As Grant Wiggins asserts in Seven Keys to Effective Feedback, “Decades of education research support the idea that by teaching less and providing more feedback, we can produce greater learning (see Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000; Hattie, 2008; Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001).” But what kinds of feedback are effective in prompting students to learn? How can we encourage students to pay attention to instructor feedback? Recent research has provided some important insights into how instructors can engage students with feedback, particularly by providing comments that are both timely and goal-oriented. For example, writing scholars have shown that students are most likely to incorporate instructor comments when the feedback is geared towards improving the current draft or the next assignment (Bean, 2011). Students will probably not attend to feedback that comes weeks after the performance or that gestures towards some non-specific goal. Instructors should also think about the form of their feedback. While carefully written comments can be successful, many students prefer conferences, video feedback, and audio feedback, all of which tend to provide a sense of dialogue between student and instructor.
Want to find out more? Please join us for a virtual coffee talk on “Instructor Feedback as Communication” on June 18 from 10-11 am. We will discuss types of communication that tend to work well with students, including conferences, formative feedback, discussion of course rubrics, video feedback, and audio feedback. We will then encourage participants to share their own feedback strategies and to identify some specific ways in which they can employ best feedback practices in their upcoming courses. For help with providing feedback to students in your course, please contact IUB’s Campus Writing Program Director John Paul Kanwit at firstname.lastname@example.org.