Educational practitioners have been showing increasing interest in how audio feedback can be used to support student learning. Recording yourself talking about a student’s progress can help to communicate with them on a more personal level. Audio feedback is often used in combination with text or visual feedback but can be used on its own as an audio file like MP3.
Why would I use technology to provide audio feedback?
- More personal and conversational in nature
- Conveys tone which can add additional context and meaning
- Can be listened to via mobile device whilst on the move
- Alternative medium to text which some learners may prefer
- Many people can talk more quickly than they can type saving them time when generating feedback
How do I use technology to do this?
As with any feedback start by considering what message it is that you want to convey to the student and how you want them to listen back to it. Do you want the students to see the work at the same time as they hear the audio? Tools like Grademark allow you to add audio feedback whilst viewing the students work.
Do you want to record the audio on the move and then upload it later? Using a voice recorder or mobile app allows you to record feedback whilst you are away from your computer and then send it to the students later. Grademark on the other hand allows you to record directly into Course Resources and have it delivered to the student without any additional uploading, although this is limited to 3 minutes.
Feedback Studio – You can create up to 3 minutes of audio feedback in Feedbackstudio which works well to provide short supplementary feedback to the comments left on the students work.
Feedback Folders – A folder is created automatically for each student which only they and the tutors can see. After creating these you can upload an individual audio feedback file for each student.
Panopto can also be used for recording audio feedback for students – Setting up and sharing audio video feedback – Setup a private folder in the module which students can’t see, record feedback to it, then share the recordings with students so they can view their own feedback.
Hints and Tips on creating audio feedback
There is lots of advice about using audio feedback but here are some key areas to think about:
Technical Set-up – You will need to make sure that you have headphones or speakers and a microphone. Once you have this you will need to adjust the sound settings on your computer to ensure the feedback you record is loud enough for students to hear.
Fear – Getting used to talking into a microphone and listening back to your voice can take a bit of time have a few practices before you dive straight in. Students do not expect a polished audio masterpiece for their feedback and understand that it is natural you will stumble upon words and correct yourself.
Time – Don’t re-record yourself unless absolutely necessary. Students will miss small mistakes so it is not worth the extra time it will take to record them again. Keep feedback as short and to the point as possible, the longer the feedback the more likely the student is to switch off and pay less attention to what is said. Consider combining this method with others in order to keep audio to a minimum.
Time Saving – Don’t expect to see immediate time saving over written feedback as it will take you a while to get used to a new process, some staff also find that they do not end up saving time at all but the benefit to students makes it worthwhile making the change.
Tone and Language – Use simple language and try to stick to a conversational style. Consider the tone you use as this can convey more meaning than the words alone.
Structure don’t script – Students tend to find that anything too heavily scripted sounds impersonal and robotic, try structuring it instead writing out a few bullet points of key points to make. Consider adding a generic section of feedback at the beginning to highlight common mistakes made by the whole group, this saves you having to repeat the same points again and again.
Feed-forward rather than feedback – Students often find it frustrating getting feedback on work that they are not able to change and resubmit. Using a feed-forward approach focuses on what was good about the work and provides specific points for improvement directly related to another piece of work they will need to submit.