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Giving feedback in the online context

Explore when and how to give meaningful feedback to your students online and download a planner to support your approach in giving feedback.
a teacher and younger students gathered together
© FutureLearn

What is the role of feedback in online learning?

When we consider feedback we are thinking not only of disseminating grades or results from tests, but also the sort of informal, incremental, just-in-time feedback integral to productive and engaging teaching and learning.

Neeraj Dhanani, The British Council, Barcelona: “We want to be professional, authoritative, and critical yet supportive and generous with praise when it is due. For teachers who are used to face-to-face teaching, this type of feedback is much harder when communication is mediated by technology, particularly asynchronous posts on forums.”

Like many aspects of online teaching and delivery, feedback can take a little more planning and organisation as the ad-hoc nature of informal feedback is limited in the asynchronous online environment.

However, if you have the scope to move some of your ‘teaching time’ to an asynchronous model, you may find that the quality of your feedback is improved as you have more time to plan and structure it. Asynchronous feedback need not be impersonal text, either: consider recording short video or audio clips to humanise your teacher presence (like we did for Weeks 2 and 3 videos for you).

At the end of this step we have shared a detailed Feedback planner which will help you prepare feedback to students.

Here are some key points to consider:

Make it rigorous, relevant, useful, and timely
Clearly identify what you’re feeding back on, when feedback will happen, and how it fits into next steps.

Involve your students
Managing your students’ expectations and involving them in the feedback loop means they’re better able to respond to your guidance.

Do more with less
Avoid giving grades which students glance at, then ignore. Make feedback part of your teaching and use it as a true learning opportunity.

Discussion

What has been your experience of giving feedback to students online?

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