'Take away from the dry sixties style marking': Lecturer and student perceptions and experiences of audio feedback

David Pick, Tania Broadley, Brian R. von Konsky

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review


Providing audio feedback to assessment is relatively uncommon in higher education. However, published research suggests that it is preferred over written feedback by students but lecturers were less convinced. The aim of this paper is to examine further these findings in the context of a third year business ethics unit. Data was collected from two sources. The first is a series of in-depth, semi-structured interviews conducted with three lecturers providing audio feeback for the first time in Semester One 2011. The second source of data was drawn from the university student evaluation system. A total of 363 responses were used providing 'before' and 'after' perspectives about the effectiveness of audio feedback versus written feedback. Between 2005 and 2009 the survey data provided information about student attitudes to written assessment feedback (n=261). From 2010 onwards the data relates to audio (mp3) feedback (n=102). The analysis of he interview data indicated that introducing audio feedback should be done with care. The perception of the participating lecturers was mixed, ranging from sceptism to outright enthusiasm, but over time the overall approach became positive. It was found that particular attention needs to be paid to small (but important) technical details, and lecturers need to be convinced of its effectieness, especially that it is not necessarily more time consuming than providing written feedback. For students, the analysis revealed a clear preference for audio feedback. It is concluded that there is cause for concern and reason for optimism. It is a cause for concern because there is a possibility that scepticism on the part of academic staff seems to be based on assumptions about what students prefer and a concern about using the technology. There is reason for optimism because the evidence points towards students preferring audio feedback and as academic staff become more familiar with the technology the scepticism tends to evaporate. While this study is limited in scope, questions are raised about tackling negative staff perceptions of audio feedback that are worthy of further research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Australian Technology Network (ATN) Assessment Conference, Oct 20-21 2011
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherCurtin University of Technology
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9780646566115
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
EventAustralian Technology Network (ATN) Assessment Conference - Curtin University, Perth, Australia
Duration: 20 Oct 201121 Oct 2011


ConferenceAustralian Technology Network (ATN) Assessment Conference
Abbreviated titleATN 2011


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