Audio feedback

How does it sound to you?

Victorian gentleman speaks into a recording device

In this month’s reading group, we’ll look at audio feedback, how it’s used and what the issues might be around its adoption.

We’ll start off by discussing the background readings in 1 and 2. Further conversations will be guided by which of the ‘In practice’ texts and topics people have been most interested in (or have had time to read!)

Questions to consider while reading

  • How do the conclusions presented match up with your own experience of giving/receiving feedback?
  • What are the advantages/disadvantages of audio feedback for students, staff and institutions?
  • Based on the readings and your own experience, is the future of feedback audio?

1. If you only read one thing

Rotheram, B. (2009) Sounds good: Quicker, better assessment using audio feedback It might be nearly a decade old, but this JISC project is the starting point for much of the current work into audio feedback.

2. Background reading and listening

Sillingham, D (2016) Is Listening to an Audio book Cheating? A post on Daniel Willingham’s Science & Education blog providing an insight into what your mind does when listening to a text in comparison to reading it in print form.

Diane Davies, Pamela Rogerson-Revell and Gabi Witthaus ‘An Exploratory study of speech styles in audio feedback to M-level students’ – recording from the 2009 A Word in your Ear conference. The content itself is interesting, but we’ll also discuss the differences between reading and hearing research and see how they relate to questions of audio feedback in HE.

3. In practice

Effectiveness and efficiency

Dixon, S. (2010). Sounding good: exploring the potential of audio feedback, Education Futures, 2(3), pp.29-37. This response to the Sounds Good project shows a very positive view of audio feedback and also takes the discussion into new directions (arguing for effectiveness rather than efficiency in feedback approaches).

Another very positive account of using audio feedback is Laughton’s (2013) Using audio feedback to enhance assessment practice – an evaluation of student and tutor perspectives Student Engagement and Experience Journal, 2 (2). This study also looks at effectiveness and efficiency, given the strain of increased student numbers on traditional pedagogical approaches.

Diverse student groups

McCullagh, C., (2010) ‘Talking about writing: exploring the use of audio feedback in EAP writing classes’, pp. 2-6 of Mobile reflections (MoRe) pilot, developing reflection within initial teacher training for students with dyslexia looks at the specific case of audio feedback for language learners, including cultural issues of audio feedback for international learners.

Ryder, A. & Davis, C. (2016). Using audio feedback with distance learning students to enhance their learning on a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education programme. Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal,1(1), September 2016. This focuses on the impact of audio feedback on the distance learning experience for post graduate students.

Try it yourself

The video Using audio feedback in your teaching case study talks through practicalities (first 4 minutes of the video) and benefits (last 4 minutes of the video) of audio feedback on a distance learning post-graduate degree course.

Adding options, Middleton and Nortcliffe’s Audio feedback design: principles and emerging practice reviews a range of models for audio feedback, from the ‘personal tutor monologue’ explored in the majority of the other readings, but also looking at other options, such as peer exchange audio feedback and tutor conversations.

For a more recent list of tips and practical advice, there’s Mira’s Audio feedback Wiki from UCL.

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