Empowered learners are motivated, effective learners. Employing appropriate and timely feedback mechanisms ensures that students and instructors ascertain what has been learned. At the beginning of the semester, assessment checks are necessary to see if students are responding appropriately to your teaching and are learning at the same pace as your instruction. If students are falling behind, it’s better to know as soon as possible to make any adjustments or discuss your teaching strategies, chunking and timing so students may move forward with greater purpose and confidence. Feedback can be one way (for students only or for instructors only) or two-way (for instructor <-> student) exchange.
As we learn new ideas or skills, we must have some type of feedback.
Does the tennis ball go over the net into the other court? Did I learn
that new concept? Can I hit that high E consistently and beautifully?
Have I tied these two ideas together correctly or in a new or novel way
that makes sense to others?
Feedback for learning can take many forms and be for both students
and their instructor. The main goal is to discover what has or has not
been learned and formulate a plan to improve learning for the rest of
For the student, feedback can be in the form of quizzes or tests and
seeing the grades, communication with the instructor or other students
or Classroom Assessment Techniques. As students receive feedback, they
eventually learn how to self-evaluate their actions or thoughts and
improve what they are doing with little or no intervention.
For the instructor, feedback can be test grades (are they learning
the material or do I need to go over it again?), communication with
students, reading a short Classroom Assessment Technique submission or
providing an anonymous survey to find out what might need changing in
the course structure to provide a better learning environment.
Links below will lead you to information about using tests for feedback,
Classroom Assessment Techniques and a method of confidential, periodic
feedback to help you get feedback, too.
Feedback for students
Assessment should happen more frequently for students new to a field of study. These assessments can take several forms such as assignments, quizzes or tests, or as in-class Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) feedback. It may occur less frequently as students become more confident in their ability to self-assess learning, or to employ appropriate problem-solving skills and critical thinking in the discipline. Rubrics are another supporting tool for feedback. They are clear descriptions of your expectations so that both you (the instructor) and students are clear on the requirements for excellence. The rubric itself can become a grading tool if rubric text that describes an assignment's level is circled or highlighted. Then the student and instructor both have a "visual or picture" of the submitted grade.
Feedback for Both Students and Instructors
Blogs, Wikis and Journals can be accessed via Blackboard or an external web site. Within Blackboard, each can serve a similar but particularly useful service for allowing student-student or student-to-instructor via interaction and idea exchange (blogs, wikis) or student to instructor via a personal, private journal.
Feedback for Instructors
Confidential, periodic feedback for instructors is important for a formative evaluation of how the class is meeting an instructor's and students' learning needs. Blackboard’s “Survey Manager” is a tool that makes it easy to collect data (anonymously) and use student feedback for more effective teaching/learning. It is embedded within Blackboard and the results can be downloaded into Excel and sorted by question. We recommend a minimum of three questions: 1. What is helping you learn in this course? 2. What is hindering your learning in this course? 3. What improvements would improve your learning in this class? This information can be downloaded into Excel and sorted for data interpretation. By doing an anonymous "mid-term" evaluation at the 3 to 6 week time in your course, you still can effect some changes that will create a positive outcome for students. And, when you share the results of the survey with the students and talk about the changes you will make with their input, the class atmosphere changes to more of a joint effort instead of an authoritarian one.
Feedback for Learning :: Resources
Explore the following resource pages for additional information and methods for giving and receiving feedback: