M. Kirwan

Dublin City University (IRELAND)
The purpose of this abstract is to present an example of how feedback on written assignments for large class groups can be provided in a timely manner using technology. Providing feedback to students in a supportive and timely manner using available technology is in keeping with best educational practice (Lunt and Curren 2010). It is with this in mind that I set out to improve and enhance the delivery of feedback using the voice comments on turnitin for a large undergraduate cohort of student nurses (178 students).
Lunt and Curran (2010) contend that “audio feedback offers a positive advance on written feedback”.
My main rationale for using voice comments is to provide feedback in a timely manner –the voice comments in turnitin is available when and wherever the student can access the Web. There is considerable research about students not engaging with written feedback (Merry and Orsmond 2008). Audio/voice can be used alone or to augment written feedback. On line feedback using modern technology can assist in achieving this goal of encouraging the student to engage and take the advice on board. Individual learning styles may also impact on the students preference for visual, aural or written feedback and previous research has indicated that student prefer verbal feedback (Martin 2007 cited in Merry and Orsmond 2008). Ice et al, (2007) found that student became more involved and better retained the content of audio when compared with written only feedback.
Audio feedback is relatively new to Irish universities as a technology to give feedback and hence there is limited research in the area (Lunt and Curran 2010). The on line webcast “More than Words” from turnitin available at gives a very good overview of the history of using audio recording –going back to cassette tapes and moving to MP3 players, podcasts and voice comments. The webcast also outlines the benefits to students of using voice as an effective and connecting modality for feedback. The importance of tone is emphasised in the turnitin webcast. This is particularly relevant to the affective domain and in motivating students to view feedback as positive and helpful (Bonnel 2008, Baid & lambert 2010). The functionality on turnitin allows for the feedback to be augmented by written feedback –in the grademark area. Both can be aligned to rubrics connected with the programme or module.
Finally, according to Lunt and Curran (2010) using audio feedback can overcomes the timeliness issues raised frequently by students. There is also the advantage that over face to face verbal feedback that student can replay the audio, especially if a re-submission is required (Merry and Orsmond 2008).
Using audio feedback encroaches on the way that feedback is constructed by faculty and delivered to students. In order to gather opinions on the value a short survey was sent to students on the module. The initial outcomes are positive both for the student and lecturer. However students with low or fail grades still request face to face feedback. As with any new idea it will take time to bed down as a “normal” channel of receiving feedback.