Today we continue our exploration of how Chickering and Gamson’s seven principles of good pedagogical practice can be achieved and supported through use of the Brightspace learning management system (LMS).
Principle 4: Give prompt feedback
It comes as no surprise that clear, prompt, and meaningful feedback is the most effective way to guide students to reflect upon material that they have grasped and recognize areas where they can improve. When it comes to online learning, feedback can serve an even more crucial role in that it also functions as a necessary way to foster the connection between faculty and student. Let’s begin by exploring the Assignments tool in Brightspace, where students can submit their work and you can share feedback in a variety of ways that address a range of learning styles:
- Use our Annotations toolbar to add text, highlighting, and many other markup features directly onto the assignment page (Brightspace automatically turns any format into a temporary PDF file for this purpose!)
- Leave descriptive comments below the assignment—provide helpful suggestions for improvement and/or congratulatory notes, or use the HTML Editor to include a dynamic quicklink to a specific piece of recommended content (look for the chainlink icon)
- Add a file attachment to showcase an exemplar or additional resources for the student to consume
- Record up to three minutes of video feedback, or up to one minute of audio feedback for increased student engagement and more efficient instructor commentary
- Create an embedded video using our Insert Stuff tool
- Choose the appropriate success criteria on an attached Brightspace Rubric, which can even include custom feedback for each individual criterion
- Provide students with a numeric score, which will automatically feed into the Grades tool if you have attached the Assignment to a Grade Item
Best of all, you will be able to see a timestamp within the submission list showcasing precisely when each student has opened his or her assignment’s feedback—eliminating all the guesswork! You may wish to initially click “Save Draft” so that you can simultaneously publish all feedback once everything has been graded in order to avoid potential learner anxiety.
Can You Hear Me Now?
As mentioned above, our Assignments tool allows you to record up to one minute of audio feedback in lieu of, or in addition to, written comments. Leibold and Schwarz explain that students do gain more clarity from audio feedback than from written feedback; studies even show increased cognitive development and more satisfaction with the instructor when students receive a mix of audio and written feedback. They highlight: “The use of audio feedback is an effective, time saving way to provide feedback for online learners” (42). Furthermore, some learners even find listening to their instructor’s voice to be highly motivating! Our Assignments and Discussions tools both also include the option of creating an embedded video within Brightspace (up to three minutes) using the Video Note tool. According to Leibold and Schwarz, “Video recordings of feedback for learners are timesavers and provide clear, personalized messages for the learner that include non-verbal communications” (43).
What About Quizzes?
Of course, we can’t discuss assessment and feedback without mentioning our Quizzes tool. Did you know that you can enable blind marking when grading Written Response questions, so as to avoid any unconscious bias? Additionally, you can set up a unique Submission View that will appear only at a specific date/time (click “Add Additional View”), where you can customize exactly what feedback students will see at that point. You can choose from options like questions answered correctly/incorrectly, with/without student responses, all correct answers, question score, attempt score, class average, score distribution, and more! You can even further address privacy concerns by limiting the amount of time that students can access this Submission View as well as requiring they be on a specific network to access this view.
Finally, on the topic of necessarily prompt feedback, allow us to highlight one of the newest tools that Brightspace has to offer: Quick Eval. Access Quick Eval from any navbar to view a list of ungraded assessments (Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions) across all of the courses that you teach! You will be able to filter this list by submission date (quite useful for grading on a “first in first out” basis), student name, assessment type (click on the “Activities” tab), and more. Save yourself time by promptly providing feedback through this convenient assessment hub.
Chickering and Gamson: http://www.lonestar.edu/multimedia/SevenPrinciples.pdf
Leibold and Schwarz: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1060438.pdf
Rosanne Abdulla is the EDU Content Marketing Manager at D2L. Previously, she was a part of the Training team. She completed her PhD in French Studies in 2018, where she researched extreme contemporary French Literature through a psychological lens. She has taught second language acquisition within the higher education sector, including undergraduate-level university courses, college degree and diploma courses, and continuing education programs. Rosanne has also been certified with the Ontario College of Teachers since 2011.
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