To find out more a student intern, working with staff in LTDS, evaluated existing feedback forms and gathered opinions from students to identify what works and what could be improved. The project considered a total of 66 forms from 19 different schools and included focus groups and interviews with individual students.
What did they find?
These are a few key findings and you can find full details in the project report.
Have clear, separate sections showing:
Strengths and areas for improvement
Clear advice for future work
Only use tick boxes for objective areas of the marking criteria, such as grammar. When tick boxes were used for subjective areas, such as argument, students found this unhelpful.
Look at your feedback forms and consider whether these should be redesigned. Consult with the students in your school as part of the process.
Utilising the form
Type feedback, wherever possible.
Introduce structured opportunities to help students understand:
expectations of the marking criteria
the ways in which this is reflected in the feedback sheet
Discuss how you use marking sheets with your colleagues. Try to develop a consistent approach to:
Do your students complain that they are unclear about how action is taken in response to their feedback? Want to enhance the ways in which you let your students know how their programme is being improved? Continue reading Closing the Loop→
In April, the Learning and Teaching Development Service and the Student Union ran some pop up feedback sessions in the Business School, the Robinson Library, the Student Union and the Medical School asking students one question, ‘What one thing would improve your experience of Blackboard or the LSE?’ The same question was also added to the Blackboard My Institution page to which students could give an online response.
In total, 434 students gave feedback, 402 about Blackboard and 32 about the LSE. The student responses were collated and categorised into main themes. Some students covered more than one theme in their answer.
Few students had issues with the functionality of Blackboard and 20.65% of comments were very positive where they felt staff engaged with it. From the small sample of students who commented about the LSE, 43.75% of comments were positive and found it very clear and easy to use.
The main Blackboard issue students raised was regarding organisation and consistency of module content with 22.64% of the students who responded recognising this as a problem. In answer to the question, student comments included, ‘All lecturers using the same way of organising. Everything in the same place!’ and ‘Same layout for every module. It would make it so much easier if all modules had the same layout.’
Other key themes included the mobile application, Blackboard Learn and the availability of lecture materials and ReCap recordings.
This feedback gave us a very useful snapshot of student opinion on the VLE. You can read the full report that was shared at the HaSS and SAgE FLTSEC meetings this month and view the student comments by Faculty, School and Stage.
If you would like any tailored Blackboard training or would like us to work with you to reorganise your modules or come along to your school meeting to discuss creating a school, or discipline, specific template , please contact LTDS.
Psst! Do encourage your students to get down to the Robinson Library today for some Easter treats!
All they have to do to get a free creme egg (or a £1) and to be in with a chance of winning £20 is to visit the NSS Student Awareness table between 11.15 and 14.45.
Would you like your students to be able to see all of their feedback in one place?
Do you feel like you’re pouring useful advice and feedback into the void?
You need the feedback foghorn!
Lindsey Ferrie in Biomedical Sciences has been piloting the scheme in Biomedical Sciences which allows students to use e-portfolio software to compile, track and store their feedback across their course.
The system allows them to track their academic progress across software such as Grademark, Turnitin and PeerWise in order to analyse areas of strength and weakness and to see clearly their academic progress. Continue reading STAR CASE STUDY: Feedback Foghorn→
Lecturers in the Law School are making use of industry professionals to teach students about ‘real-life’ as a legal professional.
The school makes use of professionals from local practices to assess first year’s interviewing techniques and invites Law Lords and senior judges to meet students in order to help them to establish contacts and feel comfortable in the formal and often cliquey legal world.
Jonathan Galloway, just one lecturer making use of professionals in both law and economics as part of his Competition Law module, thinks that regular contact with those working in the profession gives Newcastle students the edge.
‘Not only is it great to hear from someone who can tell you in a more anecdotal sense how the theory you learn about during your degree works in real world situations, it also builds students’ confidence.
‘For many of them, the world of court, particularly places like the supreme court or Parliament can seem completely out of reach. Meeting a senior judge or law lord can help them to feel more comfortable and confident in applying for jobs or placements at these types of places later.
‘For some Newcastle students, they may never have met a barrister or a judge before. Having people who work at some of the most prestigious firms or in the top jobs deliver elements of their courses helps them to see that these sorts of professions are within reach for them and hopefully encourages them to aim high after they graduate.’
For Jonathan, this works both ways: ‘It also works the same way for the firms themselves. Although many of the most prestigious firms in London, they come into regular contact with students from London-based Law Schools, many may not meet many students from Newcastle.
‘Inviting them to speak means that they already have a sense of what Newcastle students are about and how much they could offer their firm as a graduate.’
The Law School makes use of professionals to assess interviewing techniques in the early stages of the degree and to deliver some lectures on modules such as Competition law and Human Rights law.
Although much of this takes place later in the course and Jonathan is keen to stress that students always already have a theoretical grounding in the area which professionals come to discuss, he thinks it is inherently valuable for the students:
‘We’ve had some really excellent people, not just lawyers but economists too to help the students get a more rounded sense of how wide-ranging legal studies is and how many different sectors the law touches upon.’
Do your students complain about the feedback they receive on assessments?
Are you interested in a more efficient marking process, which engages students and increases student satisfaction?
Alison Graham from the School of Biology, was a runner-up in this year’s Turnitin Global Innovation Awards because of her innovative use of GradeMark and Turnitin.
Alison integrates marking rubrics written specifically for each assessment into GradeMark and produces libraries of comments for that assignment.
She was a runner-up in the Student Engagement Category of the international competition.
These comments can be added directly to students’ work, noting how they can improve and providing more detail than possible on pro formas. Alongside these assessors can add free text comments specific to the individual student’s work.
Students like it because the can quickly see the areas which they need to improve on. Integrating the marking rubric into GradeMark gives the students a visual indication of where their work is at on each strand of the marking criteria, giving a useful level of detail to the single overall mark.
[The rubric] was the most useful aspect of the electronic feedback as this helped me to gauge which areas of the assignment I was lacking and therefore where I would need to focus my improvement for future work. It also helped me to understand why I had received the mark I had in relation to the marking criteria for each section and thus why my overall grade was within a certain grade boundary.Student feedback on the system
For staff the system, once in place, made marking quicker and more efficient. Online marking removes the logistics of lugging around paper copies of work, and the bank of library comments mean that common issues on the work can be quickly responded to with detailed, relevant and specific feedback.
Alison notes that “Markers are not restricted by the space in the margins and online marking removes any issues with students being unable to read handwriting”
Using GradeMark also leads to a greater consistency of marking on modules which are team-taught.
Alison has found that engaging students in the marking process, through timetabled sessions, helps them to understand the reasons for the marks they are getting. Modules using GradeMark consistently perform highly on the module feedback surveys, and on the National Student Survey there has been an increase in students agreeing that “The criteria used in marking have been clear in advance”.
This approach is now being used by a number of staff in the School of Biology and elsewhere, and online marking through GradeMark has clear potential to be used by staff in all departments across the university.
If you’re interested in finding out more about GradeMark and integrating it into your own teaching, we can help you. Get in touch with LTDS at firstname.lastname@example.org, you can see other examples of good practice using Grademark and Turnitin in our Case Studies database.