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SEED projects 2020 – Designing for learning

Reflective feedback journals to develop feedback literacy

Associate Professor Lesley Gardner

Assoc Prof Lesley Gardner

Assoc Prof Lesley Gardner and Udayangi Muthupoltotage (Faculty of Business and Economics)

Timely, frequent, and constructive feedback is acknowledged to have a powerful influence on student achievement. But its impact on higher education students’ learning is highly variable and debatable. This is evidenced in dissatisfaction with assessment feedback processes expressed frequently by students and staff. Moreover, learning gains may only occur if students actively participate in the feedback process and action the feedback they received. In the area of information systems learning, we have recognised the necessity to promote feedback literacy among higher education students and staff and therefore propose a feedback journal intervention in a small information systems course.

This project aimed to design, develop, implement, and validate reflective feedback journals on Canvas for University of Auckland students. The purpose of the project contributes towards enabling students and staff to effectively and continuously engage in the two-way communicative process of giving, receiving, and utilising feedback on assessments. A reflective journal would provide evidence of students’ evolving thought processes, documenting valuable details of the mechanisms they use to make meaning of their learning experiences.

The uniqueness of this project and its innovation lies in enabling students to create and maintain a reflective electronic journal of the assessment feedback they have received and the manner in which they have actioned the feedback across their courses. We designed and developed a mechanism for learners to collate all their assessments and feedback received, enabling them to identify recurring themes in their feedback and develop a sense of their own progression. We also implemented tools and activities facilitated by staff for students to dissect and understand feedback in order to arrive at concrete actions to address each of the areas identified for improvement. Students have a platform to reflect on their learning development and think aloud about their feedback, making processes and understanding the impact of the actions they engage in for addressing feedback. Staff are able discuss and comment on the reflections of the students at intermittent points in the semester to facilitate continuous learning.

The SEED grant was used to remunerate teaching assistants for the development of the required tools and activities and their facilitation. It also enable obtaining evaluations and listening to voices from students on the impact of the project and research assistance for the dissemination of lessons learned.