Fitzgerald, R. (2011) To what extent does a digital audio feedback strategy support large cohorts? Paper presented to: 10th European Conference on e-Learning (ECEL-2011), Brighton Business School, University of Brighton, 10-11 November 2011.
The UK National Student Survey (NSS) regularly highlights student dissatisfaction with feedback, identifying factors such as timeliness; personalisation; specific information on how to improve in a clear and understandable manner and the level of detail given to students related to learning outcomes. For a large cohort, achieving these targets can be difficult and students are more likely to be at risk of receiving rushed and vague feedback as lecturers strive to return results as quickly as possible. In his research into the use of digital audio for feedback in the JISC Sounds Good Project, Bob Rotherham suggests that audio may be a way to assist “lecturers looking for a way of giving students good quality feedback on their work whilst saving time” Rotherham (2008, p1). Saunders et al (2005) suggests that a good teacher is one will take advantage of ICT opportunities in order to enrich the students experience, and this research evaluates the potential to provide meaningful, quality feedback to a large group of first year students on a Information Management module at Northampton Business School, via digital audio files. Using an action research methodology, this first cycle of research evaluates the process from the creation of the digital audio files right through to the personalised approach of returning the files to the students via the virtual learning environment. This paper analyses the effect of the experience on the lecturers involved and through subsequent group discussion and questionnaires, this research also evaluates the thoughts of the students involved and considers the overall impact on both home and international students. Initial results indicate that for large cohorts there is no simple answer but electronic feedback is certainly seen as more personal, more beneficial and digital audio may have some unexpected benefits for stakeholders. This paper will identify how this method will be reviewed for a further action research cycle