Designing for feedback

Perhaps the most important way to think about feedback is to make it an inherent part of your unit or course design process, and not something that is considered only during the teaching phase. So when planning your unit and its associated learning activities and assessments, consider the following:

  • How and when will students get feedback on their efforts (formative and summative)?
  • Which feedback sources (peers, self, lecturer, expert) can add value to learning in the unit and when is best for this to occur?
  • How can you raise awareness amongst your students about the multiple sources of feedback that are possible and how they can each benefit learning?
  • What is the best way to encourage self-evaluation and self-regulation skills in students? (Boud & Molloy, 2012).
  • How can you encourage students to use and apply the feedback they receive in subsequent activities or assessments?
  • How can the lecturers/tutors gain diagnostic feedback on student learning in their unit and when is the most effective time(s) to do this?

Suggestion for practice – nested assessments

One effective strategy for inherent feedback in unit/course design is to use nested activities/assessments, where one assessment task (or activity) builds on a previous one (Boud & Molloy, 2012; Naylor et al, 2014). This succession of tasks actively encourages students to demonstrate their development by applying the feedback they received on an earlier task (Naylor et al, 2014).  In this way, feedback is connected and aligned within the unit across both formative and summative contexts (Douglas et al, 2016).


Refer to pp. 8-9 Good Feedback Practices: Nested Assessment (Naylor et al, 2014) for a brief case study on nested assessment design. While this case study is for an undergraduate unit, the approach is applicable to postgraduate students also.

During semester

Aim to provide feedback early in the semester, so that students know how they are progressing with essential concepts.

The following tabs contain strategies which you can adapt to increase the type and frequency of feedback you offer in your units. 


Assessment – before student submission

  • Provide ‘model’ responses or exemplars. Review these with students so they understand how and why it is an exemplar. While doing this, refer to the assessment criteria. You have the option to extend the activity further by then providing the feedback given to the exemplar response along with the subsequent piece of assessment that shows how the same student applied the feedback and developed their learning.
  • Provided annotated examples of previous student work
  • Explain to students how they will receive feedback on summative assessments. Discuss the assessment criteria and marking practices; this can even be recorded as a video and added to the LEO unit.

Assessment – after grading

  • Offer a summary of class strengths/weaknesses after a summative assessment. This summary could also be provided in class, or online in LEO in the form of a recorded video, podcast or announcement.
  • Provide detailed results of any mid-semester exams. Review and discuss the answers with cohort.
  • Students provide feedback on feedback received. Once a piece of assessment is marked and the lecturer provides feedback, students review the feedback and reflect on a) to what extent they agree with it, and b) how they will use the feedback to develop further in the unit/course of study. Students discuss their responses with their peers. The students then submit the feedback-on-feedback. The lecturer follows up with individual students if necessary.

Technologies for enhancing assessment

Explore the Technology Enhanced Assessment page in the Blended Learning resources.

Teacher to cohort


  • Use polls (in class or online) and provide feedback to the group on their responses.
  • Provide a weekly summary (in class, via email, or via an announcements post) of the key learning areas / issues and how students appear to be engaging with these.
  • Summary of class strengths/weaknesses after an activity.
  • Invite a guest expert to participate in forum or online live classroom.
  • During class time, use the 1 minute paper activity to gauge student understanding of the key ideas / concepts covered during the class. To run this activity, provide students with a question to answer and 1 – 3 minutes to prepare a written response. Students can volunteer to read their response, or the lecturer collects the anonymous responses. The lecturer reviews the responses to gauge whether students have grasped the essential concept / issues. The lecture can provide feedback to the group at the same lecture or at the next lecture. (Source: Centre for Teaching, Vanderbuilt University.)
  • Another method to gauge student understanding of a topic/idea/issue is to use the Think-Pair-Share activity in class. The lecturer poses a question or problem and students have a moment to consider their response. They then share their response with another student. Selected pairs of students then present their thoughts to the entire class for discussion and feedback from the lecturer / rest of the class.  (Source: Centre for Teaching, Vanderbuilt University.)

Technology for mediating feedback

The following technologies can help with teacher to unit participants feedback.

LEO Forum

LEO Forum can be used to post weekly summaries and announcements.

Refer to LEO Guide: Forum

LEO Glossary,
LEO Book,
LEO Page
LEO Glossary, LEO Book, LEO Page can all be used to build a Unit FAQ for questions that are frequently asked by students about the unit. Refer to LEO Guides: GlossaryLEO Guides Book and LEO Guides: Page.
LEO Choice tool

The LEO Choice tool can be used to conduct polls in the lecture. Students can see their result and classes’ summarised result. This is formative feedback for the student, and the teacher able to see what areas the students may need for cover in greater detail and provide further support.

Refer to LEO Guides: Choice.
From within ECHO360 ALP you can add interactive slides, these will allow you to ask open and closed questions and engage your students regarding specific concepts in your workshops/tutorials/lectures.Using interactive slides will also enable you to view the usage Analytics for your class.

Another method is using the Echo 360 ALP ribbon, this will allow you to embed Polls and Quizzes directly into your PowerPoint slides. If you don't have the ribbon in your current installation of PowerPoint, contact IT to have it installed on your PC (currently not available on MAC).

And students can also mark slides using a 'confusion' flag.
Refer to LEO Guides: ECHO360 ALP.

Refer to LEO Guides: How to use the confusion flag.

See Echo guides: Using the Echo360 Powerpoint Ribbon,and Adding Interactive Slides to a Presentation.
Other polling tools
Other free polling tools are also commonly used in higher education institutions including:
PollEverywhere, Kahoot, Zeetings, QuickPoll, Socrative, Mentimeter.

Feedback to individuals

Activities and assessments

  • Comment on early drafts of an assignment
  • Allow individual consultations
  • Provide specific comments on assessments
  • Provide a summary of rationale for a grade received
  • Automated feedback through online self-assessment quiz
  • Create adaptive learning material, where student responses to questions determine what feedback they receive, as well as what material and further questions they are presented with. This could be developed online using LEO Lesson. While these are time consuming to develop initially, it could be designed so that it is re-usable the next time the unit is taught. An example of adaptive learning material, is a conversation sim.

Technology for mediating feedback

The following technologies can help with individual teacher to student feedback.

Turnitin GradeMark

For assignments submitted via Turnitin, the comment format can be either written or via audio. You can also speed up feedback with QuickMark (predefined comments).

Refer to LEO Guide: Providing feedback via GradeMark for more information.

Turnitin audio comments

Turnitin allows you to add voice comments that can be up to three minutes long.

In this ACU blended learning case study, Dr Sebastian Krook discusses how using Turnitin audio comments, led to faster, easier marking. [skip forward to 6:47 mins in the video].

Refer to Turnitin: Voice comments.

This video shows how to leave a voice comment on a student's paper, Turnitin: voice comments in GradeMark(Lee 2012).

In a short blog post, academic Catherine Fletcher discusses here experience of using Turnitin voice comments, Speak your essay feedback: voice recording on Turnitin(Fletcher 2016).

LEO Logs (activity reports)

Editing lecturers have a number of reports available for measuring user and activity participation in LEO. You can use these logs to find out things such as, 'Have students accessed the unit in LEO yet?'.

You can then follow up individually with those students who may be at risk. This can be considered as preventative feedback.

LEO logs can be found in LEO under Administration > Unit administration > reports > logs

Refer to LEO Guides: reports for information on the types of LEO reports available.

In this ACU case study Sandra Beach discusses how she used LEO logs for supporting students.

Refer to the Moodle logs guide.

This short 2 min introductory video, discusses logs, Moodle: logging.

UNSW provide some useful instructions to Generate reports in moodle.

Video feedback
With the growing interest in using technology enhanced learning, some academics are experimenting with giving feedback via video.
Video has the benefit of communicating tone and body language, and helping build a sense of connection for the student. The downside is that video takes time.

This paper outlines the growing research on the design and impact of video, audio, screencast and other annotation feedback mechanisms.

See pp.3-4 on Video based assessment feedback, in Technology enhanced feedback on assessment(Henderson & Phillips 2014).

In this recorded webinar Associate Professor Michael Henderson and Dr Michael Phillips discuss using video feedback.Video feedback - targetted and personal [recorded webinar]

LEO Quiz
Allows you to give automated feedback. Refer to LEO Guides: quiz
LEO Lesson
Could be used to create an adaptive learning experience e.g. a branching scenario. Refer to LEO Guides: lesson
Refer to

Peer to peer

Activities and assessment

Design activities in which the students provide feedback to each other in peer review tasks. Providing feedback to others improves learning outcomes for the giver of the feedback. It also works towards improving self-regulation and self-evaluation skills as learners. Be sure to provide some guidance in structuring the peer review (Hepplestone et al, 2011; O’Donovan, Rust & Price, 2016; Boud & Molloy, 2012; The Higher Education Academy, 2014).

Peer review and peer grading can also be integrated into Assessments. Students provide feedback to each other on an item of assessment.

Technology for mediating feedback

The following technologies can support peer to peer activities and assessment.

Turnitin PeerMark

PeerMark is a peer review assignment tool in which students can read, review, and evaluate assignments submitted by their classmates.

Note: PeerMark can only be used in conjunction with the Turnitin assignment, If considering peer review for other assignment tasks refer to the Workshop activity for more information.

Refer to LEO Guide: peer review for more information.

LEO Workshop

The LEO Workshop tool functions as a peer-assessment and/or peer-review activity.

Refer to LEO Guide: workshop for more information, case studies and resources.

Student self-evaluation

Activities and assessment

  • Create self-assessment opportunities in the unit for students to reflect upon or measure themselves against specified criteria.
  • Self-assessment reflections may be part of an activity or a submitted assignment.

Technology for mediating feedback

The following technologies can help with self-assessment.

LEO Turnitin Originality Report

Students gauge the accuracy of their referencing in an assessment

Refer to LEO Guide: turnitin originality report

LEO Quiz
You can create a quiz that supports student self-evaluation, by providing a checklist of questions, with links to resources, and self-reflection. Refer to LEO Guides: quiz


Case studies

The Feedback for Learning: Closing the assessment loop project has developed some useful case studies on effective feedback that you may want to review.


In the video E-Learning Affordance 4c: Recursive Feedback (Cope and Kalantzis, 2014), Dr Bill Copeland outlines how educators can design technology-mediated feedback from multiple sources (peers, self and teacher), covering the length of formative/summative feedback spectrum.


These guides not only provide excellent information and strategies regarding feedback, but also offer case studies, practical tasks and worksheets for educators to use in planning feedback opportunities in their teaching.

This paper outlines the growing research on the design and impact of video, audio, screencast and other annotation feedback mechanisms.

Phil Race (2014) has extracted content about feedback from his text, 'Making Learning Happen', read from page 3 onwards.

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