Sunday, 31 May 2009

Audio Feedback Revisited

I have now actually tried this out. My final year option only has half a dozen students, and this seemed to be an ideal opportunity. And I think it worked.

Firstly, it does take a bit more time. On average I have recorded about 10 minutes of commentary per essay. After working out the best way to use the digital recorder I did not have to post-edit the recording, but I still needed to listen to it, which means another 10 minutes. Administrative stuff is fairly easy, as the recorder records straight to MP3, I only need to rename the file with the student id (which I announce at the beginning of the recording). The files are around 2 MB in size. Not sure about how to distribute them yet; for the time being they're all on a CD ROM that goes with the pile of essays.

However, my feedback is obviously a lot more detailed than it would have been just in writing. I do hope that the students find this useful, and I intend to ask them what they think. They will also get a(n ultra-short) traditional feedback form, as there has to be something on paper.

This whole thing was intended as an experiment, and on occasion I might try this again (let's see what the external examiner thinks of it first!), but I do not intend to persuade the department at large to do the same. It might not suit everybody, and for larger modules it is indeed a lot more time-consuming. And I wouldn't want to get anybody to change the way they work.

To be continued...


  1. Do you have any means for finding out what the students think of this form of feedback? And have you decided on how to distribute?

  2. Not sure about the distribution yet. As they're final year students, they might get kicked out of WebCT too quickly. Maybe by email...

    It's only seven students, and I think I will send them all an email asking for feedback and comments. It's probably too much to do on any module with more than ten students, but perhaps I'll trial it with group work in next year's Discourse Analysis module: then there'll be about 10 or so pieces of work. I might then even make it all available on WebCT, the work and the feedback (both without names, of course), so students can look at what the other groups did and also listen to the feedback.

    Endless possibilities. Only need to plan it out properly.