Procedural feedback offers an opportunity to assess engagement levels with the learning methods as the course unfolds. This will relate to the design of the study activities that you are asking students to perform. For example, one element of the activity design may be for students to complete short progress reports at milestones during the course, which invite them to reflect on their engagement with the task & tools and their performance to date. This type of feedback will benefit student learning by supporting reflection on action and will provide an evaluation trail for the performance of the online tasks through the production of individual or group reports on study progress.
For this third year undergraduate module, in preparation for the weekly seminar students were requested to make blog entries, each submitting an individual report on the reading that they had completed for the week, articulating a view on a series of key texts which they would discuss in the seminar. The instructor reviewed the blog entries prior to the seminar as a way of understanding the range of reading that had been undertaken during the week, helping her to manage the seminar in a more effective way:
It really helped me to understand what they had gotten from the material (literature). I knew if the responses concentrated on a couple of texts – I knew what they liked and understood and it would help me prepare for the seminar. It was a form of feedback – a feedback loop to the instructor. If they didn’t get something, I could plan and revise what to do with the seminar.
Jane Elliott, course instructor
History and Theory of Criticism
Example of student online activity used to inform face-to-face teaching
Dr Jane Elliot, English and Related Literature
View History and Theory of Criticism Case Study [PDF]
Reflective tools where students are actively contributing to an activity can be used in evaluations. Course participants may be invited to reflect on their learning experiences as the course unfolds through personal learning journals, reflective diaries (video or blog) or through completion of self-assessment pro formas, which help students to assess their own progress with the learning tasks. The evidence can provide an insight into their approach to learning tasks, as well as flagging up engagement levels and progress to the course instructor.
In this undergraduate module students worked on a small research project in groups and presented their findings on a current issue in science. To improve the working process each group was provided with a virtual ‘space’ to facilitate sharing and to record their interactions – and they were expected to complete a group diary summing up their progress in tackling the research task.
I thought that the VLE was very useful for group work and enhanced the ability of the group to function and made their activities more transparent to me.
The diaries kept as a record of group meetings were more organised and more detailed than they had been in previous years. In addition, a few of them had several contributors whereas previous paper based diaries tended to be kept by one nominated member. It seemed to me that the diary was owned more by the group than an individual which I liked.
Emma Rand, course instructor
Social Aspects of Science
Example of online tools to record group progress
Emma Rand, Biology
View Social Aspects of Science Case Study [PDF]