This post is co-authored by Alisa Percy, Ann Wilson and Kathy Egea.
The Hot Topic Program has continued its run with our Feedback and Assessment focus, which saw an insightful line-up of events over the past month exploring the many different facets of this diverse topic. If you missed out on any of the events, you can catch up with our summary below.
The forum commenced with a student panel from Student Hub, who shared their experiences of and perspectives on feedback with Dr. Kathy Egea (FFYE coordinator). Critical for them was feedback that supported them to improve their practice of learning. Dr Alisa Percy and Ann Wilson (TACT) presented emerging literature and practice examples on feedback designs for learning, feedback loops and ways to develop students’ capacity to make evaluative judgements in their learning. A practice example from Law Faculty demonstrated how feedback loops and scaffolded formative assessment tasks enabled students to engage in evaluative judgement. Finally, Dr Matt Padula, Dr Yvonne Davila and Neela Griffiths, drew on their 2020 FFYE grant, Putting the ‘Pro’ into Proteomics: developing advanced critical, analytical and academic writing practices in the Master of Medical Biotechnology program, to show how they used feedback to support students learning of critical skills and evaluative judgement in academic writing in a first-year post graduate subject.
Picking up on the theme of how we promote students’ feedback uptake, Dr Peter Grainger from the University of the Sunshine Coast shared his research and practice, emphasising the importance of building in opportunities for peer collaboration of assessment activities in tutorials. Dr Grainger explored the problematic nature of feedback, presented some of the key ideas from the research, and discussed a range of strategies we can use to shift from an ‘assessment of learning’ to an ‘assessment for learning’ approach.
Recognising the role that rubrics play in students’ understanding of the tasks they are being asked to do, as well as their ability to interpret our feedback to improve performance, Professor Maria Northcote and Dr Jason Morton (Avondale University) and Dr Andrew Kilgour (Charles Sturt University) shared their practice co-constructing rubrics with students. Drawing from their research project, funded by an Innovation by the Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT), they shared a range of protocols for doing this kind of work. More information about this project can be found at the Owning the Rubric website.
In this webinar, Dr Kathy Egea (TACT), Dr Keith Heggart (FASS), Dr Amara Atif (FEIT) and Dr Lisa Angelique-Lim (CIC) teamed up to present research on humanising the feedback process, automatic feedback and nudging practices, with practice examples using Canvas Analytics and OnTask. Building from the FFYE forum student panel, where feedback needed to be both explicit (strengths, weaknesses, targeted strategies to improve) and encouraging, the session drew on Peter Felton’s work to develop capacity and confidence in learning, and the work of Michelle Pacansky-Brock who describes the structure of warm, wise feedback as indicating high standards of the assessment task, acknowledging student ability and effort in their assessment response, and link specific action to improve their practice. The presenters shared some strategies and challenges when using automatic feedback tools, and provide examples of how they creating warm, personalised and supportive messages (specific feedback and nudges). Attendees expressed interest in learning more about OnTask.
What could assessment look like if students and teachers worked together to construct the rubric? Dr Alison McEwen, Discipline of Genetic Counselling Lead in the Graduate School of Health, and the TACT team provided an in-depth look at student participation in feedback in this webinar. After completing this activity for the first time with a student cohort, Alison shared her process, the outcome and the tools she used in Canvas to make it all happen.
Moving into a conversation about how academic staff at UTS are innovating with assessment and feedback in the online space, Dr Evana Wright and Chris Croese (Faculty of Law) shared practices for designing and delivering formal and informal feedback online in this webinar. Evana discussed her ‘Disruptive Technologies Encyclopaedia – an online assessment that facilitates the collective generation of knowledge by students and the use of internal feedback to support achievement of student learning outcomes. Chris demonstrated how, in his tutorials, he sets up his students’ groupwork in Office 365, and while they are working in their breakout rooms on the shared documents, he is able to monitor and engage with students, providing live feedback in a constructive, supportive way.
In this webinar, Dr Kathryn Coleman (University of Melbourne) shared her wide-ranging insights on the use of digital portfolios in higher education. From using ePortfolios across the span of a course, to their value as a tool for helping students to understand their own achievements, the discussion was especially significant in light of the introduction of Portfolium at UTS. Using this Miro board Kathryn encouraged us to share our thoughts and ideas about ePortfolios during the presentation.
Furthering the conversation about how we are able to support students in making judgements about the quality of their own and others work, Ann Wilson and Dr Alisa Percy (TACT) introduced some of the more recent work about the curious concept of ‘inner feedback’ and the kinds of pedagogical strategies that can be used in the lead up to assessment. We also heard from Dr Donna Rooney (FASS) and Dr Genevieve Wilkinson (Law), who discussed their practices for embedding peer observation, review and reflection into their teaching and assessment to help students to develop their skills in this area.
This webinar from the TACT team covered the purpose of teamwork, what is to be learned and assessed, preparation for teamwork, and strategies for students to self-reflect, learn to listen, and to develop empathy and the capacity for agency in teams.
Coming up soon: Work-integrated Learning
Our next Hot Topic is Work-integrated Learning. Keep an eye out for events and more information coming soon!