Audio Feedback in Biological Science

Origin 

School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science

Contact 

Ed Drewitt, ed.drewitt@bristol.ac.uk

Tools used

Objectives

To provide tutees with both a mark and constructive feedback to help them improve their assignment. This may be an essay, a presentation or other type of written task.

Background

Level 1 and Level 2 Undergraduate Biology and Zoology Students

What was done

When returning marks for my tutees’ assignments I complimented them with both written and oral feedback. Previously I had just been writing 50 - 100 words written feedback. However, since attending the University’s CREATE (Cultivating Research and Teaching Excellence) course which involved courses examining the use of technology in lectures and small groups, I decided to provide verbal feedback via the university’s Re/Play Desktop recorder.

Workflow for providing Audio Feedback

DEO eSubmission guide

Outcomes

The audio feedback was well received - by this I mean that the students felt they realised where they needed to improve or where they were doing well. The students felt that they had a much better understanding and appreciation of what I was communicating to them in their feedback. Previously the shorter, written feedback didn't allow the student to detect the tone or real meaning of what I was communicating. The feedback recordings allowed me to say much more and to convey more meaning, tone and emotion to help support them.

The ability to open the students' submission and record the cursor being scrolled around it, highlighting pieces of writing and words makes for a more immediate connection between what I am saying and what the student has done. While revealing track changes to a student is still workable it is easy for a student to just amend the track changes passively. By doing a Re/Play recording, the mix of visual and audio feedback helps engage the student in seeing exactly where they gained or missed marks, did well or could improve next time.

Tips and suggestions for future projects

This is definitely a tool that more colleagues would benefit from using for their students. Once you get the hang of the recording system it is all very quick and easy to upload and link to. I know other students have tutors who give little feedback, even written. To improve the student experience and enable them to realise where they can improve or are doing well, audio feedback files like this really help to communicate the message effectively. While 50 - 100 words can vary from making a big impact or saying very little, with the audio feedback there is a real opportunity to say more and get to the root of the issue or success so the student isn’t none the wiser.