Sheffield Hallam University (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 3047-3053
ISBN: 978-84-613-5538-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain
In this paper the author will present an innovative way of providing feedback to students by using electronic feedback. The motivation for this works stems from the student feedback from the UK National Student Survey (NSS). In the NSS one of the issues that keep coming up as being a problem for students is the issue of feedback. Students feel that they are not getting enough relevant feedback while tutors complain that producing good quality feedback is time consuming and students do not take the time to read the feedback anyway. This work seeks to address these conflicting points of view by providing a flexible tool that the teaching teams can utilize to provide assessment feedback.

The feedback tool is based around a Microsoft Excel template. The template allows a very high degree of flexibility in terms of providing the level of feedback that students expect while at the same time cutting down significantly on the tutor’s workload. The design of the template has been carried out in consultation with a large number of tutors teaching at all levels in higher education. During design feedback on the tool was sought from students and this feedback has been utilized to further refine the tool before being put in practice.

Another point that need to be discussed here is the issue of assessment feedback consistency, particularly when dealing with large cohorts of students where a large teaching team undertakes the delivery of the module. The tool solves this problem in a very elegant manner, while still allowing individual tutors to include freeform feedback.

The feedback tool has been tested and utilized now on a range of business related modules at different study levels. Although the use of Microsoft Excel as an environment for the feedback tool suggests that tutors need to be proficient in using this software, this is not in fact the case. The template provided to the tutors only requires a very basic, 5 minute long awareness session and the skills necessary to utilize the tool are the equivalent of very basic word processing skills. Therefore, there is no evidence so far to suggest that the tool cannot be utilized right across the board in higher education to provide assessment feedback.

It is the opinion of the author that given the high level of flexibility and its simplicity, the tool can be implemented for any module taught in higher education and will provide enhanced feedback to students while reducing the workload of the teaching teams.
Feedback, assessment, electronic, flexible, workload.