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What was the session about?
March saw the third seminar in our ‘7 Characteristics of a Good Practice in Undergraduate Education’ series here at SALT, delivered by Sandy George and Pete Hanratty from Swansea University’s Centre for Academic Success (CAS).
The session was well attended by academic staff from numerous disciplines across the University, to hear about Sandy and Pete’s audio feedback project.
Watch the full session by clicking on this link: SALT 7 Characteristics of a Good University Teacher Audio Feedback Seminar
Things began with a thought-provoking, small group activity on feedback in general. This involved Sandy and Pete asking the audience to rate seven statements, all related to feedback, on a scale of 1 to 5. Tha last, H, required a yes/no response.
A. Feedback is vital to a learners’ progress
B. Effective Feedback is constructive and thought-provoking
C. Students are more concerned with their grade than reading feedback
D. The feedback process is too time-consuming
E. Feedback should be used as the basis for improvement rather than a justification for a grade
F. It doesn’t matter what form feedback takes
G. Too much feedback confuses students
H. I have used recorded audio feedback and found it effective
A very interesting discussion followed, with lots of variation in ratings. In relation to ‘H’, only a very small minority had used recorded audio feedback, sometimes due to uncertainty over its effectiveness. Everyone was, however, keen to hear more about Sandy and Pete’s experience, including lessons learned and valuable tips on making it a worthwhile and effective method.
Linking audio feedback to the ‘7Cs’ also proved interesting. Whilst there is an obvious link to ‘Give prompt feedback’, Sandy and Pete encouraged us to think about the additional benefits (highlighted in green below).
A fair point was made in that feedback needs to be EFFECTIVE as well as PROMPT.
The Audio Feedback Trial
After this, Sandy and Pete offered a reflective account of their own audio feedback trial, undertaken with 30 students. Feedback was spoken into a dictaphone and emailed to respective students. They were also issued with a self-assessment sheet to be used in conjunction with the teacher’s feedback, which was intended to encourage reflection upon their writing, the audio feedback, and areas of improvement for future writing.
Feedback on the Feedback
The results from the trial, therefore, indicated that audio feedback was seen to have multiple benefits. All of the students listened to their feedback and the vast majority felt it was more beneficial than just receiving written feedback, with around 15% being ‘neutral’ (a more detailed breakdown of the statistics can be found in the presentation video link above).
The conclusion drawn was that audio feedback could be seen to be most effective when supplementing written feedback, in this particular case.
Even though the trial proved to be a very positive one, a couple of barriers were encountered along the way. Firstly, an initial reluctance to speak in a natural way, without hesitation for example, which initially increased time spent on the task. However, with a little practice/less self-consciousness, this was quickly overcome. Secondly, the method used at the time (dictaphone and email) was rather ‘clunky’ and time-consuming. However, there is now another option. Pete and Sandy signposted to ‘Feedback Studio’ which is now a part of the online marking system within Turnitin. Therefore this could help overcome problems of time and effort, again with a little practice.
Finally, the session ended with a discussion about whether audio feedback could replace written feedback, or whether should it always supplement it.
A big thank you to Sandy and Pete for sharing their experience, and for encouraging us to think about more general feedback issues along the way …watch this space for more seminars and workshops on the theme of ‘Feedback’ in 2018/9.
What do you think?
Have you used audio feedback? If so, I would love to hear about your experience. For example, have you also found it a useful supplementary method, or have you used it on its own? Either way, what feedback have your students then given you? Was it as effective as written feedback? Did it save you and/or your students’ time? Did it enable a more personalised approach (and if so was this beneficial)?
I would also love to hear from you if either reading this blog or watching Sandy and Pete’s video has inspired you to use audio feedback for the first time. Please let me know how you and your students find it, in comparison to your usual method.
Please contact Rhian Ellis firstname.lastname@example.org tel. 01792 604302
Academic Developer, Swansea Academy of Learning and Teaching (SALT)
Follow me on Twitter : @rhianellis3 and SALT : @susaltteam