This blog was co-written by Aiza Khan and Devashree Veerappan

The theme of this year’s Learning and Teaching Forum was Putting feedback for learning to practice. The involvement of student presenters like us allowed academics to view the concept of feedback from a different lens. We are both U:PASS leaders and study double degrees (both study Business; Aiza studies Law and Devashree studies Information Technology).

Preparing for our presentation

Preparing for the event was exciting yet daunting. Knowing we were going to voice our experiences with feedback to a room of academics was quite intimidating. With the help and support of the IML team – namely Aurora Murphy, Joseph Yeo, and Dimity Wehr – we were able to plan our ideas, prepare our presentation and run through rehearsals with other student presenters to ensure we were all well prepared for the event.

When the day of the event rolled around, the IML and media team generously accommodated us with a studio room equipped with a professional camera and microphone. After the introductory speeches and presentation by Naomi Winstone, we introduced ourselves and summarised our presentations in a ‘meet the students’ elevator pitch. 

The day flew past as we listened to other presenters, absorbing their insights, fascinated by the work put behind-the-scenes into providing effective feedback to students. The time had finally arrived for us to present our presentation.

Our presentation: The implications of Destructive and Constructive Feedback

Our presentation touched on what we think is destructive feedback, and how this has affected us personally. We divided destructive feedback into two types: 

  • Generic comments – surface-level, one-size-fits-all feedback given to everyone regardless of their strengths and weaknesses
  • No feedback – the student has no indication of what they did right or wrong and what they can improve upon in the future 

We then talked about what constructive feedback is to us:

Feedback that is personalised, points at improvements, and helps the individual

This type of feedback is constructive because it allows students to work on themselves, which improves their future work and boosting their self-esteem. It can also be viewed as a form of support where the student and teacher form a stronger connection. This encourages the student to seek help when needed, whether that be for assessments or life in general.

Throughout the presentation, we gave personal examples of our experiences with destructive and constructive feedback, including feedback with assignments and in the workplace. 

Our experience 

The 2021 Learning and Teaching Forum was a very insightful experience to us as we got to observe a bit about the world of academia. Not only did we get to view presentations, but we had the opportunity to participate throughout the forum: the introductory elevator pitch, presenting our experiences, and voicing our thoughts at the end in the student panel. 

We found many key takeaways from the event, such as utilising auditory and video tools as an effective means for feedback, as well as using programs such as OnTask to help deliver personalised feedback efficiently. Having attended many presentations, we have a deeper appreciation for all of our staff and the efforts they put into providing us with constructive feedback. 

Overall, we had a great experience with the forum. We were honoured to meet and collaborate with many people, including Shirley Alexander who personally thanked and spoke to us at the after-event. 

Throughout this event, we were able to improve our communication and presentation skills and learn about the processes of preparing and presenting at a formal event. We’re extremely grateful to have been a part of this wonderful forum and look forward to how the ideas and innovations presented are going to be implemented into practice! 

  • Well done Devashree and Aiza! It was a great presentation and you held your own in the forum.

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