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Optimising Audio Feedback

This website serves as the workspace for AFAL (Audio Feedback Assisted Learning), a JISC funded project running from 1 November 2009 to 31 October 2010.

Audio feedback has been the emphasis of several large scale research projects in higher education (Sounds Good, Audio Supported Enhanced Learning). Research has found that not only do students benefit from this form of feedback but staff do as well. Examples of benefits of receiving audio feedback over written feedback include 1) it is easier to understand as there are no problems with illegible handwriting, 2) it contains more depth by going beyond simply stating the problem, and 3) students perceive audio feedback to be a richer form of feedback. This last point includes nuances, tone of voice, higher quantity of words as well as having feedback that is more genuine, more accessible, and more personal. The staff advantages are similar but have the added benefit of long-term time savings (in the short-term, as staff members learn and become more familiar with this new technique, it may not immediately be perceived as time-saving). An audio format also allows more flexibility as assessors can deviate from the standard marksheet order and focus on a few specific, concrete problems rather than a long list of edits without context or priority.

However, assessors who are currently giving audio feedback have many different ways of providing it to their students. One method is to record audio files, either by a computer or a digital voice recorder, and sharing the files with students, by sending them over email or using a course management website. Another method is to ask students to submit their assignment electronically, insert the audio comments at relevant points directly in the document, and return the document to the student. Yet another method is to use a screen capture program to record audio feedback whilst recording the screen activities of the assessor reviewing the document. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, but which method is optimal for staff and students?


Optimising audio feedback to maximise student and staff experience
Funded by JISC Learning and Teaching Innovations Grant

Project Director:
Dr I-Chant Chiang
Department of Psychology
Aberystwyth University

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