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Technology, Feedback, Action!: Impact of Learning Technology on Students' Engagement with Feedback

Page history last edited by Stuart Hepplestone 13 years, 9 months ago

Best practice guides


Best practice recommendations for the use of technology to help students engage with their feedback have been identified from the research. The recommendations should be considerd within the context of an institution where e-learning is characterised as a mainstream feature of the student experience.



Research project report


  1. Executive Summary
  2. Literature Review
  3. Case Context
  4. Project Aims
  5. Methods
  6. Evidence-based Results
  7. Other Outcomes
  8. Conclusions
  9. Recommendations
  10. References
  11. Appendix: Outcomes Arising from the Project


Download TFA! Research Report (PDF)


Project Overview


Sheffield Hallam University is keen to explore the potential of technology-enabled feedback to improve student learning. The aim of this research project is to evaluate how a range of technical interventions might encourage students to engage with feedback and formulate actions to improve future learning.


Since 2006 a close collaboration between the University’s Assessment for Learning Initiative (TALI) and e-learning development team has focused upon developing a deeper understanding of the appropriate use of learning technologies to support efficient and effective assessment and feedback strategies. The technical interventions that will be explored in this research study include:


  1. Online publication of grades and feedback. Sheffield Hallam is promoting the adoption of the Blackboard Grade Centre as the primary tool for publication of grades and feedback in 2008/09 in order to: 
  • enable students to easily track progress and see how performance on different assessment tasks builds to an overall profile for module;
  • present marks and feedback alongside learning materials enabling ‘in context’ feedback, linking directly to materials to review;
  • return feedback directly and efficiently to the students. 
  1. Adaptive release of grades. Integral to adoption of the Blackboard Grade Centre, a customised Assignment Handler extension has been developed to support effective feedback online. A key feature of Assignment Handler is the adaptive release of grades, encouraging students to engage with their written feedback and identify key learning points in order to activate the release of their mark. The key learning points can then be linked into their personal development planning.
  2. Tool linking feedback to learning outcomes. Sheffield Hallam has introduced an electronic Feedback Wizard, a tool developed in-house using Visual Basic and Microsoft Office functionality. Feedback Wizard allows markers to generate consistent individual feedback documents for an entire student cohort using an assignment-specific feedback template containing a matrix of assessment criteria and feedback comments.  




The research project will begin with a detailed desk-based review of current literature regarding good feedback practice, with specific regard to the application of technology to support both delivery and use of feedback. The literature review will be published via this wiki, to be added to throughout the remainder of the project and to invite further contributions by colleagues across the sector.


The main study will use qualitative methods predominantly and work in partnership with approximately 30 undergraduate students to undertake a comparative study of their experiences of receiving different forms of feedback with varying degrees of technical intervention including, but not limited to, electronic feedback with marks withheld, online grade publication, criteria-based feedback and zero-technical intervention.


Project Team



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