Visible learning

According to John Hattie, visible learning occurs when teachers see learning through the eyes of students and help them become their own teachers. Key strategies for making learning more visible include clarifying success criteria and providing effective feedback. There are a number of digital solutions that can help you achieve this.

Detailed rubrics and feedback with Turnitin

Turnitin is a Moodle plugin which allows students to submit their assignments online. Students can check their own work for plagiarism (an essential study skill) and tutors can access a class’ assignment submissions in one place. Tutors can use the Grademark feature to mark written work online and there is even an iPad app available.

Curriculum managers and lead tutors may be interested to know that it is possible to set up a rubric with specific assessment criteria in Turnitin. This can be shared with tutors, who can attach it to students’ assignments.  Tutors can then click on the appropriate scale for each criterion when marking a student’s work. This makes the success criteria for learning transparent for all involved.

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When marking students’ work more closely, it is possible to add comments on the fly using speech bubbles or text boxes on the appropriate section of writing. It is also possible to create sets of quick marks so you can reuse them on other students’ assignments (but also so you can run reports on common problems which you may wish to revisit in class). As you would expect, tutors can also leave a final comment and grade.

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Audiovisual assessment and feedback

You may be interested in providing success criteria for a task using digital video. Planet eStream is the College’s new media server which stores multimedia files securely and integrates with Moodle. Teachers can upload a video clip instructing students on the requirements for a task via the eStream Plugin in the Moodle Assignment tool.  This works really well when students need to demonstrate their practical skills.

Mark Ansell, a lecturer in the Centre for Applied Sciences, recently experimented with video assessment and audio feedback with a group of Sports Science students. Student feedback was very positive and you can read more about his experiences here.

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Many students prefer to hear their teacher’s voice when receiving feedback. Numerous JISC case studies have demonstrated that audio feedback is valuable because it:

  • Communicates on a personal level
  • Has the ability to present tone
  • Motivates students
  • Encourages students to listen to all of the feedback
  • Can save teacher’s time

Turnitin offers a voice recording feature for providing feedback on an assignment. There are many other plugins/tools that can be used for recording audio feedback. If you would like further advice or training, do not hesitate to contact your Digital Education team.

Collaborative tasks and peer assessment

Some teachers worry about relying on students to effectively assess their peers but if students are provided with clear guidelines and expectations, there is no reason they should not become “teachers” for some activities. This works well online if tasks are designed to include success criteria, checklists as well as information on how to improve.

Collaborative tasks online such as group discussions or wikis, where students are expected to interact in order to achieve a learning outcome can be highly effective. Students can feedback on each others’ posts linked to specific criteria and learn more deeply in the process. A teacher can monitor the feedback provided and intervene if necessary. Turnitin now also has the capability for peer assessment.

Peer assessment online is a great formative assessment strategy. An example activity might be asking students to comment on each others’ blog posts, presentations or video clips. Students can then be encouraged to reflect on the feedback they have been given and summarise what changes they might make.  Bernard Bulaitis, a Film Studies lecturer in the Sixth Form Centre, recently tried this by getting students to feedback on each others’ classroom presentations on UK Medium Budget Film using Moodle’s own inbuilt blog tool.

ePortfolios for goal setting and review

Finally, ePortfolios are great platforms for enabling students to explicitly plan and reflect on their learning. They are especially popular in vocational subjects where students need to demonstrate their practical skills. Teachers can also access their students’ portfolios to keep track of their learning and development.

If you would like further advice or training on any of the above, do not hesitate to contact your Digital Education team.