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Feedback is essential for student learning, but it can be a challenge to provide meaningful feedback that students actually review and use to inform their future work. Effective feedback is goal-oriented, specific, actionable, and timely. Feedback that is unfocused or unclear or that comes too late for a student to implement can be unhelpful and frustrating.

Feedback decreases the “transactional distance” between the instructor and students. It makes students more engaged and learning outcomes improve (Moore, 1991; Ice et al, 2007; Gray and DiLoreto, 2016).

Feedback can take many forms, including written, audio, and video. Consider using audio or video feedback for learners in your online course. These types of feedback are perceived by students to increase their sense of their instructor’s presence and caring (Orlando, 2011; Ice et al, 2007).

Feedback Considerations

As you consider how you will provide feedback to students, think about the following:

  • What are your students’ preferences for feedback?
  • Can students readily access the feedback?
  • Does the format of the feedback fit the assignment?
  • What type of feedback and how much is feasible for you to provide?
  • How can you establish routines to help you provide timely feedback?


Strategies to Engage Students with Feedback

  • Give feedback without, or before, grades
  • Create scaffolded projects with feedback along the way
  • Monitor whether students are reading and acting on feedback
  • Involve students in actively doing something with the feedback
  • Try giving audio feedback
  • Make sure your feedback is worth reading!



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Promoting Instructional Excellence Copyright © by Cathleen O'Neal; Constance Harris; and Olivia Pollard is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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