Flipping Feedback with a Multi-Stage Assignment

The ‘flipping feedback’ pilot in Maynooth University sought to address the challenge of making feedback an active learning tool in a 1st year social politics module. The challenge being addressed was to get students to actively engage with feedback early in learning formation and to ‘feed forward’  to teaching staff about the type of feedback they would value and how they were responding to feedback received,  thus making the learning a Flipping Feedback MU-4-MaryMurphy-2dialogical process.  This case study aimed to flip feedback so it becomes feedforward happening earlier and at multiple stages of the assignment.    This involved three stages in an assignment process with feedback on all three stages, beginning, drafting and end stage.

A 2000 word ‘political institutions’ assignment was set by the lecturer.

In the first stage students were asked to provide a brief outline of their proposed structure and six sources accurately referenced. They were also asked to complete a template feed forward sheet which asked them what feedback they would like on stage one of their assignment. They received direct personal feedback via moodle (online) and a 9 minute group video feedback. https://media.heanet.ie/page/c25bbead715a42d09eb9dac053651ebd

The assigned grade was worth 10% of the module grade.

In the second stage students were required to submit a penultimate draft of the assignment and a second  template feed forward sheet which asked how they had engaged with first feedback and what feedback they would like on stage two of their assignment.  They received direct personal feedback vis moodle (online) and a second 9 minute group video feedback. https://media.heanet.ie/page/1a1f5ad70cc713dff8af653563648449

The assigned grade was worth 30% of the module grade.

Typical feedback requests from students are quoted below, these gave us extensive insight into the concerns of the students,

‘should I have focused more on anything that I have written? Did I leave out any vital pieces of information? Was the structure of my essay correct? Was I too informal?

‘I would value feedback on the structure of the essay. How long should the paragraphs be? Should paragraphs be subdivided? Is there sufficient development of ideas’

In the third stage students were required to submit a final draft of the assignment and a third template feed forward sheet which asked how they had engaged with first feedback and what feedback they would like on stage three of their assignment.  They received direct personal feedback vis moodle (online). The assigned grade was worth 10% of the module grade.

Students also completed a 2 page ‘Flippin Feedback Evaluation Survey’ in the last week of the semester.

Student feedback was sought via three template feedback sheets and one evaluation form. The high-level summary of student feedback was very positive about flippin feedback approaches, and overall there was strong signs of student engagement/interest with topic.   There was little resistance from students in engaging with multi-state assignment or completing the reflection templates. Aside from some minor teething problems (associated with forgetting to copy and paste feedback template) we found little problems with technology usage on student side.  Several students reflected they had never done an outline before so found this stage really useful.  There was perhaps less quality engagement with the last the stage, students in evaluations suggested the final stage should carry more marks than the penultimate stage.

While students found it valuable, staff appreciated the learning opportunities for students but found the workload too intense and would recommend operating the model as a two stage assignment using  ‘feed forward’ templates to encourage students to reflect on their assignment and to enable a more focused dialogue with teaching staff.

A short video explaining the project can be found at https://youtu.be/pvd_ZjAmp64

Dr Mary P Murphy and Philip Finn  Maynooth University Department of Sociology 

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About cmlharris

Senior Lecturer, Department of Government, University College Cork, Ireland
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