Category Archives: Feedback

Making audio feedback easy in Moodle – the joys of Open Source Software

Following our move from the text matching service TurnItIn to a rival product Urkund, the most common complaint that we received was the loss of “Feedback Studio” feature of TurnItIn and in particular the ability to easily provide audio feedback to students. Following consultation with the Moodle community we concluded that having the ability to provide audio feedback directly to students directly through Moodle would be a very valuable addition to the core Moodle capabilities. We raise a ticket on the Moodle tracker and proceeded to encourage members of the community to comment on and vote for this tracker item if they thought it would be worthwhile.

Power of the people

The Moodle community spoke and Moodle HQ responded as you would expect and agreed to examine the potential of adding audio feedback into core. I’m delighted to report that 12 months later, thanks to the team in HQ we have a “patch” enabling us to provide audio feedback to students on their assignments for our Moodle 3.5 instance and audio feedback will be available as part of core for Moodle 3.6.

This development is yet another example of the benefit of Open Source. I firmly believe that it would take significantly more time and persuasion to convince a commercial LMS provider to not only take on board users feedback but make significant changes to core product in such a short space of time. The community were able to investigate the code themselves, provide suggestions to Moodle HQ developers and troubleshoot problems as they arose. Of course that it not to mention that this significant enhancement is available at no extra cost to the end users once adopted into core.


Embedding a twitter hashtag feed into your moodle site

Trying to get students to participate in moodle discussion forums can drive you up the wall.

There are a variety of  techniques that you can use to encourage engagement in the forums but this post may provide an easier solution. There is an old saying (unfortunately I don’t know where it came from, “if you want to catch a fish, go where the fish are”. In this context I interpret that as if you want to get students talking to one another about your subject – go to where they talk. The most obvious place for todays students is through social media. This short video shows you how to embed a hashtag from twitter into your moodle page. So when they talk on twitter about your subject, using the hashtag that you provide, all of their comments on twitter are fed through into your moodle course

In this video you will see the twitter feed being placed as a HTML block on the side of the course. You can also insert the feed as a “label” in a section on the course – the choice is yours

A brief guide to screencast-o-matic – a free screencasting tool

Another free screencast tool. Like its counterparts of ScreenR and Jing there are premium versions also available at a specific price, providing additional functionality.

Good points

  • Its free
  • it allows 15 minutes video as opposed to the 5 minutes on offer through Jing and ScreenR

Bad points

  • It is not as intuitive to use at first but once you get used to it, you will have no problems
  • There is a watermark in your video with the free account

There are a series of tutorials on the use of screen-o-matic on their YouTube channel

A brief guide to Jing – the free screencasting tool


JIng (Photo credit: blogpocket)

The always-ready program that allows you to instantly capture images and record video on your computer—then share them with anyone through a variety of web 2 tools. The video below gives a nice introduction to Jing and how easy it is to use.

Good points

  • It’s easy to use
  • it’s free
  • It captures both picture and movie from your screen
  • it’s very easy to link with other web 2 tools i.e. twitter, facebook etc
  • You can download the movie onto your computer to edit if you have an editing program

Bad points

  • You are limited to five minutes recording
  • you have to install the program on your PC/Mac

If you like what you have just seen but don’t want to download it yet –  Try an interactive Jing Tutorial

A brief guide to – the web based screencasting tool

ScreenR is a web based screencasting tool that makes it very easy to create and share screencasts

You must have an account to record and publish a screencast but you can sign into an account through Facebook, Twitter, Google, Windows Live or LinkedIn. Alternatively you can just create a “ScreenR” account

This video gives you a very quick overview of screenR

with a more comprehensive walk through available in the video at the bottom of this post

The good points

  • It’s free
  • it’s easy to use
  • it’s web based so its accessible from everywhere with the internet
  • you can download your video or export it to youtube

The bad points

  • you are limited to five minutes
  • zooming in and out during recording is not possible
  • How to create a mathcast with a tablet, MS OneNote and Screenr (2mins) created using Screenr and a tablet

  • Compound Interest Example (3mins) created using Screenr, a tablet and Articulate Studio

Feedback through technology

The results of our assessment influence our students for the rest of their lives and careers – fine if we get it right, but unthinkable if we get it wrong. – Phil Race, 2009

There is a tremendous amount of work being done throughout the sector to enhance student feedback. Feedback is an essential part of effective learning. It helps students understand the subject being studied and gives them clear guidance on how to improve their learning. Feedback can improve a student’s confidence, self-awareness and enthusiasm for learning. Substantial developments in educational technology allow staff to speed up feedback provision, to provide more detailed feedback and to encourage greater engagement of students with the feedback process.

According to Gibbs and Simpson (2004), good teacher feedback should focus on what students have achieved and what they need to do next. It should be timely, so ideally it should be available when students are ‘stuck’, when it will have maximum impact, and in time to improve subsequent assignments. Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick (2006) maintained that good-quality feedback should ultimately be geared to helping students to learn to trouble-shoot and self-correct their own performance. This might be achieved by providing feedback which, rather than giving the answer, points students to where to find the answer (for example, ‘go back to p 35 in the text and rethink how you would explain this point in future’), or by providing feedback on students’ attempts to self-assess their own work.

Other strategies known to enhance the power of teacher feedback include linking feedback information to assessment criteria, providing corrective advice and not just information on strengths and weaknesses, and prioritising specific areas for improvement. There is evidence that ‘feed-forward’ information is more effective than feedback information. Such information does not just tell students where they went wrong, but also what to focus on to make improvements in subsequent tasks (Knight, 2006). This helps to stimulate transfer of learning to new problems.

Both Yorke (2005) and Tinto (2005) have argued that teacher feedback is of critical importance to student learning, especially in the first year of undergraduate study. Teacher feedback helps to reinforce academic expectations in the early stages of a module or programme, and is especially important when academic demands differ from those experienced by students before entering HE (Yorke and Longden, 2004). Teacher feedback is also a source against which students can check their understanding of assessment requirements, criteria and standards.

Through feedback, students can learn from their mistakes and misconceptions and build on achievements. Over time, teacher feedback should help students to develop accurate perceptions of their abilities and establish internal standards against which to evaluate their own work.  Research shows that a great deal of feedback given to students is delayed (for example, feedback on the first assignment not being given until after the second assignment is due), not understood, demotivating and does not provide any guidance for future action. So how can technology fix that? The following screencast illustrates how I have used two features of the learning management systems – Moodle, to issue timely comprehensive feedback to students.

I would appreciate any thoughts that you have on how technology can enhance feedback and possibly some examples that you would be willing to share.

Further weblinks –

Related posts: Rubrics, Audacity, Moodle

Rubrics for assessment


SLEDcc_orange_rubrics_semifinal_draft (Photo credit: Fleep Tuque)

A rubric is an attempt to communicate expectations of quality around a task.  A rubric can also provide a basis for self-evaluation, reflection, and peer review. It is aimed at accurate and fair assessment, fostering understanding, and indicating a way to proceed with subsequent learning/teaching.Please find abelow a variety of rubrics that I have encountered from various workshops and courses that I have attended. Please give the authors of the rubrics the appropriate recognition if you decide to spread these on to your colleagues.

Peer Assessment Rubric – based on a design by Richard Felder

Sharon Flynn from NUI Galway very kindly shared rubric that she uses for On Discussion participation

Oral assessment – Dolan School of Business, Fairfield University

As a student on the Learning Innovation Network special purpose award “Teaching and Learning”, I received feedback in the form of a rubric on a seminar paper that I submitted to the course instructors, led by Marion Palmer, IADT.

There is also a good discussion in this article on rubrics for student blogs

I would be really interested in your comments on rubrics and would be delighted if you would be willing to share rubrics that you have came across throughout your education. I have also found great websites on assessment that can be accessing by clicking

Podcasting – some useful resources

why podcasts can be useful in teaching, what tools can be used to make them, and how they can incorporate them into their Google Sites. The links below includes a video, downloadable notes, and some useful resources for additional information all orientated around podcasting.

Read the rest of this entry

Audio Feedback

In order to optimise any assessment, continuous or otherwise, in terms of a learning experience for the student, feedback is crucial (Race, 2007). Group work and peer evaluation will reduce the lecturers workload to a certain extent, however the challenge of issuing timely feedback is still an issue. Descriptive feedback, given directly after an assignment has been completed, informs our students of strengths and areas in need of improvement and allows them to address these items before they embark on the next assignment or final draft. Lecturers reported that this eliminates the need to correct similar items in consecutive assignments/drafts and saves both the student and the lecturer time and energy. Nevertheless, planning time for giving students effective feedback is an important and challenging aspect of the teaching and learning process. Read the rest of this entry