Author: Simon Hawkesworth, TELT
Turnitin’s GradeMark tool allows tutors to add a range of feedback formats to student papers. Staff can include short text comments, larger general comments, audio clips and grading schemes. One of the most widely used options is QuickMarks. Here tutor create and apply pre-set text comments that are ideal for identifying common issues, and for indicating to the student the exact parts of the text that need attention. QuickMarks help to improve the consistency of feedback as well as speeding up the time to comment on student papers.
One of the lesser used, but most powerful features of QuickMarks, is the ability to add hyperlinks. This enables tutors to direct students to a whole range of added resources by simply including a weblink. These resources might include web content, such as directing students to a website that explains referencing, or grammatical rules. Likewise, tutors can add weblinks to resources on platforms such as Youtube, where students can see material that might explain theories, or processes which would support their learning or understanding of issues identified in their paper. At UCLan, the University’s Video Library Server (VLS) provides a storehouse of multimedia content that tutors can add to, or draw upon, to inform students across a range of disciplines.
More interesting still, is the possibility of tutors creating their own bespoke resources, and here, Microsoft Office 365 provides a range of option for quickly creating resources that can be reused across a range of platforms. 365’s Sway, Forms and OneNote packages, allow tutors to create web interfaces, short surveys or entire, multi-level resources that can include Word, Excel or PowerPoint files, video and audio files. Here the tutor can create revision and explanatory material that can help students to understand areas where knowledge gaps, or misunderstanding, has been identified. The student can even be taken through a series of progressive steps that are designed to not only convey information, but encourages them to reflect on that learning process and even apply some self-testing of knowledge, using Form’s multiply choice question options. The same revision resources can be used or adapted for teaching, either in-class, or as links within a VLE.
By combining different applications and resources, what the student gets is a much more varied, multi-faceted approach to feedback, that not only addresses errors, but encourages further investigation and reflection. For tutors, access to reusable resources should not only free up time, but make the task of feeding back more effective and more attuned to a wider range of student learning styles.