Enhancing Feedback

When students and tutors think of feedback, they usually imagine a written summary provided on a piece of paper. But feedback is not just written; it can come in many shapes and forms.  For example, you might build in self and peer assessment experiences for students; you might record feedback; feedback might be online.  In other words, feedback is not just a transaction, whereby students ‘receive’ their grade and some helpful notes about where they need to improve; it is not just about assessment of learning, but assessment for learning.  Assessment for learning encourages a different relationship with students whereby students are encouraged to interact with their feedback and to keep a record of ongoing formative feedback in their reflective log.  While it is important to ensure that students do receive written feedback, there are other ways to provide feedback that can improve students’ learning.

See recent presentation on ‘Enhancing assessment and feedback’ from UCA Learning and Teaching workshops

Diagnostic tools

The Creative Education team at UCA have been working with students and course teams to improve assessment and feedback experiences.   We have developed the following diagnostic tools and advice for course teams, which have proved very beneficial for improving practice:

Feedback Questionnaire – use this diagnostic to reflect on your own perceptions of assessment and feedback

NUS benchmarking tool for assessment and feedback – Developed by the NUS, this is a great tool for mapping current assessment and feedback practice and working out strategies to improve student experiences.

Common Problems handout  – a useful guide to some of the common problems we experience in art and design assessment and feedback practice.

Assessment and Feedback Tips  – some useful assessment and feedback tips from the creative education team

Audio feedback

Speaking and recording your feedback using an audio recorder can help students connect with your advice. Case studies have shown that some students like to hear their tutor’s voice explaining the feedback as they find it more personal and accessible than a written summary.

In a case study at the University of Brighton, tutors on the BA Graphic Communication course spoke their feedback into an audio recorder as they were assessing students’ work. Feedback was provided in relation to each assessment criterion, and the grade was only announced to students at the end of the recording. The evaluation of students’ perceptions of audio feedback indicated that it:

  • provided a more personal and pleasurable experience
  • encouraged engagement and learning
  • brought a greater focus on the diagnostic function of feedback
  • ensured that feedback became a genuine part of the learning process

In the case study below from the University of New South Wales, a tutor explains how he provides audio feedback to his students. You can also download the written summary.

Providing audio feedback in myUCA

There are two different ways of providing audio feedback using myUCA. If you are providing feedback on written work, the easiest option is to use the built-in audio recorder in Turnitin’s Grademark tool. Students submit their written work to Turnitin, then the tutor opens up Grademark and simply clicks the microphone icon in the feedback panel on the right:


If you need to provide formative feedback on practical work, you can use an audio recording device such as a smartphone or an mp3 recorder such as an iPod. As you assess the work, record each student’s feedback as a separate audio file. When you have finished, download the files to your computer and name each one, then simply upload each file into the student’s Unit Feedback folder in their course area.


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