Technology, Feedback, Action!…

… the impact of learning technology upon students’ engagement with their feedback

Sheffield Hallam University is evaluating how a range of technical interventions might encourage students to engage with feedback and formulate actions to improve future learning, including:

  • the use of the Blackboard Grade Centre for online publication of feedback and marks
  • the adaptive release of marks through the use of a bespoke Assignment Handler tool
  • an electronic Feedback Wizard linking feedback to learning outcomes

The project, funded from the Higher Education Academy’s e-learning research call, will evaluate how the characteristics of the technology described above impact upon students’ engagement with their feedback, and will contribute to the understanding and development of technology-enabled assessment and feedback across the sector, through:

  • a final report to the Higher Education Academy EvidenceNet consisting of literature review, analysis of primary data and recommendations
  • a series of good practice guides for the application of technology to deliver actionable feedback
  • a wiki including a well-developed literature review, discussion articles to support discussion and debate, and a repository to enable voluntary submission of ‘Technology, Feedback, Action!’ case studies and stories

The study has so far worked in partnership with 23 undergraduate students to undertake a comparative study of their experiences of receiving different forms of feedback with varying degrees of technical intervention. The sample was drawn across each of the University’s Faculties:

  • Arts, Computing, Engineering and Science – Level 5 Computer Network students
  • Development and Society – Level 5 Psychology students
  • Health and Wellbeing – Level 5 Diagnostic Radiography students
  • Sheffield Business School – Level 5 Events Management students

The data has been analysed by the project team who are currently pulling together the findings and writing the results.  We have recently recruited a Communications Support Assistant. This is a new role for a current student encompassing their voice in the recommendations for the use of technology to deliver actionable feedback, along with their input in the writing and design of the final report and good practice guides which will be disseminated across the HE sector.

The first phase of the project, a review of current literature regarding good practice feedback with specific regard to the application of technology to support delivery and use of feedback, has been made available. You are invited to read, comment and contribute to the literature review (summarised below) via the Higher Education Academy EvidenceNet wiki at: http://tinyurl.com/c8uolj

See http://tinyurl.com/cal97n for further information about this and other projects successfully funded from the Higher Education Academy’s e-learning research call.

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