By @mhawksey

Student Audio Feedback: What, why and how

Listen to this:

Download link
[flickr]photo:2597104631[/flickr]I captured this clip of students from the University of Chester and Sheffield Hallam talking about their experiences of receiving audio feedback at the last Podcasting for Pedagogic Purposes SIG at Glasgow Caledonian University. This event was very fortuitous as at the time I was helping source material for a Queen Margaret University (QMU) staff workshop on this very topic. If you are still unclear as to what audio feedback is here is a nice description from Andrew Middleton:

Audio feedback can be defined as formative messages, recorded and distributed as digital audio to individual students or student groups in response to both ongoing and submitted work, allowing each student to develop their knowledge and the way they learn. (Middleton, A. 2008)

Why do I think audio feedback is worth exploring? It is clear from the National Student Survey (NSS) that feedback is a particular area if dissatisfaction. There is a growing pool of evidence that students perceive audio feedback as a positive to their learning experience (although I’m not aware of research on actual learning gains).

Existing practitioners/projects

In my research for the QMU workshop I came across a number of projects and practitioners exploring this area, which I believe are worth sharing in this post:

[If I’ve missed anyone off please use the comments to highlight them and their work]
In researching audio feedback it was clear while there were distinct benefits but there were some reoccurring themes in terms of limitations. First is scalability. It’s all well and good providing individual feedback to up to 50 students but with figures beyond this it just becomes to onerous.

Audio feedback models

A solution to this problem is to explore other audio feedback models. Andrew Middleton at Sheffield Hallam University has identified a number of alternative models which include:

More information on these models is available in a presentation made by Andrew at the Blended Learning Conference or in a forthcoming paper entitled ‘Audio Feedback design: principles and emerging practice’.

Don’t expect to save time

A finding from the Sounds Good 2 project is that providing individual student feedback is unlikely to save any staff time (there is a messy debate about whether high quality feedback offers long term gains in terms of how much additional feedback is required further down the line). Sounds Good have however circumstances where time can be saved (taken from the Sounds Good Final Report):


In terms of the technology there are a number of solutions which various projects propose. These include:

I also recently posted about Using Google Talk for Audio Feedback. This solution appears to be more troublesome than its worth but was useful as Joe Dale, via Andrew Middleton, highlighted the Vocaroo web service which look incredibly easy to use and worth a look at.

General advice

So what advice would I give to anyone thinking about using audio feedback? There are some very good recommendations from the Sounds Good project (final report) which are worth highlighting grouped under 4 themes: saving time; technical matters; administration; and structure:
Saving time

Technical matters



In terms of a procedure for creating audio feedback Bob Rotheram from the Sounds Good project recommends this procedure and general structure:

Feedback Procedure

General structure

Bob expands on these in his ‘Practice tips on using digital audio for assessment feedback
This post is based on material compiled and presented by Jim Sharp and Susi Peacock at Queen Margaret University

Exit mobile version