Feedback with a face
Feedback with a face avatar

It is ironic that feedback is the discussion topic for this week as I am using this discussion to take a much needed break from grading. I had a very difficult time with grading my submissions through Canvas as I did not know I could still grade through Turnitin’s feedback center (where my comment bank lives), so I had to type out all of my comments in canvas and did not realize my mistake until half way through my second class, but it was too late. However, one of the positives of this mess up is that it did allow me to rethink my comment bank.

I was part of an online feedback learning community at CSUSM a few years ago, so I have a comment bank I have been using for a while. While that has seemed to serve me well the last couple years, I do worry about the comments not being…. Legitimate? I am blanking on a good word to choose here, but “cookie cutter” comes to mind as well. A comment bank is obviously extremely helpful for in-text comments, but I do worry that a student could see those cut and paste comments as laziness on my end. I give a decent end of paper summary/response/justification which tends to be more personal and specific, but there is also the issue of managing time. What good is a page of feedback if a student is not getting it back in time to use on his/her next paper? So I can see how the comment bank is good, but I worry about how impersonal it may sound.  Honestly, I would prefer to grade all of my papers by hand as I love to use symbols/shorthand to help speed the process along, but the logistics of managing/handling 100+ physical papers make me nauseous.

If, or when, I transfer into the OWCourse, I definitely foresee using the video/voice comment tools. I love discussing a student’s paper face to face during office hours, and while a video comment section won’t necessarily be synchronous, I imagine it could produce a more authentic discussion on my end. My voice/face in conjunction with those dangerous, bordering on cookie cutter, comments/annotations could fix my worry about sounding lackadaisical. I think it would be helpful to reinforce the idea of reading/responding to a paper out loud as opposed to just skimming it. Students could hear their errors, and would hopefully see the benefit of breaking away from the screen for the revision process.

I am also very intrigued with the peer-review section Warnock discussed as online peer feedback is something I am trying in my f2f course this semester (with the help of Google docs). While I would love to eventually cobble together something like Chad’s video response activity for peer feedback, I am fascinated to see how taking the peer review discussion online is going to pan out.

In the end, I think the concept I am most excited for when it comes to feedback is to make the process less digital and incorporate more of my lovely face into the mix (with the help of the best webcam money can buy).

3 thoughts on “Feedback with a face
Feedback with a face avatar

  1. Where is the Love?
    Wow, where to begin. This is my first semester teaching fully online (City College); the transition from traditional to hybrid was fairy painless, however, the jump to fully online has been a challenge. I often miss the relationship with my students, and I have become hyper aware of how I may come across with only text and video and how my comments if presented in a conference or in a casual remark on a paper paired with a “you’ve got this!” can seem more like I am cheering for success, rather than judging.
    Traditionally, I use rubrics more for a guide than to evaluate. I attach the rubric to each prompt, and we use it as we scaffold the assignment both in groups, on discussion boards, and face to face. I created an outline template that identifies where the elements of the rubric might appear. (Kind of like the game Operation) 😊 This visual with color seems to connect well. I make minimal marks in the margins and on the text, and then write (hopefully legibly) a personal comment reflecting struggles, but also success since the last version.
    Another element I use to prior to comments is the color coding. I ask students, during the first draft to final draft process, to highlight certain elements of the paper using colors. For instance, highlight all topic sentences blue, textual evidence green, analysis/discussion yellow and so on. The colors connect to a rubric, and this allows me to use colors if a portion of the paper needs more attention.
    Google Docs have served me well for both online and traditional paper conferences. We can both log in (or groups can share for peer discussions) and we can look at the paper in real time. I make suggestions and ask my student to re work a sentence or offer more clarity with an assertion.
    For some reason, I feel like online is so much more formal, and my traditional classes are less formal’ they are more of a safe space for ideas, challenges, and even celebrations. The perceived formality of the online class seems to amplify the Teacher/Student line. I am experimenting with ways to change my feedback or feedback philosophies in order to comment, connect, and celebrate my online students in more of a learning community. I want them to feel we are in this together
    Finally, Zoom seems to be a path I will continue down. I love the options of desk top, or white board. Also, I hold my office hours using meetings. I am playing with changing the way I comment by using more of these types of response, and I loved the section titled, Audiovisual Response. This might be what I am looking for to create a less formal, personal way to respond. My goal is to make my online classroom more inviting and collaborative, and providing personal, not canned responses seems the only way. But. . . it is so time consuming.

  2. Sean,
    I too worry about the canned replies. I have settled somewhere in the middle, and I use the cut and paste for common struggles, but I hand comment on the possitive elements of the writing. I always begin with the the strong parts of the writing, the parts that have great promise, and then I use the cut and paste, finally I always end with a personal message based on improvements and recognized effort.

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