22 SES 13 C JS, Online Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
Joint Paper Session NW 16 and 22
Why do students demand more feedback when they later do not use it? Why do not students engage with feedback? Studies stress the relevance and impact of feedback for learning, especially in online environments (Gikandi, Morrow and Davis, 2011); however, students do not seem to take an active role in feedback processes that are necessary for knowledge building (Boud and Molloy, 2013; Nicol, 2010). There is a general consensus on the literature that feedback should provoke an action, as part of a dialogic process (Carless, 2015; Carless and Boud 2018), which includes generating feedback, using it and implementing it (Guasch and Espasa, 2015).
Research in this field has mainly focused on how feedback should be generated (i.e. the characteristics that feedback should have in order to improve learning), rather than on learning the actions students should undertake when receiving feedback. There is a gap in knowledge about what students do when they receive feedback and why they do not usually use it, implement it or engage with it. Several studies (Evans, 2013; Price et al., 2010; Sutton, 2012) show some reasons why students do not engage with feedback, such as difficulties in understanding the feedback, ill-timing of feedback (i.e. it is delivered at a time when it is no longer useful for students), lack of connection between assessment criteria and feedback, or poor suggestions for improvement. It seems that students need to be more literate on how they should engage with feedback.
In this sense, engagement is a key element in the process of using feedback for learning. How to approach the analysis of engagement is an aspect that researchers have previously dealt with exhaustively (i.e. Fredricks and McColskey, 2012). Such research has provided relevant contributions to conceptualise and analyse engagement as a multidimensional and complex concept. However, there are few studies that focus on how to analyse this construct in Higher Education, especially in fully virtual environments where communication is asynchronous and written.
The literature on engagement is broad. From a sociocultural perspective, engagement is a dynamic process, which varies depending on the interaction and the characteristics of the person (as their willingness to engage with feedback) and on the characteristics of the context, so engagement is therefore contextual, collective, historical and social. Most studies focus on the school context covering from institutional to academic engagement. In this paper we concentrate on academic engagement and, specifically, on how students engage with feedback to learn. We address the study of factors that either promote or hinder this engagement. From our perspective, feedback engagement involves a behavioural, cognitive, emotional and social/conceptual dimension, although action and emotion are interrelated in the engagement with the feedback. However, as Handley, Price and Millar (2011) indicate, with the exception of behavioural and social engagement, the other dimensions of engagement may go unnoticed and be invisible in the eyes of an observer. The interpretation of these and the type of response by teachers to this engagement has important implications on the experience of engagement. To summarise, in this paper we cover from conceptualization of engagement, in general, to the engagement with feedback in particular as a complex process that involves several dimensions: emotional, behavioural and cognitive engagement (Fredricks, Blumenfeld and Paris 2004), social and conceptual-to-consequential engagement (Sinha, Rogat, Adams-Wiggins, & Hmelo-Silver, 2015).
Taking this conceptualisation into account, this paper will focus on how to analyse engagement with feedback as a multidimensional concept, especially in online learning environments.
Engagement has been studied from different approaches and, when it comes to its methodology, it has its particularities. Traditional approaches to engagement are based on self-reporting measures or questionnaires. As shown by Azevedo (2015), Boakerts (2016), Sinha et al. (2015), the problem with self-reportings and questionnaires is that they are based on the student’s own perceptions, and these data are collected at a specific moment in the process. Azevedo (2015) points out the importance of focusing on the study of data related to processes. In this sense, it is necessary to integrate different methodologies to systematically study the cognitive, metacognitive, behavioural, social and affective processes developed when students are engaged with feedback. That is, it is necessary to triangulate different data sources to increase the validity of the inferences made about the nature of the processes related to the engagement with feedback during learning (Azevedo, 2015). We understand the nature of engagement with feedback as social, and this involves not only observing and taking measures and indicators of the individual involvement of the student with the feedback, but also considering the observation measures for the study of the engagement with the feedback as a shared and social task. This aspect leads us to the need to address the study of engagement with student feedback through the study of interaction and discourse analysis (Sinha et al., 2015). The objective of this paper is to present a methodological model developed from the literature review. This model allows us to approach the analysis of the engagement with feedback understood as a socially constructed process on a course, which evolves and develops over time and in which contextual factors of an intrapsychological and interpsychological nature intervene. The methodological model includes the elements that previous studies have identified as necessary to analyse engagement. These elements are: a) interrelation of behavioural, cognitive, emotional and social dimensions; b) study of interaction (identifying patterns of interaction between the feedback process and the engagement process); c) the nature of the task and its content and, d) a temporal analysis (conceptualising engagement as a process).
A methodological model of engagement with feedback is presented in this paper. This model also includes the techniques and instruments designed and adjusted for the data collection based on the theoretical-methodological principles that sustain this paper. The results obtained will provide knowledge of the factors and processes that promote engagement. This means that it will allow us, on the one hand, to define strategies to give personalised feedback according to the initial pre-disposition of students to engage and, on the other hand, to promote a dialogic process with the feedback received. All of this will help the students to be more engaged with feedback. Likewise, at a more macro level, promoting engagement may contribute to reducing the currently high dropout rates in higher education.
Azevedo, R (2015). Defining and Measuring Engagement and Learning in Science: Conceptual, Theoretical, Methodological, and Analytical Issues. Educational Psychologist, 50(1), 84-94, DOI: 10.1080/00461520.2015.1004069 Boekaerts, M. (2016). Engagement as an inherent aspect of the learning process. Learning and instruction. 43. 76-83. Boud, D. & Molloy, E. (2013). Rethinking models of feedback for learning: the challenge for design. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 38(6), 698-712. Carless, D. (2015). Excellence in university assessment: Learning from award-winning practice. London: Routledge. Carless, D. & Boud, D. (2018). The development of student feedback literacy: enabling uptake of feedback, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 43(8), 1315-1325, DOI: 10.1080/02602938.2018.1463354. Evans, C. (2013). Making sense of assessment feedback in Higher Education. Review of Educational Research, 83(1), 70-120. Fredricks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P. C., & Paris, A. H. (2004). School engagement: Potential of the concept, state of the evidence. Review of Educational Research, 74, 59–109. doi.10.3102/00346543074001059 Fredricks, J. A. & McColskey, W. (2012). The Measurement of Student Engagement: A Comparative Analysis of Various Methods and Student Self-report Instruments. In S. L. Christenson., A. L. Reschly., & C. Wylie (Eds). Handbook of Research on Student Engagement. Springer : New York. 763-783. Gikandi, J. W., Morrow, D., & Davis, N. E. (2011). Online formative assessment in higher education: A review of the literature. Computers & Education, 57(4), 2333–2351. Guasch, T., & Espasa, A. (2015). Collaborative Writing Online: Unravelling the Feedback Process. In G. Rijlaarsdam (Series Ed.) & M. Deane, & T. Guasch (Vol. Eds.), Studies in Writing: Vol. 29, Learning and Teaching Writing Online, (pp. 13–30). Leiden: Brill. Handley, K., Price, M., & Millar, J. (2011). Feedback: focusing attention on engagement, Studies in Higher Education, 36, 8, 879-896, DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2010.483513 Nicol, D. (2010). From monologue to dialogue: Improving written feedback processes in mass higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35(5), 501–517. Price, M., Handley, K., Millar, J. & O’Donovan, B. (2010). Feedback: all that effort, but what is the effect? Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35(3), 277–289. Sinha, S., Rogat, T., Adams-Wiggins, K., & Hmelo-Silver , C. (2015). Collaborative group engagement in a computer-supported inquiry learning environment. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 10, 273–307. DOI 10.1007/s11412-015-9218-y Sutton, P. (2012). Conceptualizing feedback literacy: knowing, being, and acting, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 49 (1), 31-40, doi: 10.1080/14703297.2012.647781
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