Audio Feedback on Assignments

June 8, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Posted in communication | Leave a comment
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The idea that students might prefer spoken rather than written feedback is not a new one; indeed the ideal would be a leisurely one-to-one chat about your essay with your tutor. Harsh economic realities have made this a distant dream, except perhaps in the more rarified cloisters of Oxbridge. A modern twist is that tutors can record their comments and email them to students – and the ExAEF project at Liverpool John Moores University is ‘exploring the efficacy of audio email feedback’. They are using the Wimba add-on for Blackboard to simplify the technical procedure and have gained some feedback from the students which is summarised in this presentation.

For tutors, a key message might be that the average time spent creating feedback comments per student was around half that for written feedback – 4:30 as opposed to 8:50 – for a cohort of 24 students. That’s over 100 minutes saved!

For students, the audio feedback was clear and understandable, perceived as more detailed and felt more personal and informal. They found the voice intonation motivating and thought it inspired interest in their topic of study. It seems that students made better use of the audio feedback and had better retention of salient points for future learning.

Now we don’t use Wimba at Southampton (unfortunately they gave a disastrous demo here a couple of years back) but I can offer advice and support to any tutors here who would be interested in trying out audio feedback.

This topic was the subject of  a one-day conference I attended last year ‘A Word in Your Ear: Audio Feedback‘ and I particularly remember one of the pitfalls mentioned – the impact of ‘tone of voice’ and the negative effect that marking late into the night can have on this!


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