Saturday, April 27, 2019

Students Prefer Video Feedback: But is it efficient and effective?

Dr Tracii Ryan,
Monash University
Ryan, Henderson and Phillips (2019), surveyed 4,514 Australian university students about the feedback they received. Students preferred audio or video comments (which the authors confusingly refer to as "digital recording"), to text. Students also preferred multiple modes to single, and were less impressed with rubrics.

However, this study was only of what students preferred, it did not test if the form of feedback was more effective, in terms of improving the quality of their future work. Also no account was taken of the cost of preparing the feedback, or the quantity. Also the study did not address the option of students providing feedback to each other.

I suspect the well know "no significant difference" effect applies to feedback. That is, it is unlikely the format of the feedback makes any difference to the outcome. Students like video content, but this makes no difference to their learning.
What I suggest will make a difference is timely and targeted feedback. As an example, I use the approach of  placing brief text comments next to the student's mark, combining formative feedback with summative assessment (Worthington, 2012).

This week I have been teaching 80 master of computing students in blended mode. The biggest problem is to get them to spend enough time on task. To do that I have devised a series of graduated exercises for them. This includes small amounts of assessment, each of which provides the opportunity to provide feedback the student will notice, because there is a mark next to it. Also the students provide feedback to each other (and get assessed on this). Students really, really, hate providing feedback to each other, but as a student myself I found it very useful.


Ryan, T., Henderson, M., & Phillips, M. (2019). Feedback modes matter: Comparing student perceptions of digital and non‐digital feedback modes in higher education. British Journal of Educational Technology. URL

Worthington, T. (2012, July). A Green computing professional education course online: Designing and delivering a course in ICT sustainability using Internet and eBooks. In 2012 7th International Conference on Computer Science & Education (ICCSE) (pp. 263-266). IEEE. URL

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