Feedback on feedback: Engaging students in the feedback process

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


In the context of the National Student Survey (NSS) that identifies a clear relationship between student satisfaction and feedback (HEFCE, 2007 as cited by JISC, 2010) the consideration of alternative mechanisms to enhance student feedback has never been timelier. Further, given the context of the ‘digital native’ generation and the increasing move towards the full integration of delivery and support for all aspects of student learning via virtual learning environments (VLEs) such as Blackboard Learn there is an increasing higher education evidence base that demonstrates the need for and benefits of more innovation in the use of technology in supporting assessment and feedback for learning (Nortcliffe and Middleton, 2007, Merry and Orsmond, 2008 and Rotheram, 2007). The objective of this research was to provide a potentially more effective mechanism for student feedback, and to engage students more fully with the process and mechanisms for feedback, and ultimately amend activities in light of the findings, in accordance with reflective practice (McKernan, 2008) and action research (Norton, 2009). This project was initiated from a feedback discussion session facilitated by The Student Union Student Engagement Manager, who led discussion with our final year students on the SU “Focus on Feedback” Guide. What emerged from this session was that students were very familiar with the various different types of assessment, but were far less familiar with key aspects feedback, with the biggest issues surrounding the terminology of, and opportunities for feedback. As a department we initiated a number of initiatives in light of this including uploading the “Focus on Feedback” guide to Course Support Areas; incorporating the introduction of the guide within the Study Skills module in year one; initiating projects that opened up more dialogue with students surrounding feedback and utilising more innovation in approaches to feedback.The project design was the use of two small case studies of audio feedback in practice across a level 5 and level 6 module for individual essays in semester two, academic year 2011-12. The results of the project indicate that students liked the convenience, effectiveness, flexibility and personalised nature of this feedback, but raised concerns with some aspects of the technology and access. The findings of this project have been used to implement further use of this technology for feedback and activities have been redesigned for the current academic year based on the feedback students provided. In addition a wider study involving more modules, more members of staff and a wider variety of assessments for both formative and summative feedback is now underway in our Department. These outcomes are as a direct result of engaging students in this feedback process.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
PublisherUlster University
Number of pages0
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Jan 2013
EventCHEP Annual Conference: Student Engagement - University of Ulster, Jordanstown campus
Duration: 1 Jan 2013 → …


ConferenceCHEP Annual Conference: Student Engagement
Period1/01/13 → …


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