing and Feedback, a form of modeling, works well to give many or individual students feedback. The strategy involves an expert walking students through the expert’s mental process of completing a procedure. Students can also practice Think-Aloud Processing and Feedback with their peers, allowing them to receive instant feedback on their process and observe how others approach the same task.  Think-Aloud Processing and Feedback can be implemented to the assessment of course work. Instructors can talk through their assessment and grading process with students, highlighting components of the rubric.
  • Social annotation is another strategy that is student driven rather than instructor driven. Students think through and share comments related to a concept or work using a tool like Perusall, Twitter, or threaded discussions in Blackboard. Feedback is achieved through the ability to comment and respond to a previous post. Through this method, students can see interconnections between ideas and instructors can identify areas of confusion.
  • Mini-lessons or overarching feedback provide feedback on a common problem-area identified by the instructor to the entire class. Feedback can be provided using tools like Panopto, VoiceThread, or the Announcements feature in Blackboard. These forms of feedback eliminate the need to repeat comments on students’ work. Mini-lessons and overarching feedback also reassure struggling students that they are not alone in their confusion about certain elements or concepts being covered in the class.
  • Anonymous surveys are simple, non-graded, activities designed to give you and your students useful feedback on the teaching-learning process as it is happening. Asking questions like “What has been the muddiest point so far in this session?” or “What topic remains the least clear to you” are good ways to determine if your class is ready to move forward.
  • Random selection is a method that simplifies the feedback process of responses in discussion boards and low-stakes assignments by selecting a small percentage of student submissions to assess. Students should be made aware in advance that this method will be implemented, and they should be provided with the rubric that will be used. Through random selection, the instructor saves time while still emphasizing that all students are expected to meet assignment standards.
  • Expert feedback involves a field or industry expert in the feedback process. Feedback from an industry expert provides students with the opportunity to see how what they are learning in a course transfers to the industry. Expert feedback is also a good way to get buy-in from students as they are able to see the relevance and authenticity of the feedback they receive.
    Instructors can also receive feedback by working in collaboration with an industry expert to review course assignments and expectations. Working with an industry expert not only ensures authenticity of course work, but also alignment with industry expectations.

Resources

This series of videos and teaching tips is presented by Academic Outreach and Innovation (AOI). We invite you to join the conversation. Share your tips and ask questions through this blog. If you would like these posts to be sent directly to your email each week, subscribe to the listserv by emailing aoi.li@wsu.edu.

For more information or to schedule time with an instructional designer or emerging technologist, contact aoi.li@wsu.edu or request training on demand. You can also visit the Spark Faculty Innovation Studio in room 102 any time from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday, during the academic year.