TESOL 2016 Highlights: Part 2

At TESOL 2015, I learned about digital tools for providing audio feedback on students’ written assignments. (Click to read that post.) Audio feedback remains a hot topic — the 2016 program book lists a number of sessions that explored this concept. I chose to attend Effectiveness of Audio Feedback for EFL Students in Online Courses.

Larisa Olesova of George Mason University (U.S.A.) and Natalya Alexeeva and Zarmena Emelyanova of North-Eastern Federal University (Russian Federation) surveyed students in their online courses. Their goal was to determine the effectiveness of audio feedback, and they also measured how students’ language skills and  teachers’ language background had an impact on students’ critical thinking.

After sharing the results from the student survey. The presenters generously focused on what other teachers can learn from their findings.

1. Audio feedback has benefits.

  • Students who received and listened to audio feedback in an online course reported a sense of caring. In other words, they felt that the teacher genuinely cared about them and their work.
  • The presenters observed that  the teacher’s intention via audio feedback was clearer, and the students’ retention of the comments was greater.
  • Teacher presence was extended. Some students in the survey commented that they had a stronger feeling of involvement.

2. Audio feedback is beneficial in a student-friendly form.

  • Keep it short.
  • Target specific aspects.
  • Avoid idioms and other unfamiliar language.
  • Try to speak naturally and without a script.

3. Written feedback still has value.

  • The presenters advise that teachers start with text feedback and then begin to incorporate some audio feedback mid-semester.

The presenters mentioned Jing and Adobe Pro as possible tools for providing audio feedback.

Thank you to all three presenters for the informative session.




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