This one's a bit depressing. Students prefer automatically generated feedback to your carefully crafted efforts. OK, this study is seriously lacking in statistical power, but I suspect that it reveals a deeper truth needed to satisfy the feedback monster: when is more important than what.
What do we want? Feedback. When do we want it? Now!
Students’ feedback preferences: how do students react to timely and automatically generated assessment feedback? Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 09 Jan 2014, doi:10.1080/02602938.2013.870531
This study assesses whether or not undergraduate and postgraduate accounting students at an Australian university differentiate between timely feedback and extremely timely feedback, and whether or not the replacement of manually written formal assessment feedback with automatically generated feedback influences students’ perception of feedback constructiveness. The study demonstrates that students do not differentiate between timely feedback and extremely timely feedback. This result holds for both on-campus as well as off-campus students, although undergraduate on-campus students have significantly higher timeliness expectations than undergraduate off-campus students. In addition, the study demonstrates that a replacement of manually generated feedback with automatically generated feedback improves students’ perception of the constructiveness of the provided feedback substantially (undergraduate) or significantly (postgraduate). Instructors may consequently be able to exploit the advantages of automatic feedback tools without having to be concerned about the impact of such feedback on student perceptions. In addition, instructors should only aim to provide extremely timely feedback rather than timely feedback, if sound pedagogical reasons are available to justify the required effort.