ASSET: moving forward through feedback
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Official URL: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/institut...
Providing high quality and timely feedback to students is often a challenge for many staff in higher education as it can be both time-consuming and frustratingly repetitive. From the student perspective, feedback may sometimes be considered unhelpful, confusing and inconsistent and may not always be provided within a timeframe that is considered to be ‘useful’. The ASSET project, based at the University of Reading, addresses many of these inherent challenges by encouraging the provision of feedback that supports learning, i.e. feedback that contains elements of ‘feed-forward’, is of a high quality and is delivered in a timely manner. In particular, the project exploits the pedagogic benefits of video/audio media within a Web 2.0 context to provide a new, interactive resource, ‘ASSET’, to enhance the feedback experience for both students and staff. A preliminary analysis of both our quantitative and qualitative pedagogic data demonstrate that the ASSET project has instigated change in the ways in which both staff and students think about, deliver, and engage with feedback. For example, data from our online questionnaires and focus groups with staff and students indicate a positive response to the use of video as a medium for delivering feedback to students. In particular, the academic staff engaged in piloting the ASSET resource indicated that i) using video has made them think more, and in some cases differently, about the ways in which they deliver feedback to students and ii) they now see video as an effective means of making feedback more useful and engaging for students. Moreover, the majority of academic staff involved in the project have said they will continue to use video feedback. From the student perspective, 60% of those students whose lecturers used ASSET to provide video feedback said that “receiving video feedback encouraged me to take more notice of the feedback compared with normal methods” and 80% would like their lecturer to continue to use video as a method for providing feedback. An important aim of the project was for it to complement existing University-wide initiatives on feedback and for ASSET to become a ‘model’ resource for staff and students wishing to explore video as a medium for feedback provision. An institutional approach was therefore adopted and key members of Senior Management, academics, T&L support staff, IT support and Student Representatives were embedded within the project from the start. As with all initiatives of this kind, a major issue is the future sustainability of the ASSET resource and to have had both ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ support for the project has been extremely beneficial. In association with the project team the University is currently exploring the creation of an open-source, two-tiered video supply solution and a ‘framework’ (that other HEIs can adopt and/or adapt) to support staff in using video for feedback provision. In this way students and staff will have new opportunities to explore video and to exploit the benefits of this medium for supporting learning.