Feedback, according to Professor John Hattie, is ‘one of the most powerful notions we have’ in education – and also one of the most variable.
Earlier this year, I joined an instalment of Phil Anthony’s award-winning Digitally Enhanced Education webinar series to learn more about how institutions around the world are prioritising feedback as a key part of learning. Amid a wide variety of talks on assessment and feedback, a few really stood out. I’m particularly excited to share with you some of the wisdom of Professor Hattie on the power of feedback as a process of constant learning, of asking questions, and of low stakes ‘failure’ in a supportive environment.
During my work with the Open University so far, I’ve been really privileged to work with students from all walks of life. One key part of the OU student community, and a new one for my own practice, is students in secure environments. The OU’s work reaches over 200 prisons and secure hospital units around the country, and students who are studying from these institutions can take undergraduate modules across all four faculties (FASS, FBL, STEM and WELS), as well as Access modules for those who are new to higher education or haven’t studied at university level for some time.
High quality, online and distance education materials, building on a huge legacy of groundbreaking distance education. This is what Learning Designers and editors, working alongside academic colleagues, at the Open University shape and hone during the creation of new modules.
The Open University (OU) creates around 150 new modules each year, to sit alongside over 350 represented modules offered to students. The Learning Designer and Digital Development Editor roles are pivotal to the development and production of new modules and are involved right from the start, working alongside authors and faculty colleagues, to support and advise on plans. Other specialists, such as video and audio producers, interactive developers and graphic developers, are brought in at various points in the development, as and when they are needed. If you’re not familiar with Learner and Discovery Services (LDS) at the OU, LDS teams work closely with colleagues across the University to design, produce and deliver online and printed learning materials for students. This is a collaborative arrangement which engages our dedicated Learning Design, Learning Innovation, Development and Production, and Commissioning teams.
What is the most important feature of assessment for you and your students? This is a question we put to those present at the Assessment Design workshop our team led for the OU staff community in May 2021. The word cloud below shows that people thought that assessment should first and foremost be fair. They also believed it should be innovative, useful, interesting, challenging and enjoyable. Continue reading “Designing assessment for distance learners: what matters?”