Supporting Transition: Enhancing Feedback in First Year Using Digital Technologies (Y1Feedback)

Partner Institutions

Project Lead: National University of Ireland, Maynooth

Project Partners: Dublin City University, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Athlone Institute of Technology

Abstract

The Supporting Transition: Enhancing Feedback in First Year Using Digital Technologies (Y1Feedback) aims to enhance the quality of the learning experience for all students at third level, be they full-time, part-time or flexible learners.

The Digital Roadmap highlights the fact that a focus on assessment and feedback can provide an important route to linking digital capacity to new ways of teaching and learning. The Y1Feedback project specifically seeks to address challenges associated with feedback in the first year of Higher Education and to leverage the potential of digital technologies to support and enhance feedback approaches.

Our Aim

The aim of the Y1Feedback project is to enhance feedback dialogue in first year undergraduate programmes through the use of digital technologies to support student transition. The project will identify and pilot technology supported feedback approaches to facilitate teacher feedback and feed-forward, as well as peer-feedback.

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Primary Contact(s)


Lisa-ORegan-Y1Feedback-TeamLisa O’Regan

National University of Ireland, Maynooth

Email: lisa.oregan@nuim.ie

Detailed Proposal

This project will develop and pilot technology enhanced feedback approaches to facilitate teacher feedback/feedforward and peer-feedback in large first year classes to support student transition. The project will begin with an extensive review of existing experience in this area, based on literature, consultation with key innovators in other countries, and interviews with experts. It will then pilot applications of technology to enhance provision of feedback and facilitate dialogue, evaluate these interventions, and share the findings with the higher education community.

Feedback is one of the most powerful influences on learning and achievement (Hattie & Timperley 2007). Feedback is recognised as an important factor in supporting student transition to Higher Education and helping students understand what is required in their first year of study (Nicol 2009). Feedback is seen as crucial way to facilitate students development as independent learners who are able to monitor, evaluate, and regulate their own learning (Ferguson 2011). In particular, regular and frequent formative feedback in the early stages of first year is associated with student success (Tinto 2005, York 2005 cited in Nicol 2009). However, there is also strong evidence to show that producing feedback is more beneficial than receiving it (Nicol 2010). The ability to construct feedback, a skill that can be developed in peer review, can support the development of critical thinking skills and essential skills for employment (Sadler 2010).

However the reality, particularly in large first year cohorts, is that students may progress to the next module or next assessment before feedback is provided leaving students without an opportunity for discussion, reflection or an opportunity to apply that feedback. The Irish Survey of Student Engagement (ISSE) 2013 asked students how often they received timely written or oral feedback from teachers on academic performance with 67.4% of first year undergraduates (nationally) responding never (22.3%) or sometimes (45.1%).

Technology enhanced feedback approaches can support learning designs that may not otherwise be possible due to time, large groups, or location as well as providing more opportunities for teachers to provide ongoing feedback. They also provide for immediacy, and anytime, anywhere approaches and is suitable for use with large numbers of students (Gikandi et al 2011). However, as noted by Gilbert et al the crucial factor is not the technology but whether an improved teaching method is introduced with it (Gilbert et al 2011).

The project sets out to improve and develop feedback dialogue in first year undergraduate programmes to support student transition by using digital technologies. The project will focus specifically on two areas of feedback dialogue in first year; teacher feedback and peer review. The key output will be a Digital Feedback Guide on how to implement technology enhanced feedback approaches within first year curriculum. The Guide will include a conceptual framework for technology-enhanced feedback, a set of design approaches, recommended software tools, best practice case studies of teacher feedback and peer review approaches and guidelines for implementation.

 

This project will develop and pilot technology enhanced feedback approaches to facilitate teacher feedback, feed-­‐forward and peer-­‐feedback in first year to support student transition.

This two-­‐year project consists of three phases. Phase one will review existing feedback practices in first year undergraduate programmes and provide appropriate conceptual framework(s) and a suite of technology enhanced feedback approaches. Phase two will pilot a range of teacher feedback, feed-­‐forward and peer review approaches and technologies across partner institutions. Phase three will focus on the dissemination of the project and outputs.

Phase 1 (Year 1) Key Activities

  • Establish the project team, detailed project plans and work
  • Review current feedback processes and practices in first year undergraduate programmes across partner institutions
  • Review existing uses of technology enhanced feedback best practices in Higher Education, particularly in first year undergraduate programmes
  • Produce a baseline report of the current processes and practices and a summary of the literature on technology enhanced feedback
  • Identify conceptual framework(s) for feedback with a suite of technology enhanced feedback approaches to support first year

Phase 2 (Year 2) Key Activities

  • Pilot and evaluate teacher feedback and feed-­‐forward approaches and supporting technologies in each project partner institution
  • Pilot and evaluate peer review approaches and supporting technologies in each project partner

Phase 3 (Year 2) Key Activities

  • Based on the year one activities and experiences from the pilot cases, we will develop a Digital Feedback Guide
  • Develop video case studies based on the pilot projects
  • Disseminate and share project outputs through the project web space
  • Hold a National Symposium on Enhancing Feedback in First Uear Using Digital Technologies
  • Evaluate the project

Specific outputs of the project

 

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