Course 3, Week 2: Meaningful Feedback

Week 2 was just as interesting as Week 1 – I’ll be honest, I completed both within the same week. There was a clear connection between each week, with week 2 looking into engaging students with the feedback, whereas week 1 focused more on the practice of giving feedback.

As always, I came in with an opinion:

(On reflection, I wish I had the time to provide my comments based on more research instead of the content provided and my own experience).

Student disengagement with feedback

As I have mentioned in my previous post, the feedback is only as good as the facilitator – students need to know how to use feedback and this needs to be facilitated, we should not expect students to be able to analyse feedback and take appropriate actions independently, if they have not been given the knowledge of how to do so.

Price et al. (2011) identified that disengagement with feedback, as a lack of clarity and purpose of feedback, can occur at different stages, which is illustrated here:

Student engagement with feedback

The course introduced Millar’s (2010) methods to engage students with feedback. Millar has the view that educators need to work on students ‘readinesss’ to engage with feedback, ‘a willingness and ability to pay attention to, value, and act upon feedback’. There are two main suggestions provided with this:

  1. ‘ Explore and develop an understanding about the purpose and value of feedback with students’ – as it says on the tin, efforts needs to be made for students to see the benefits of acting upon feedback.
  2. ‘Develop good relationships between staff and students to support feedback engagement’ – I feel this is very much unsaid in teaching. If you are a good teacher and have a good relationship with your students, they are more likely to react to you. This is applicable to the feedback the educator provides also. It seems simple, but if an individual is not qualified in teaching, has little interest in teaching and has taken on the role to fulfil other goals, or is overworked, their abilities to create rapports and engage are poor.

I feel  PTing can step in to support with feedback – the role of a Personal Tutor is to develop a rapport with students and to be in a position to support students, to use feedback to creating learning plans, etc.

Our approach is very similar to one of the examples offered

Sustainable and dialogic feedback

To ensure feedback takes on a dialogic approach, it is recommended to plan feedback into the assessment maps. The advanced planning, as documented in case studies on the course reduced assessments, improved assessment outcomes, reduced marking times, etc. These outcomes are very course dependent, but planning feedback opportunities would improve time management around teacher-marking, as well as planning in opportunities for developing peer and self-assessment skills.

A second recommendation to improve continuous engagement with feedback was to use technology. Examples included videos, audio recordings and social media.

Closing thoughts for Course 3

As with last week, this week was interesting and engaging. The content was easier to digest as the journey through the course was well-planned. There are a few things that I would like to consider and put forwards for the growth of personal tutoring (a growing team to offer specialist and personalised services, including feedback engagement). These actions will take time, attempting to close gaps between professional and academic services and will depend on upcoming developments in other departments.

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