July 9, 2020

Building a Culture of Feedback

I've already dedicated a segment of this blog to feedback posts, so I want to link to that first of all: Feedback Resources.

What I'm going to do in this post is just link to each of those posts and then add a few comments here specifically about how blogs and blog networks come into play:

Feedback Bootcamp. Just as blogging is new to most students in class, feedback is also something new... and feedback is a lot more complicated than blogging! So, in the same way that I make sure to provide lots of specific support for students learning how to blog and how to feel confident about blogging, I do the same with feedback. Students start leaving the more social, informal comments on each other's blogs already in Week 2, but for the more substantive comments on each other's projects, there's a five-week exploratory process where students learn about giving and receiving feedback. They write blog posts with their thoughts as part of that process, and I learn so much from reading those posts, and that in turn helps me do a better job of providing students with feedback later on.

Feedback: My Diigo Bookmarks. I've mentioned before how much I like Diigo, and this "Diigo Library" of bookmarks is something that my students find very useful as they browse and explore class materials. Blogging is great, but when you have a large body of materials that you want students to explore, Diigo can be a really good way to do that. For more about Diigo, see the other posts in this series: Blogs and Diigo and RSS: Diigo.

Feedback Gallery. This project is a great example of how you can get students to help you figure out the best strategies to use for your classes. Just ask; they will tell you! So, for this project, I used a Google Form and asked them to share the best comments they had received from other students, and I then sorted those sample comments into a Google Doc to use with future students. Students had easy access to all the comments they had received because of the convenient way that all the comments they receive are accessible through their blog dashboard. For example, here's how the comments look in my class blog dashboard:

Student to Student Advice. This is a fun example of a randomizer that I use in the class announcements blog! I've written about randomizers like that here: HTML Sidebar Boxes - Randomizers. Each time the daily announcements blog comes up, you can see a bit of random advice there:

Ungrading: All-Feedback-No-Grades. Having a blog network where students document their work provides a solid foundation for ungrading. Students "declare" their work in the Gradebook (more about that in the next post), and each declaration leaves some kind of visible trail in the blogs. So, if students forget to do a declaration (and that does happen), it's not a problem at all; they just send me a note with a link to the post they forgot to declare and I can manually add it to the Gradebook. No fuss, no trouble.

And that makes a perfect transition into the next (and final) post, all about Blogs and Completion-Based Grading.