The InterACT project at the University of Dundee, part of the JISC Assessment and Feedback Programme Strand A (institutional change) is working on enhancing feedback dialogue, reflection and feed-forward in a large postgraduate online distance learning course in medical education.
The course is unusual in that progress is heavily learner-driven: as students are working professionals they are able to enrol and submit assignments at any time they chose rather than according to a predetermined course timetable, and while this significantly increases the flexibility and accessibility of the course, this lack of external structure can impact, together with the higher attrition rates noted in online distance learning in general, on student progress and retention.
Assessment feedback has traditionally been offered at the end of each module of study, when assignments are submitted, which clearly limits the potential for reflection and learning from feedback. The InterACT project will transform this model through the integration of technology to support a more dynamic, ongoing feed-forward process that actively encourages learners to reflect and act on feedback and builds dialogue between learners and tutors.
The project team have now released their first draft of their proposed new model of feedback, and are actively seeking comment from the wider community. Dialogue between tutor and learner is focused around cover sheets appended to submitted work which encourage self-evaluation and reflection on assessment performance as well as making explicit the intention that past feedback should impact on future work. The use of private blogs or wikis as a personal reflective space is intended to encourage this focus on the ongoing interplay of past and future performance.
Do get involved with the discussion, either via the blog post or through contacting the project team.