Tag Archives: feedback

228 – Controlling the Critique – James, Corazzo, Joanna Rucklidge, Melanie Levick-Parkin, Katerina Zavros

In art and design pedagogy the ‘Crit’ is a central part of the learning and feedback process. The crit is:

‘ An established and important part of a studio-based culture, where teachers and students can discuss, experiment with and develop ideas and concepts within a ‘supportive environment’ (Blair 2007: 11).

Despite its prominence in practice it is a largely under researched activity and the work of Blair (2006) has revealed that its value as a learning and feedback process deserves further attention. One of the main criticisms of crits is that they are difficult to manage with large cohorts, which can leave students with little opportunity to receive feedback. Traditionally they have been a very tutor centred experience and one that can induce such levels of anxiety amongst students that feedback is either not heard or is interpreted in different (unintended) ways. Group sizes are often cited as limiting by students and although dialogic in its intentions, crits are often largely monologic.

The aim of this study is to improve the ‘crit’ experience for a cohort of graphic design students. Two crits were designed that decentred the role of the tutor and emphasised structured active engagement from students.

Using questionnaires, interviews and observation analyses we will report our initial findings on how students perceived these changes and the value that placed on structured peer feedback as opposed to tutor feedback. We will also report on the extent to which a different approach to the crit may help develop critical evaluation capabilities within students.


Blair, B. (2006). At the end of a huge crit in the summer, it was “crap” – I’d worked really hard but all she said was “fine” and I was gutted. Art and Design and Communication in Higher Education 5 (2) 83-95.

Blair, B. (2007) Perception/Interpretation/Impact, Networks, 1 10–13.

228 Crit_pres_final

182 – Audio Feedback – one size does not fit all – Michelle Denise Blackburn & Claire Taylor

Strand:                        Technology Enhanced Course

The National Student Survey (NSS) (2012) indicates less than 60% of students perceive their feedback as prompt, detailed and offering sufficient clarification to support understanding.  This is challenging news for HE institutions and course leaders, particularly as NSS scores could influence course recruitment.  As a consequence institutions and academics have sought to deliver improvements on the feedback process and one method used to achieve this has been audio feedback.  As with most learning and teaching innovations there has been a subsequent flurry of research into the ‘student’ experience of audio feedback.  This study looked beyond the notion of the generic ‘student’ and sought to establish how audio feedback impacted on different learner groups:  mature students, traditional undergraduates and those with learning difficulties.  This session will share the results of this research and the experience of academics delivering audio feedback.  Fundamentally it will address the following two questions:

  • How should we approach audio feedback for different learner groups?
  • What is stopping us from routinely using audio feedback?

182 SHU conference presentation

2012 How do you grow yourself? A study of students’ learning behaviours and matters relating to personal development in a module on career management

Richard McCarter and Emma Heron

This session examines student and staff experience of personal development through an employability and career management skills module. The module covers 2 semesters and the first semester deals with theoretical aspects of work and the workplace combined with reflection on learners’ work related experiences. The second semester (from which this paper is largely derived) focuses on career management strategies and is designed to be practically-based, raising students’ levels of self awareness in relation to their own career management needs and necessitating reflection and action on personal attributes.  The student is thus challenged on many different levels: pedagogically through less conventional delivery of teaching and assessment tasks and a heavy emphasis on reflection; personally through the need to embrace the idea of a curriculum that is not an easy fit with their own definition of academic study;  professionally, through the need to accept the reality of an increasingly unpredictable and competitive employment future.  For the teacher of career management, these challenges translate into a polarity of student response; a core of ‘converted’ (where engagement with the module, including the assessment task, is regarded as positive and worthwhile) versus a group of largely unconvinced sceptics, where attitude, attendance and reflection are influenced, and where engagement is at best reluctant, at worst non-existent.

An evaluation was conducted to gain a broad view of student experience, with a questionnaire delivered in a mid-semester lecture, followed by one to one structured interviews with ‘converts’ and ‘sceptics’ alike (the latter through snowballing techniques in order to capture the views of non-attendees).   Submitted webfolios by the students have also been evaluated. One-to -one discussions with teaching staff have been carried out.

The results contribute to a debate for practitioners and academics on the aspects of embedding employability into the curriculum and teaching career management.  Encouraging students to confront, realise and evaluate overtly their own ‘deficiencies’ and/or strengths through structured and less conventional lecture and seminar formats,  class/shared activities and a sense of being challenged, demands personal learning .  Does it work? How does reflection help or hinder?

Questions raised in interviews and data collected from e-portfolios and the module evaluation draw on 3 key areas –

  • an increase of students’ self-awareness of employability either through the  module activities and by undertaking the assessment
  • how reflection and reflective practice augmented students’ understanding of personal development
  • tutors’ and students’ perceptions of the emphasis on work related experiences, lectures and seminar contact time, rather than content delivered through technology (Blackboard and Pebblepad) 

Schön, D, A. (2009)  The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action.

Qualitative Social Work 2009 vol. 8 no. 1 124-129

Ehiyazaryan, E. and Barraclough, N. (2009) Enhancing employability: integrating real world experience in the curriculum. Education and Training. 51 (4), pp292-308. Available from: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?issn=0040-0912

Dacre Pool, L. and Sewell, P. (2007) The Key to Employability. Developing a practical model of graduate employability. Education and Training. 49 (4), pp277- 289. Available from: http://www.uclan.ac.uk/information/uclan/employability/careeredge.php

Zepke, N and Leach, L. (2010) Improving student engagement: Ten proposals for action. Active Learning in Higher Education 11(3) 167–177

Click to presentation:  How do you grow yourself? A study of students’ learning behaviours and matters relating to personal development in a module on career management

A4 – (FU37, FU05) 11.00

2012 Understanding student learning from feedback

Stuart Hepplestone and Gladson Chikwa

The importance of feedback on student learning is universally accepted (e.g. Handley et al. 2011; Hattie and Timperley 2007). However do we know the practices that students use when using feedback effectively for future learning? It will be argued that the way students engage with feedback determines its utility (Handley et al. (ibid.)), a position consistent with Carless et al. (2010, p.396) when they advocate that, ‘the crux of the matter is how students interpret and use feedback’. 

A recent research project undertaken with a small number of undergraduate students at Sheffield Hallam University attempted to address this question. Using Tweets, reflective diaries and interviews, this longitudinal study encouraged the participants to articulate the strategies that students use at a subconscious level to manage their feedback. We were interested in the process that students use to engage with, act upon, store and recall their feedback, and the strategies that they use to feed forward into future learning and the connections they see between each learning activity and the curriculum as a whole. Attention was also drawn to the differences in how students interact with feedback delivered through existing technologies and different media.

This session will outline the background to the project and how the data was collected. Initial findings from the data will be shared on how students use feedback immediately after an assessment task, before their next assessment, between modules and years of study. We will discuss how we are aiming to make explicit the currently implicit processes that students use to deal with feedback. 


Carless, D., Salter, D., Yang, M. and Lam, J. (2010). Developing sustainable feedback practices. Studies in Higher Education, 36 (4), 395-407. 

Handley, K., Price, M. and Millar, J. (2011). Beyond ‘doing time’: investigating the concept of student engagement with feedback. Oxford Review of Education, 37 (4), 543-560.

Hattie, J. and Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback.Review of Educational Research, 77 (1), 81-112.

C6 – (EN34 and EN03) 14.20

2012 Question time: stimulating participation in lectures via mobile devices

Ben Abell

Students used their web-enabled phones to answer questions during lecture sessions, and worked as small groups to maximise participation and peer learning. The main tool tested was Google Docs Forms, which can be accessed via the internet and is easy to set up, although other tools such as Polleverywhere and ConnectTxt receive input from SMS texts, and offer an alternative way of capturing student answers. 

Questions were mostly in multiple-choice format, and were integrated into the presentation to promote immediate engagement. Answers were collated to generate an overall group response, which was presented graphically, and used as a discussion point to deal with common misconceptions. 

The need for such technology arises from the difficulty of promoting active learning in lectures, especially with larger student groups, a problem acknowledged in science teaching (Handelsman et al. 2004. Science

304: 521-522) and more widely. Although responses can be received using specialised devices, the logistical difficulty of obtaining and distributing these devices has reduced their use. Instead, the extensive ownership of smart-phones provides an opportunity to increase direct student participation throughout lectures, so this trial was implemented specifically in the Biosciences module ‘Plant Physiology and Anatomy’ (Jan-April 2012), but the approach has the potential to be applied to any subject area. 

Student feedback was very positive, with perceived benefits of engaging more actively with the lecture content, particularly via peer learning. Problems with the approach centred on access to mobile devices and class management, which could be addressed with greater support.

Presentation:  Mobile learning

D7 – (EN28, EN11, EN22, EN56) 15.30

2012 Think about using quizzes

Hugh Lafferty and Keith Burley

The use of quizzes should be preceded by many questions, especially about whether the quizzes are valid.

Are quizzes composed solely of Yes/No questions valid?

Are quizzes composed solely of 4-option Multiple Choice questions valid?

Are quizzes composed solely of 5-option Multiple Choice  questions valid?

Link to presentation:   Think about using quizzes

B5 – (EN14, EN02, EN07) 11.50

2012 QR Codes in action: a ‘revision wall’ to enhance engagement

Peter Walder, Andy Barnes, Robin Gissing, Tom Jolley

A level 4 core module has consistently generated low assessment outcomes. The teaching team therefore implemented a series of actions, to specifically encourage engagement with the core content of the module. Two distinct strategies were adopted. These were: A) a reconfiguration of the assessment schedule to allow more opportunities for feedback and B) the development of a ‘revision wall’ which would allow students to access summary key content through the use of posters which incorporated Quick Response (QR) codes. This abstract focuses on the second of these two strategies. 

Appropriate representations were made for the purchase of a poster board to support the project; these were successful. A series of approximately 10 A3 posters were created by the teaching team. Each of the posters had an embedded QR code which, when scanned with a mobile device equipped with appropriate software, displayed a movie of one of the module team explaining the content of the poster. Each of the movies was uploaded to YouTube and assigned a goo.gl URL to enable monitoring of access to the movies.

Students were sensitised to the use of QR codes from the outset of the module via the display of a QR code at the end of every lecture which led directly to the online reading associated with the lecture. Further instruction, regarding the use of QR codes, was provided as part of the Revision Wall content. 

Access to the Revision Wall is to be monitored via Google Analytics and the value of the approach evaluated. It is recognised that an analysis of the assessment outcomes will not be directly attributable to engagement with the revision wall as the approach used to encourage engagement has also involved a change in the assessment schedule. 

Potential Discussion Topics

  • Accessibility to the learning resources in terms of the density of smart phone ownership within the student group.
  • The potential of using the creation of QR encoded posters as a student learning/assessment activity.
  • The potential of using QR encoded posters as part of a ‘flipping the classroom’ learning strategy. 

Note that this project is part of the University’s Mobile Innovations scheme.


B5 – [EN02, EN07, EN14] 11.50