Providing personalised targeted feedback in large first-year biology units
Keywords:Feedback, constructive alignment, first-year, online teaching
Providing high quality, personalised feedback to first year students in large units of study can be problematic as the process can be onerous in terms of staff time and cost, and inconsistent in quality due to large numbers of teaching staff. During the shift to online learning due to COVID-19, opportunities to provide feedback were even more limited, as the capacity to give immediate verbal feedback on student work in practicals was reduced. Here we describe a way that we were able to create a feedback system that provided students with weekly, personalised feedback on their laboratory notebook entries, targeting tasks for which feedback would be most useful for future learning activities and assessment. This feedback was developed to be quick and efficient for practical demonstrators to mark and thus able to be completed during online Zoom practicals, while maintaining rigor, consistency, and detail in the feedback. We evaluate the system based on student feedback and discuss the feasibility of continuing the use of this feedback system as practical classes return to face-to-face teaching.