MP3 Audio Feedback to Students

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Offering sound advice: Exploring the provision and delivery of audio feedback to students.

Presented at the University of Ulster Centre for Higher Education Practice Assessment and Feedback Conference, January 2012.

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MP3 Audio Feedback to Students

  1. 1. Offering sound advice: Exploring the provision and delivery of audio feedback to students Stephen McClean & Alison Gallagher University of Ulster School of Biomedical Sciences www.StephenMcClean.com - for copy of presentation Image: photo-dictionary.com/phrase/377/microphone.html#b
  2. 2. Audio Feedback – A Working Definition Verbal feedback offered by teaching staff on student work that is recorded and then delivered electronically to students Image: pacificvalleydesign.com/what_about_audio_feedback.html
  3. 3. Audio Feedback – Background <ul><li>Audio feedback has been given in the past via cassette tape (Cryer & Kaikumba, 1987) </li></ul><ul><li>Perry and Orsmond (2008) have reported on the use of MP3 files to provide feedback to bioscience students </li></ul><ul><li>“ Word in Your Ear” conference (2009) showcased the wide range of practice in the use of audio feedback in UK universities (bit.ly/x0DXfg). </li></ul><ul><li>Cryer, P. & Kaikumba, N. (1987) </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, vol. 12, </li></ul><ul><li>no. 2, pp. 148-153. </li></ul><ul><li>Merry, S. & Orsmond P. (2008) Bioscience Education, vol. 1:3. </li></ul>Image: ipods.techfresh.net/cassette-tape-ipod-nano-case/
  4. 4. Audio Feedback – Background <ul><li>Savin-Baden (2010) reports that while much research in audio feedback in general there has been less emphasis placed on feedback podcasting </li></ul><ul><li>Savin-Baden, M. (2010), &quot;The sound of feedback in higher education&quot;, Learning, Media and Technology, vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 53-64. </li></ul>Image: socialmediamagic.com/blog/business-applications-podcasting/
  5. 5. Recording and Sending MP3 Files – What do I need to record feedback? <ul><li>Microphone (either free-standing or headset & boom) to connect to a PC with soundcard and speakers or </li></ul><ul><li>MP3 voice recorder or </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile phone with voice recorder </li></ul>
  6. 6. Recording and Sending MP3 Files – What do I need to record feedback? Software used to record and edit the audio files Audacity free from audacity.sourceforge.net May also be used to export audio feedback as an MP3 file. Details on how to install and use Audacity: bit.ly/zVgBqn
  7. 7. Intuitive User Interface to Audacity software
  8. 8. Recording and Sending MP3 Files – How do I deliver the files to students? <ul><li>Email; generic feedback to an entire group </li></ul><ul><li>Mail Merged Email; individual files sent to a group of students (needs Pegasus Mail www.bioscience.heacademy.ac.uk/journal/vol12/beej-12-c1.aspx or Microsoft Office running macros word.mvps.org/faqs/mailmerge/mergewithattachments.htm ) </li></ul><ul><li>Set up a podcast; for generic feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Use the tools now available in BBLearn! </li></ul>
  9. 13. Audio Feedback – How is it used? Three cases studies from within the School of Biomedical Sciences:
  10. 14. Case Study 1: Formative Feedback on Drafts of Assignments MSc Biotechnology Molecular Biotechnology Module(BMS844) BSc Biology Natural Bioresources Module (BIO501) <ul><li>Taken by twenty students in Semester 2 </li></ul><ul><li>Students may choose to do a literature review, practical write-up or both from the lecture content delivered during the module. </li></ul>
  11. 15. Case Study: BSc Biology Natural Bioresources Module (BIO501) <ul><li>Formative feedback offered before the submission date </li></ul><ul><li>Students submit a draft of work by email at least 48 ‘working hours’ before the submission deadline. </li></ul><ul><li>Audio feedback recorded as MP3 file and emailed to students </li></ul>
  12. 16. Evaluation of the Practicalities BSc Biology Cohort Respondents (n=10) No-one reported problems in using the files. Audio quality was given a score of 10/10 (n=6) and 9/10 (n=1); Usefulness of the MP3 formative feedback was scored at 10/10 (n=5), 9/10 (n=1) and 8/10 (n=1).
  13. 17. Evaluation of the Practicalities BSc Biology Cohort Respondents (n=10) 20 students in the cohort overall;15 submitted coursework; 10 availed of formative feedback. Of those who received feedback all listened to the MP3, and said they changed their piece of work in the light of comments received.
  14. 18. Comments Received BSc Biology Cohort Respondents (n=10) “ I feel that a lot more can be put across in these audio files and it is a lot more comprehensive than an email as you can hear the tone of voice.” “ Very helpful, although had to repeat it several times in order to note all the suggestions made”
  15. 19. Case Study 2: Generic Feedback to Year One Students Introductory Chemistry Module (BMS105) <ul><li>Taken by 143 students in Semester 1 2011/12 </li></ul><ul><li>Students take 5 x laboratory practical classes </li></ul><ul><li>Brief verbal generic feedback given in class and a recorded version of the main points sent as an MP3 by email to all students (practicals 1-3) </li></ul><ul><li>For practicals 4-6 feedback for these was incorporated into a podcast and the link emailed to students </li></ul>
  16. 20. Case Study 2: Generic Feedback to Year One Students <ul><li>86% of students surveyed (n=43) said they listened to MP3 files sent by email </li></ul><ul><li>50% of students listened to the podcast files </li></ul><ul><li>Only 2 students said they actually subscribed to the podcast using iTunes etc </li></ul><ul><li>Some claimed they did not know how to subscribe to podcasts; some said they did not use iTunes or a compatible device. </li></ul>Image: socialmediamagic.com/blog/business-applications-podcasting/
  17. 21. But Did it Make a Difference to the Assignment? <ul><li>Presented in a timely manner  </li></ul><ul><li>Part of the formative learning process  </li></ul><ul><li>Specific and comprehensive  </li></ul><ul><li>Presented in an engaging way  </li></ul>
  18. 24. Case Study 2: Generic Feedback to Year One Students Student Comments on Audio Feedback... “ I personally didn’t find this useful but others might...” “ I would prefer written feedback in emails as it is easier and quicker to access” “ ..it is helpful and can be listened to for a recap or revision / reference at a later date.”
  19. 25. Case Study 3: Personalised Audio Feedback to Year Two Students <ul><li>Combined cohort of students taking NUT315 Pharmacology, Microbiology, & Genetics and OPT309 Human Disease. </li></ul><ul><li>Assignments marked by Dr Alison Gallagher and an MP3 audio feedback file created for each student (n=66) using Audacity. </li></ul><ul><li>MP3 files were delivered to students using the mail merge functions in Pegasus Mail (www.pmail.com) </li></ul>
  20. 26. Case Study 3: Personalised Audio Feedback to Year Two Students Comments from students: “ I would like to say a big thank you for the feed back you have given me/us. I found it helpful...Really appreciate the time taken to give each and every individual a feedback...”
  21. 27. Case Study 3: Personalised Audio Feedback to Year Two Students Comments from students: “ I actually liked the recorded feedback, I felt it was a lot easier to take the negative and positive aspects of the assignment onboard. It feels a lot more personal and one to one, Although I could imagine it being very time consuming.   Any idea when the results will be out for this assignment?”
  22. 28. Case Study 3: Personalised Audio Reflections from Alison Gallagher Location of where you produce the feedback needs to be considered; needs to be quiet! Didn't find Audacity that easy to configure or use It takes about as long (to generate audio feedback) as writing by hand but it did allow me to be more positive about each assignment first (something one of the students even commented on!)  
  23. 29. Case Study 3: Personalised Audio Reflections from Alison Gallagher Needed help with batch mailing the files; would be good to know how to be able to do this myself (so that I was more in control of the feedback and when it went out). The students got the file before they got their written feedback/mark and again I think this encouraged them to listen to the file - it would be nice to know how many actually listened to the whole 2-3 minute recording... I would certainly try this again!  
  24. 30. Final thoughts... Is not necessarily faster to generate than written feedback Formative feedback by this mode can be very effective May be extended to offer ‘whole group’ feedback for large classes, though this does not seem to be very effective in all cases
  25. 31. Acknowledgement Centre for Higher Education Practice at Ulster – Round Four Funding Presentation available at: www.StephenMcClean.com

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