Internet technologies allow free access to an ever-growing catalog of high-quality learning materials. From TED Talks to MOOCs to Khan Academy lectures, the internet has made access to learning more open source than ever before. This democratization of learning resources increases the equitable distribution of education, especially as the internet becomes increasingly accessible to all demographics. Yet, one area of technology-mediated learning has received a lukewarm welcome from educators- computer-mediated assessment feedback. While many teachers have embraced technology-mediated grading, they have yet to likewise embrace the feedback that same technology can provide. However, given that one of the key reasons educators say they are unable to provide the amount of feedback that students are asking for is a lack of time, computer-mediated assessment feedback seems like a logical solution.
Computer-mediated feedback delivery is more acceptable among students than teachers might think. In fact, several studies have shown that students actually view electronic feedback as preferable due to clarity in grading criteria, feedback legibility, guidance on deficiencies, and recognition of areas where the student performed well. Computer-mediated feedback provides a level of flexibility that is non-existent in other methods of delivery. Electronic feedback offers flexibility in when the feedback is delivered and when it is read, which makes it more private. Students no longer have to feel pressured from peers to share their assessment results with one another when papers are physically handed back to students. Additionally, all electronic feedback (computer-mediated or received directly from the teacher) remains housed in the LMS, allowing students to access and reference previous feedback at any point in their learning. This is ideal for encouraging the metacognitive practice of self-reflective assessment.
It is always important to temper our apprehension at accepting new technology in education with historical context. It wasn’t that long ago when online education was not widely accepted. In an age where learning opportunities now surround us, it is more important than ever to ensure that feedback is equally ubiquitous. Computer-mediated assessment feedback solves the conundrum of time that teachers are so often faced with, while ensuring that students are receiving the feedback necessary to understand their performance.
Al-Bashir, et al. (2016). The Value and Effectiveness of Feedback in Improving Students’ Learning and Professionalizing Teaching in Higher Education. Journal of Education and Practice, 7(16).
Tuffley, D. & Antonio, A. (2015). Enhancing Educational Opportunities with Computer-Mediated Assessment Feedback. Future Internet, 7(3), 294-396, https://doi.org/10.3390/fi7030294