or “You can provide student feedback, but how do you know if it’s really ever read?”

Instructors strive to provide effective feedback in a timely manner to help their students learn and be successful. Logistically speaking grading especially in large enrollment classes, can become an especially arduous task.

Frequently, TAs are employed as graders to help lighten the workload. While such a strategy may be necessary from a management standpoint, it does hinder instructors from making a closer connection to students and better identifying where students are having difficulty. However, no matter what the size of the class, there are strategies to help instructors to more easily manage the delivery of feedback to students.

In a Faculty Focus blog post by Victoria Smith, PhD and Stephanie Maher Palenque identifies Ten Tips for More Efficient and Effective Grading. These suggestions are applicable to both online and face-to-face courses. Suggestions such as #2 Bank Comments are clearly a time saver. Other strategies address the issue more proactively; letting students know in advance how their work will be evaluated through the use of rubrics (#8 Avoid Surprises) and promoting more reflective thinking by encouraging students to think more critically about what they did right rather than telling them what they did wrong. (#10 Questions for Reflection)

Even so, the hours spent crafting meaningful feedback can be for naught if the students do not read it. Fortunately, in an online course there are tools and strategies to increase the chances that students have an opportunity to review and benefit from your feedback.

  1. Always post an announcement letting students know when feedback has been posted in the course and how to access it.
  2. If there are common issues many students are struggling with consider posting global feedback as a video in an announcement using the web cam tool in Bb. See the Blackboard Knowledge Base article: Record from Web Cam in Blackboard (may require ASURite login)
  3. Record more personalized feedback to an individual student using screen capture technology. A link to the feedback can be shared either via email or from the Blackboard grade center. Some popular tools used for this include:
    • Jing
    • TechSmith Relay
    • YouTube

In an investigation of video feedback in higher education, Mathisen (2012) concluded the strategy was efficient and highly effective.

“…students signal the following quite clearly: video comments are regarded as being more precise and nuanced than written feedback, and as such give students a greater amount of inspiration and motivation when completing future academic work.”

Feedback can be delivered via Blackboard through the online gradebook. Blackboard also supports the third-party tool Crocodoc which allows instructors to add comments inline or directly markup papers. See the Blackboard Help article: Inline Grading for Assignments.

Tell us: What are your strategies for delivering feedback to students? Share your tips and tricks for helping students to get the most out of the feedback you leave for them.


Mathisen, P. (2012, February). Video Feedback in Higher Education -€“ A Contribution to Improving the Quality of Written Feedback – Nr 02 – 2012 – Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy. Retrieved March 20, 2015, from http://www.idunn.no/dk/2012/02/video_feedback_in_higher_education_-_a_contribution_to_impr#

Podcasting To Personalize Feedback. (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2015, from https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/student-feedback-through-technology

Ten Tips for More Efficient and Effective Grading. (2015, February 2). Retrieved March 20, 2015, from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/educational-assessment/ten-tips-efficient-effective-grading/