Monday, March 23, 2015

Feedback. It matters.

 Feedback is really important for all students, but for online education, feedback is a must.  Feedback can strengthen relationships, but how do we focus on the needs of the learner in a way that meets the efficacy test?  Here are some pieces of feedback (italicized) online teachers at Iowa Learning Online have used this year.

1.  Choose your tone carefully.   Tell your student where s/he is at.
I appreciate the complete answer and the evidence you used to support your claim. (this answer tells the student that you noticed his/her work and gives a rationale.) instead of  Good job! You always do such great work. (this feedback does not tell the student what worked in the answer and can become about ego instead of answers)

2. Tell the student what s/he can do.   Sometimes, tests and assignments are not completed by the due date. Although this is discouraged and you will receive a "zero" in the grade book, this zero is not permanent.  I can override the grades for work turned in late, but I ask that you please do this for me: please send me an email notification that you have completed the work on the day that you have completed it.

3.  Choose the timing and focus carefully.  It does no good to wait to provide feedback until after the summative assessment.  The best feedback happens within 48 hours and focuses on one major aspect of the assignment. Appropriate choices and analysis. I also think about the wheelbarrow, although I am significantly older than you I still tend to focus on the risks of forgetting about the joys in simplicity as I am bogged down by the social requirements of adulthood. Do you feel as though your perceptions are changing as you get older? Do you feel more responsible for contributing to society as you move through high school and into college/career?

4.  Engages your students' self-reflection and curiosity about the task.  Your voice can encourage students to go beyond. Your exercise suggestions for Bill and his cardiac rehab are great!  What about diet, medications, or other lifestyle changes he may need to make?

5.  Be authentic.  You are the part of this journey with students. Perfection was never a criteria, but personality is essential.  Online teachers are not robots.  Make sure you allow yourself adequate time to get this done.  The investigating and planning charts for the Service Learning Project also take some time.  If you procrastinate, it will be very difficult to get this all done. Don't get in a pickle because you think you are a hot dog.  Ketchup!