Faculty Perspectives: Annotating and Sharing Student Work
When documenting teaching for promotion and tenure, providing examples of feedback given to students can be an essential component of effective teaching evidence as feedback plays a crucial role in facilitating student learning and growth (Ramsden 1988). By providing feedback instructors go beyond simply delivering content and returning grades. Demonstrating the ability to provide meaningful and constructive feedback also showcases instructor commitment to educational excellence and student success.
Feedback actively engages students to help them understand and improve their work (Cree and Macaulay 2000). Examples of feedback given to students also exemplifies an instructor’s ability to effectively communicate concepts and ideas. By showcasing specific instances of feedback, faculty members can demonstrate their expertise in conveying complex information, addressing student questions or misconceptions, and providing guidance for improvement. This evidence highlights the faculty member’s instructional skills and their capacity to facilitate student progress.
Providing Evidence of Feedback to Students
Including examples of feedback given to students, especially multiple examples from the same assessment, demonstrates a faculty member’s responsiveness and adaptability to individual student needs. It demonstrates an awareness of individual student strengths and weaknesses, as well as the ability to tailor feedback to address specific challenges or areas of improvement, which students prefer compared to general feedback for the whole class (Poulos and Mahony 2008).
Appropriate and timely feedback is also an integral part of student-centered teaching, where the focus is on actively involving students in their own learning process (Jonassen et al 2008). Providing examples of feedback validates the implementation of student-centered strategies, such as formative assessments, peer evaluations, or individualized coaching. It highlights the faculty member’s commitment to engaging students as active participants in their own learning.
Providing concrete examples of feedback also offers a transparent view of the instructor’s teaching approach and helps to establish credibility in the promotion and tenure process. It provides an avenue for instructors to demonstrate the quality and effectiveness of their feedback processes during review by colleagues and administrators. By showcasing actual feedback, the evidence becomes more tangible and credible, and this transparency can facilitate the assessment process on a faculty member’s teaching practice.
Ways to Provide and Document Feedback
Feedback will look different for each instructor, course, and assignment, but it can be loosely broken down into the following categories:
- Synchronous Feedback
- In-person feedback (during class time or office hours)
- Built in automated feedback using ‘hints and feedback” LMS features
- Instructor-organized peer feedback sessions
- Asynchronous Feedback
- Written feedback (email, marked rubrics, marked assignments, LMS comments)
- Audio feedback (voice memos)
- Video feedback
Documenting synchronous feedback can be more challenging than documenting asynchronous feedback, and may require the generation of instructor notes or reflections following synchronous feedback sessions for inclusion in promotion and tenure documents. Instructors can also ask students to reflect on synchronous feedback and provide those reflections as evidence alongside their own reflections. If using instructor-authored automated feedback tools through the LMS, screenshots of quiz questions showing feedback can be included (example below). Asynchronous feedback documentation is more straightforward and could include annotated student work, marked rubrics, a dialogue between instructor and student showing improved work (example below), or copies of audio and video recordings. While promotion and tenure dossiers are not typically public-facing, care should be taken to anonymize student work before inclusion.
Example of Documenting Student Feedback and Subsequent Improvement
An example of automated instructor-authored LMS feedback for a homework question in a marine conservation course is included below. If students get the question wrong, they see the hint before a second attempt. If students get the question right, or if they are wrong again on their second attempt, they see the feedback explanation immediately.
An example of asynchronous feedback for a short essay question in a marine conservation course is included below.
Original Student Work (Excerpt):
Essay Question: “Discuss the impact of climate change on marine ecosystems.”
Student Response: “Climate change has caused significant damage to marine ecosystems. Rising temperatures have led to coral bleaching, which destroys the coral reefs that serve as habitats for countless marine species. Additionally, increased ocean acidification has detrimental effects on shell-forming organisms like oysters and clams. The loss of biodiversity and disruption of food chains are other consequences of climate change in marine ecosystems.”
“Good start on discussing the impact of climate change on marine ecosystems. However, your response could benefit from more specific examples and supporting evidence. Consider incorporating recent studies or data to strengthen your arguments. Additionally, expand on the long-term implications of these changes and potential solutions to mitigate the impacts.”
Improved Student Work (Excerpt):
“Climate change has posed severe threats to marine ecosystems, resulting in far-reaching consequences for biodiversity and ecosystem stability. One of the most visible impacts is coral bleaching, which occurs when rising ocean temperatures cause the expulsion of symbiotic algae from corals, leading to their death. For instance, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia has experienced extensive bleaching events, causing irreversible damage to this iconic ecosystem.
Moreover, increased carbon dioxide absorption by the oceans leads to ocean acidification, disrupting the delicate balance of marine life. Shell-forming organisms like oysters and clams struggle to build their protective shells in more acidic waters, impacting their survival rates and overall populations. This has cascading effects on other organisms in the food chain that rely on them as a food source.
The consequences of these changes extend beyond individual species. The loss of coral reefs and other critical habitats reduces overall biodiversity, making marine ecosystems more vulnerable to further disruption. Additionally, disrupted food chains and imbalances in predator-prey relationships can destabilize entire ecosystems.
To mitigate these impacts, comprehensive measures are required. Effective conservation strategies, such as the establishment of marine protected areas and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, are vital for preserving marine ecosystems. By taking swift action to address climate change, we can safeguard the invaluable resources and services provided by the oceans.”
“Nice work! The inclusion of specific examples, such as the bleaching events in the Great Barrier Reef, strengthens your arguments and adds credibility to your claims. Your expanded discussion on the consequences, including the disruption of food chains and imbalances in predator-prey relationships, provides a more comprehensive understanding of the topic. Finally, your mention of conservation strategies and the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions demonstrates a thoughtful consideration of potential solutions. The only big thing still missing here is citations to support your claims. Another thing to consider is that although marine protected areas are a tool for protecting biodiversity, they aren’t a tool for reducing warming nor acidification. Much improved overall.”
Cree, Viviene E., and Cathlin Macaulay, eds. Transfer of learning in professional and vocational education. Psychology Press, 2000.
Jonassen, David, et al. Handbook of research on educational communications and technology: a project of the association for educational communications and technology. Routledge, 2008.
Poulos, Ann, and Mary Jane Mahony. “Effectiveness of feedback: The students’ perspective.” Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 33.2 (2008): 143-154.
Ramsden, Paul, ed. Improving learning: New perspectives. Kogan Page, 1988.