Often feedback is automated in the online context. This can include the use of multiple-choice, matching, true and false, etc. Since there is only one answer, the computer can score it, and a highly ambitious teacher can even provide automated feedback based on the answers the students select.
However, a lot of assessment cannot be automated. This means that the teacher must provide feedback manually to such assignments. The purpose of this post is to provide strategies for providing feedback in the online context.
Feedback for Individuals
The ways to provide feedback for students at the individual level are similar to how you could do this in a face-to-face teaching setting. Here, we are going to provide online equivalents of standard forms of intervention.
After checking an assignment, a teacher can message a student to provide feedback. Most LMS have a form of messaging, so this should be possible. In addition, most LMS provide some way to provide feedback to all the assignments and activities in the system, which is highly convenient for most teachers. If this does not work, another option is to send an email. If email is used, you can also attach a rubric for the student. This is time-consuming but highly doable for the weakest at technology.
Among those who hate to type, recording short videos explaining how you marked the assignment can be highly practical. Often you can provide much more detailed feedback to the students. Of course, this is a little bit more technical challenge, so it may not be practical in all situations. However, you can show the assignment on your screen and do a play-by-play of the student’s progress.
Feedback for the Whole Class
Students often make the same or similar mistakes. Therefore, instead of giving individual feedback to each student, you can share feedback with the entire class. The tools mentioned above apply in this setting, as well. When marking assignments, you look for common mistakes and explain them to all students in one message or video.
General whole class feedback is highly time-efficient. It satisfies most students who are generally happy with a general idea of how they are doing rather than a detailed report of every shortcoming.
Of course, you can do a combination of the two strategies above. For example, students who are doing well may only receive general whole class feedback. Then for struggling students, you may opt to provide more detailed feedback to help them pass the course.
Peer evaluation is also highly popular but challenging to do online. Just like teachers, students do not like to provide a lot of written feedback. It can also be challenging to monitor this process and make sure students are trying to help each other.
Providing feedback is essential, but it is highly time-consuming. Giving feedback can be even more tedious in the online context if you are trying to do it the same way as in a traditional classroom. However, making some small adjustments, such as giving feedback only to those who need it, can make this experience less painful.