Reimagining student use of LMS-based feedback

Year: 2021

Author: Willison, John

Type of paper: Symposium

Feedback on assessment is disparaged by students and staff alike. For students, feedback is too little too late. For staff there seems little point in providing feedback when it appears that students don’t review it, let alone heed its advice. With global acceleration of learning and assessing online, and perceived consequent decreases in connection between teachers and students, the downward spiral of feedback sentiment may continue.Facilitated student use of feedback has been endorsed in the literature to mitigate the problems above, a process where students are required to use feedback to improve subsequent work. However, how can this use of feedback be realized within regular resource constraints? Many students struggle to understand the language in rubrics, meaning completed tick-box criteria for performance may comprise weak feedback. Moreover, current automated feedback systems do not provide feedback that students necessarily use to improve subsequent work.The research reported in this presentation was with a mid-size undergraduate course which was consistently rated by students as having a low score for the student experience item ‘this course provides useful and timely feedback’ (2016-2018). Facilitated student use of assessment feedback using the regular learning management system (LMS) tools became a major focus in 2019 and 2020, and saw a substantial change in student ratings of feedback, from 70% agreement that ‘this course provides useful and timely feedback’ in the four semesters 2017-2018 to 100% agreement in four semesters 2019-2020.Part of the process involved students not only making changes but also articulating their response to feedback and these articulations showed a high level of engagement with the feedback, with >90% showing that they had made changes because of it. The assessment marks evidenced an improvement from one assignment to the next across each cohort.