Aug 22, 2014

How do I get students to look at/listen to my feedback?

Have you spent hours giving feedback to your student's papers, lab work, and assignments, yet notice that your students keep making the same mistakes? 
That's frustrating, for you, and your students. Before sharing your feedback, let's make sure it's effective, based on a few ideas from Types of Feedback and their Purposes:

  • Timing: Is your feedback timely or too late for them to remember the assignment?
  • Volume: Do you write a paper or barely say a word?
  • Comparisons: Do you provide a grading rubric or sample assignment, so your students know what is expected of them?
  • Audience: When many students make the same mistake, do you point this out in class, on your Sakai home page or in a Sakai Announcement, instead of repeating the same comments to each student individually?  
  • Mode: Do you provide audio or video feedback for those who don't read/write well?
Now that you are creating effective feedback, here are a few ideas to get your students to look at your feedback:
  1. Make it easy for your students to find your feedback: I wrote detailed feedback into the Sakai Assignments instructor summary comments area, for each student's lab assignment. Even though I'd told them where to find the feedback, I noticed that students were making the same mistakes. I added in bold letters, highlighted in yellow, on the course Home page, that I had also copied, pasted and emailed the feedback for the lab assignment to each student, and told them where to find it next time, if they wanted to succeed in the class. From then on, I also highlighted my Assignment instructor summary comments, so my feedback was easy to see, too.
  2. Provide incentives for finding and reading your feedback: Marie Revak, in her recent article about creating expectations in online courses, said that for her second online assignment, she puts a secret code (unique to each student) in her assignment feedback, that students can add with their next assignment, to get extra credit points.
  3. Give students a good reason to look at your feedback: Of course we think our comments are important, but Maryellen Weimer suggested we focus on "feedforwarding", where we point out what the student did incorrectly, but also, quickly focus on what the student can change to improve on their next assignment.   
Adding Feedback in Sakai:
Create and Grade Assignments Instructions
How to Create and Grade Forums/Topics Handout
How to Grade Discussion Posts Video
Test and Quizzes Handout, pages 8-9


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