Making feedback more immediate

Ken McGregor, A. R. Merchant, M. Butler


How often have we marked students’ assignments, wishing that they were present there and then to hear and consider our comments? Since this cannot usually happen, we write down our observations and trust that the student will read them,
take in the message, give it some thought and modify their next attempt in light of our comments. In many instances however, the feedback seems to fall on deaf ears
and our effort is wasted. This may be because the feedback is too late; student interest may have passed and
they have mentally gone on to the next assignment. It may also be that the written comments were too cryptic and the students didn’t understand the message (Gibbs
and Simpson 2004). Whatever the cause, it is a waste of staff and student time. We may hope that the students benefit from our efforts, but too often they become disillusioned with the course, claiming there was no meaningful interaction or feedback from the staff. Our aim in this study is to explore two methods intended to improve the quality of feedback – one being self marking of tests, the other being voice audio files. Both methods address the immediacy of feedback, each for different scenarios.

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