Saturday, 23 November 2013

Using audio to provide general feedback on exams, Dr Bill Dixon

Dr Bill Dixon (School of Sociology and Criminology) provides a description of his experiences of using audio to provide general feedback to all students on a module in relation to a multiple choice exam.
1.    In the project what technology and /or process did you use to provide feedback to students?
I wanted to provide generic feedback in an accessible format to first year students on an MCQ exam.  I recorded a sound file in MP3 format using a very simple recorder provided by the STAF project and uploaded it to the module section (CRI-10010 Understanding Crime) on the KLE.  

2.    Prior to the project how would you normally provide feedback to students?
In previous years I had provided written generic feedback in the form of a Word document posted on the KLE.  I was disappointed by the number of students accessing this feedback and given up doing so in 2009/10.
3.     Did you find providing feedback was more or less efficient than the process normally used?
Yes.  Although the process was new to me and I made several false starts with the recording, it took me no more than an hour to record and upload a 17 minute sound file.  Writing a Word document covering the same ground has taken me up to 2 hours in the past.
4.     Did using the technology allow you to provide richer or more detailed feedback to students when compared with the ‘normal’ process used?
It is hard to say whether the feedback provided in the sound file was richer or more detailed but it may well have seemed to be more immediate and personal.  But I have no hard evidence to support this hunch.
5.     Do you think that the students benefited from the change in feedback process? (Why? What is your data?)
With roughly similar numbers of students registered on the module the total number of visits to the audio file in 2010/11 from the date of release to 27th May was 52.  The corresponding number of visits to the Word document made available in 2008/9 was 29 over the same period.  
6.    From your perspective, what were the main advantages of using this process to produce feedback?
From my perspective the strengths of this process are the sense of immediacy (perhaps even intimacy) that a sound file provides and the time saved in creating such a file rather than a written document.
7.    From your perspective, were there any disadvantages to using this process to deliver feedback?
8.    How do you think the process used could be improved to make it easier to use?
No - like most things, practice will make the process (more) perfect.
9.    Will you continue to use the intervention in your teaching practice? If not, what would need to change for you to adopt the intervention as current practice?
I would certainly use a sound file to provide generic exam feedback again.  Since using this technology to record feedback I have also used it to record an entire lecture which was then uploaded to the KLE.