Feedback: Try Something ...


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This section provides some suggestions for simple things you could try if you would like to make small changes to the way you feedback


using a comment bank for feedback on your next assignment

The use of banks of standardised comments and, associated with that, software which facilitates their assembly into a printed report, is sometimes frowned upon or considered as ‘cheating’ in some way.

Reflection should show that actually, it’s anything but cheating. It you are marking a large pile of assignments prepared to a standard brief and using standard assessment criteria, it’s inevitable that the same comments will present themselves again and again. Why waste time trying to think of different ways to express the same opinion? It might be better to spend that time thinking about a personal comment which relates what the student has managed to do to the overall expectations of the unit and programme.

Jonathan Willson from the Department of Information and Communications explains the value of comment banks in his article. He also explains how he uses a tool called ‘electronic feedback software’ to put comments into a finished report. The important part, however, is not the technology but the thinking in advance about what he might need to say about an assignment rather than the more usual approach of waiting to see what the assignments are like when he starts marking. Planning feedback before the unit starts, in terms of what you are likely to see in assignments, will help you to reinforce your expectations through your contact with students.