Monday, July 02, 2012

Audio feedback workshop

Audio feedback I spent most of Friday at a workshop on audio feedback for student work. It proved to be a very thought-provoking day. The meeting was funded by HEA Social Sciences, based on a project funded by the University Teaching Enhancement Fund, which has two parts (so far):
  • A personal voice (good practice in audio feedback)
  • AUDIBLE (linguistic analysis of audio feedback)
The intention is also to produce a framework of support and advice for anyone interested in this approach to feedback on student work.

The morning consisted of a workshop generating and receiving audio feedback on a group work exercise. At first, I found this excruciating, but as the morning wore on, it became more and more interesting, comparing technologies and experiencing both sides of the feedback equation in short order. I learned that I need to reduce my use of the word "disappointing" when giving feedback (or the linguistics police will get me ;-)

The afternoon consisted of presentations by a number of speakers, which were interesting, but for me, not as interesting as the discussion they invoked. A few of the main points I took from this discussion:
  • Structure and signposting are particularly important (e.g. numbed points) in audio, otherwise it is very difficult to pick out and retain key points.
  • Audio feedback is much more like a tutorial than written feedback - conversational, with a performance element.
  • Students like audio if it augments rather than replaces written feedback. Oh dear, not  much prospect for time saving then, but the possibility of improving quality?
  • Does feedback really matter? Feed forward is the important goal, and audio tools don't do anything to help with that issue.
I went to this session because I was very interested in starting to use audio feedback. I came away with considerably less optimistic than when I arrived. I don't consider that to be a negative outcome. In fact I am hopeful that what I learned on Friday may help to avoid disappointment down the line.

Sarah Horrigan's reflections.

1 comment:

  1. Alan

    This is very useful. Last year our year one students received verbal feedback on practicals along with written feedback by email and an MP3 file delivered by email or by podcasting (real podcasting that is using Feedburner!).

    In our evaluation they preferred written feedback first followed by verbal in class followed by audio.

    They felt that written feedback was easier to retrieve and "look up" at a later date.

    Other year groups (year 2, final year and MSc) all responded more positively to audio feedback, particularly liking the personal touch and tone of voice etc.

    I agree that this is not a time-saving method but can augment existing methods to provide a better quality feedback experience.

    Some more about our MP3 audio feedback project on the blog, especially this post:

    Offering Sound Advice: Audio Feedback to Students

    Stephen McClean