Instructional Design

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Course Design

Instructional Design Unit

Office of Faculty Support and Development


Principle 4

Give Prompt Feedback
  Students need help in assessing what they know. They need frequent opportunities to perform and receive feedback on their performance. At various points during college, and at its end, students need chances to reflect on what they have learned, what they still need to know, and how they might assess themselves.

In the traditional setting, this is what exams, tests, and quizzes are for along with the instructor comments on these items. Students can also simply raise their hands and get immediate feedback in class.
“Knowing what you know and don’t know focuses learning.”

Best Practices

Since an online course must be completely developed before the class even starts, there is much you can do to plan for giving prompt feedback. Creating self-assessments helps students to know what they need to work on. You can choose to see the results or not but the primary goal is for students to evaluate themselves. Vista is structured so that self-assessments can be created. You can also use software such as Turnitin which is plagiarism prevention software. This allows students to critique their own work even before submitting it to you.


Another thing you can do is add feedback to those assessments that are automatically graded. In this way when students take it during the semester, they get a grade right away but also receive some feedback written by you.

Peer-review is another way for students to receive prompt feedback on their work. You can setup a rubric and allow other students to use your criteria to grade their peers. This also makes the amount of time spent giving faculty feedback less overwhelming. Vista has these tools built in, the grading forms and peer-reviewed discussion boards. (If you have the option, it might be a good idea to have a TA who helps in providing feedback, especially for discussion boards)

It is also good practice to give acknowledgement feedback to students in certain cases. For example when a student gives you an assignment in email, or if you get an email but you know it will be a few days before you’ll have an answer, a brief response acknowledging that it was received can do a lot to alleviate student concerns.



Using Respondus, feedback for answer choices can be imported.

The feedback appears immediately after the answer selection to let the individual know why their selection was right or wrong.

Respondus Link