The LILAC 2010 conference keynote speaker was Aaron Porter, the vice-president (higher education) of the National Union of Students. Speaking on the challenges ahead for the UK HE system, his argument was aimed at the broader level of education – although one point raised during the audience debate that is worth mentioning here, is student feedback.
Yes, the perennial problem of student feedback! Aaron’s view was that face to face feedback carries more value for students and leads to greater improvements, or the opportunity for greater improvements, to be made in subsequent assessments. He suggested a possible model for more immediate and holistic feedback, based upon the Amazon, E-bay, ‘how-was-it-for-you’ format.
Whilst it may be useful for the impatient student to track their assignment:
- We have received your order (essay)
- Your order is in the warehouse (department office)
- Your order is being gift wrapped (marked)
- Your order is being dispatched (second marked)
- Your order is with Parcelforce (external examiner)
- You were not in to collect your deliver, please call at the post office (law department) between the hours of…
It is perhaps more useful to consider the feedback and star ratings that buyers and sellers can enter into in order to evaluate their experience of ordering the item / writing the essay and the receipt of their goods / comments and assessment.
Aaron also suggested that students should perhaps respond to the assessment feedback in some way before the actual grades were released in order to encourage active dialogue between staff and students, whether this be face to face or electronic. Perhaps the electronic method can encourage feedback to be given sooner, rather than later; and may have benefits for part-time students.