As it is one of the primary ways to offer guidance to the student, providing timely, formative, and meaningful feedback is an essential aspect to a successful online course. When students turn in their work, they are eagerly looking for feedback on their work. "There is a close relationship between students' propensity to continue or drop out of a course and the length of delay between assignment submission and its return." (Moore & Kearsley, 2005, p. 122). Moore and Kearsley also indicate that early success in assignment completion is especially important (p. 122). Students who know it will be a certain amount of time before they receive this information can move forward in the class strategically, knowing that the feedback may require an adjustment in how they study or work. Students who wait for weeks for feedback quickly lose motivation as they have no idea how they are performing or if they are meeting the expectations for the course.
Think of each graded assignment as a "teachable moment" where you help facilitate student understanding and progress. Feedback goes beyond a numerical score and includes giving specifics in the areas of strength and improvement. This includes providing concrete suggestions to the student if they are off track so they can improve their score on a similar task in the future. It also includes recognition of areas the student excelled at and why so they can replicate their great work on similar assignments. It is recommended that faculty set a turnaround time of feedback for assignments and a recommended practice is 5 days for a 16 week course. To help set expectations of the instructor this timeframe should be conveyed to students. It is understandable that you may not be able to give the same amount of feedback for all assignments. It is essential to determine which assignments build upon prior assignments and ensure that you provide meaningful, detailed feedback for these key activities. For non-essential assignments, detailed feedback is still an essential aspect of the course and to provide the proper feedback without being too time consuming it is recommended that you use grading rubrics.
Grading and rubric development and integration can be easily accomplished through Brightspace (D2L) and Turnitin. In fact, the GradeMark feature of Turnitin provides “commonly used Quickmarks” which instructors can drag and drop onto student work. For instructions on using Turnitin in Brightspace (D2L) for feedback purposes, please see the following video:
To develop a rubric within D2L, please refer to the following tutorial:
Additional resources include focusing on rubrics and advice on giving detailed feedback.
The Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence has several resources on rubrics located at:
An online rubric creator is the RubiStar Free Online Tool for Rubric Creation - http://rubistar.4teachers.org
In addition, Faculty Focus provides a nice article titled The Online Educator's Complete Guide to Grading Assignments, Part 2 giving some advice on provided detailed feedback: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/the-online-educators-complete-guide-to-grading-assignments-part-2/
Providing feedback, support and direction is important to the student's feeling of success and satisfaction in the course. There are numerous resources available. Here are a few helpful ones:
The Online Educator's Complete Guide to Grading Assignments, Part 1 - http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/the-online-educators-complete-guide-to-grading-assignments-part-1/