How to Give Better Feedback in the Classroom

“Feedback can be a powerful force in college classrooms, and there are ways to make the experience of providing and receiving it even stronger,” write Holly Fiock, instructional designer in the College of Education at Purdue University, and Heather Garcia, instructional design specialist at Oregon State University Ecampus, in a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

In the story, Fiock and Garcia give tips to instructors about how to solicit feedback about their teaching, and also how to give feedback to students. The article focuses on technology as an evolving way to give and receive feedback, and how instructors can utilize new tools to their advantage.

The article is divided into many subsections including essentials of feedback, four qualities of good feedback, and tips for getting started. In the essentials section, Fiock and Garcia discuss how students and instructors often view feedback differently. Students often feel that they do not get detailed enough feedback in a timely manner, while instructors feel that they give adequate feedback. Instructors can remedy this problem by using a number of options for giving feedback online including rubrics, or online scoring guides to evaluate students’ work, audio, or a sound file of an instructor giving feedback, and digital embedded feedback or track changes on written assignments.

The four qualities of good feedback include frequent, specific, balanced, and timely. “Formative feedback that meets all four principles is not just good practice but critical to student success,” write the authors in the story.

Finally, tips for getting started include not being afraid to ask for help, starting with tools your institution already has, and making sure that your choices are accessible to all students.

Technology can’t solve every problem with feedback in the classroom, but it can offer ways to refine and expedite the process. The article ends with a long resources section that instructors can use to get started.