J. Szerdahelyi

Western Kentucky University (UNITED STATES)
As Knoblauch and Brannon’s study suggests, the most valuable facet of a writing teacher’s practice seems to be “commenting on individual student texts in order to facilitate improvement” (285). Instructors in a face-to-face or web-based environment can choose from a variety of digital tools to respond to student papers, including text-, audio-, and video-based technologies. Instructors who provide text-based feedback usually use Microsoft Word’s Track Changes or Comment functions for annotations. The latest technology innovations have, however, facilitated multisensory assessment in both face-to-face and online environments. Responding to students’ assignments via recorded audio comments is considered easy, convenient, and efficient. Additionally, instructor commentary delivered via screen-capture is becoming a popular technology option.
The question is which of these assessment methods do (online) students perceive as the most helpful? Which option results in maximum learning, enhanced performance, and increased learning satisfaction? This presentation is geared towards answering these questions and make recommendations for teacher commentary regarding methodology and technology solutions.
Besides the demonstration of feedback techniques and multisensory assessment technologies, the presenter will share the preliminary results of a one-semester mixed methods study which attempted to identify online students’ most preferred feedback delivery medium in a web-based environment. Students in an Advanced Composition course received feedback on their assignments via a different medium each time. If a student received feedback via text on the first assignment, he or she received audio feedback on the second assignment and video/screencast feedback on the third assignment. By the end of the course, each student was exposed each of the three delivery mediums. Furthermore, students were interviewed to better understand their reactions, feelings, opinions, and preferences regarding the modalities. While the results of this study are far from conclusive, they will provide insight into teaching practices that have the potential to bring student and faculty satisfaction closer together, and ultimately improve the quality of (distance) education.
After the presentation, the audience will be invited to share their experiences with the methodology and technology they use for teacher commentary.