by Yvonne Braun and Natascha Reich

Giving and receiving feedback is an integral part of teaching and learning. Remote instruction creates new challenges for delivering timely and useful feedback on students’ work to enhance their learning, whether as part of graded assignments, discussion activities, or progress in a studio-based class. And yet, remote instruction – where instructors and students may not be in the regular presence of one another – makes feedback even more critical for fostering connection and helping students progress in their courses. 

These short profiles highlight creative strategies UO faculty and GEs are using to give real-time and asynchronous feedback—each featured instructor also shares one piece of advice for colleagues. As always, not all ideas may work equally well for all courses and disciplinary considerations, but hopefully seeing how colleagues across campus are finding ways to create connection remotely inspires you to find solutions that fit best for you and your students. 

For additional ideas on giving feedback, see this blog post on “The Importance of Grading and Giving Feedback” and this recording of a TEP/UO Online workshop on using the Canvas Gradebook. 


Name: Kirby Brown, Norman H. Brown, Jr. Faculty Fellow
Unit: Department of English, College of Arts and Sciences
Spring Course: ENG 244: Introduction to Native American Literature

One way I’m providing feedback to my students:  

I provide three types of feedback: 1) assignment-specific interaction on quizzes, active reading journals, and discussion forums in question-specific quiz comments (quizzes) and targeted feedback via Canvas rubrics (assignments); 2) non-rubric related engagement about larger ideas and arguments via the discussion forum in which I participate as an interlocutor; and 3) global feedback for the entire class via the Announcements function in Canvas. I have also been utilizing video feedback where possible as a complement to written feedback and as a way to lend a bit more personal dynamic to those interactions.  

One piece of advice:  

I would say that providing both practical and substantive feedback throughout the term–e.g. engaging students about larger ideas, concepts, frameworks, and arguments while also attending to assignment- and skill-specific comments to help them further develop their critical reading and writing toolbox–is crucial. It’s also important for me to reach out individually via email from time to time to check on how students are doing, how the class is treating them, and what suggestions they might have to make it more productive and interactive for them. 


Name: Lori Kruckenberg
Unit: School of Music and Dance/ Musicology & Ethnomusicology area
Spring Course(s): MUS 660: Music in the Middle Ages

One way I’m providing feedback to my students:  

In speed-grader on Canvas, I used not only the annotation options and assignment comments, but also (for the first time) the media comment option. I made 1-2 minute individual videos with feedback for each student. It took a few extra minutes per assignment (manageable for a smaller class of 25 students), but as I was posting, I received instant responses — some to thank me for the thorough feedback, and others just asking me how I was doing or wishing me well. I found it really touching. My video comments were not that different than the written ones, but somehow speaking to each student allowed me to feel and sound less mechanical and remote, and more human. I found it easier to convey with spoken inflection how their assignments were successful, how I looked forward to the next installments, and simply to wish them well.    

One piece of advice:  

The uploading of the video seemed a little fiddly and to take a couple extra minutes per upload. Be patient. But student feedback (in speed-reader and via emails) suggests that it paid off and accomplished what I hope it would. 


Name: Bonnie Mann
Unit: Department of Philosophy, College of Arts and Sciences
Spring Course: PHIL 170: Philosophy of Love and Sex (300 students) 

One way I’m providing feedback to my students:   

I am doing teaching through Panopto lecture recordings available to students a few days before scheduled classes. These recordings include graded quizzes (testing for understanding, which students can attempt multiple times), and “Reflection Journal” writings. These are basically replacing moments in the class when I would have had the students discuss a question in groups. So basically I just plant a slide in the lecture asking students to go write in their reflection journals on a particular question. These are reviewed and graded by the GEs for the course at the end of each of four units. They are also doing short essay exams, but the Reflection Journals seem to be really keeping students engaged and have been surprisingly effective. GEs report a high percentage of students really engaging the material in this way.  

One piece of advice: 

Unit 1 lectures/quizzes: no due date during add/drop and as students are orienting to the class. 

Unit 2-4 lectures/quizzes: due date on Friday at 11am for ALL lectures for a given week. Gives flexibility but makes it so the students have to complete lectures before discussion section is held over Zoom. Hopefully, this helps students who are struggling with procrastination with open-ended or too-flexible deadlines.  

“Overview and Instruction” page at the beginning of each Module on Canvas where students can link to readings and Panopto lectures: organized as Step 1, Step 2, Step 3 for each Unit.  

Disaster has been: failing interface between Panopto and Canvas for automatic grading of quizzes. Has taken tech people half the term (don’t mean that to sound critical, they are scrambling and working way too many hours) to figure out why it wasn’t working and make it work. In order for automatic grading of quizzes to work, Panopto lectures have to be accessed a certain way by students: make sure you consult with tech gurus about this before you upload and set up lectures in Canvas—now the whole team knows how to make it work. 


Name: Galen Martin
Unit: Department of Global (International) Studies and Environmental Studies Program, College of Arts and Sciences
Spring Course: INTL 360: International Conflict and Cooperation 

One way I’m providing feedback to my students:  

In order to get to know my students and for them to have some immediate interaction with other students, I began the class with a series of compelling images reflecting war and peace. The images are a preview of the course units, some of specific individuals or events, others more symbolic or abstract.  Students were asked to reflect on the images. I used the peer review option in Canvas so each student read and responded to four other students. I then read the responses and the peer reviews before writing a paragraph to each student as way of welcoming them to the class. 

One piece of advice: 

Even in short responses on student work or questions, always begin by using their first name. It helps them feel less anonymous. 


Name: Christopher Michlig
Unit: Department of Art, College of Design
Spring Course(s): Art 115: Surface, Space, and Time 

One way I’m providing feedback to my students:  

As a frequent teacher of large courses, I have long been skeptical of the “pedagogical theater” of live lectures as a kind of sub-optimal “edu-tainment.” In fact, just before the pandemic I had been seeking spaces on campus in which to teach a semi-flipped version of a lecture lab course, with the goal of optimizing concept and skill acquisition through lecturing in a conference roomtype space that could support break out groups and engagement in a way that large lecture spaces cannot. An important post-pandemic consideration is a scrutiny of the need for large groups of students to gather for lectures at all. Our precious together-time should be used in innovative, critically engaged and creative ways. An unexpected silver lining of delivering large lectures live via Zoom is that the GE/lab instructors can simultaneously moderate real-time questions and answers in the group chatand all of it is transcribed, recorded and shareable. Zoom is now synonymous with “remote learning”which is a myth of course. The limitations of video conferencing need to be critically acknowledged and offset by other activities. 

In our studio courses we have broken our students into ‘pods’like ‘pods’ of dolphinsthese ‘pods’ being small enough for effective and accountable instructor-student and peer-peer engagement via Zoom meetings, Canvas’ “Group Set” function, etc. Half way through the term we merged the ‘pods’ into ‘superpods‘, doubling their size and creating greater opportunity for students engagement, as well as allowing for greater efficiency of instruction and feedback. We have enjoyed discussing with students that we have borrowed the ‘pod’/’superpod‘ format from dolphin behaviorbio-mimicry (dolphin survival in resource rich/poor environments) turns out to be an effective remote teaching/learning reference. Providing student feedback in small group/’pods’ as well as taking advantage of the “peer review” function in Canvas has proven to be a very valuable practice. Some of our researchoriented assignments are created within Canvas’ “discussion” format so that instructors can comment discursively within threads of research and discussion. 

One piece of advice:  

For those who have not familiarized themselves with “flipped classroom” history and best practices, these strategies will be of great value in the Fall as we move to “hybrid” teaching. Front loading course content via recorded videos, demonstrations, and tutorials opens more time for in-person small group discussion and critical engagement. I recommend reading “Re-visiting the flipped classroom in a design context” which “brings to light the dramaturgical and mediatized aspects of learning experiences that favour a closer connection between recorded content and “live” presentation by the lecturer.1 One of the important points made by the authors is that students can be encouraged or required to use media as innovatively in their coursework as their teachers are in creating and delivering course contentinterviews, inserted and edited clips, podcasts, online exhibitions, e-portfolios, and a range of mass media production strategies and techniques. 

  1. “Re-visiting the flipped classroom in a design context”, Coyne, Lee, Petrova, Journal of Learning Design, 2017 

Name: Florabelle Moses
Unit: School of Music and Dance
Spring Courses: DANC 199: Bachata and Salsa (1 credit), and DANC 372: Ballet III (1 credit) 

One way I’m providing feedback to my students:  

I am teaching on Zoom 100% of the time, with additional times beyond class schedules. I am able to give instruction and real-time corrections to my students through Zoom, and students have responded well to this change. I have had to make changes in instruction to accommodate the smaller spaces in which students are dancing compared to the studio, and I give them modifications as needed for their safety. I asked my students for feedback and here is what a few have said: “Online ballet has been going remarkably well. Florabelle has it down to a great system and class is easy to follow even over Zoom. The combinations are fit for small spaces, and we always have the freedom to modify for our safety. I am still getting feedback and corrections, and I feel that our time is well spent.” and “Even with delivery through Zoom, I am learning and growing through your instruction and corrections in each class.I appreciate that the University’s Ballet III course is challenging but still approachable for multiple levels of dancers and that it allows the opportunity for all dancers to grow in skill and artistry. I also appreciate your class structure and the growth that we make as we transition through each term. 

One piece of advice: 

It has been important for students to still have real-time feedback from me and this has contributed to their growth as dancers and they report that it has helped keep their spirits up during this time. 


Have a question about how you can enhance student learning by giving feedback remotely in your courses?   

Contact TEP at tep@uoregon.edu or you can use this form and a consultant will be in touch.  

 

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