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Bob Rotheram :: Blog :: Audio feedback simulation exercise

April 28, 2008


What’s it like as a student to receive audio feedback on your written work? What’s it like for the lecturer who gives audio feedback? Here’s a simulation of the experience.

‘Book review exercise’ (Book review exercise.doc) outlines a task for a fictional student at a fictional university. It also contains the outline assessment criteria and what the student wrote. First, imagine yourself as the assessor, John Little. Look at the task and bear in mind the assessment criteria as you read the assignment. What would you say (not write) to the student? What mark would you give? Why?

Next, imagine that you are the student, Marion Tuck. Play the audio file (Book_review_feedback.mp3) which contains the assessor’s comments on your work. How does it feel, hearing what he has to say? How does it compare with receiving written comments?

Now back to the real world, but keep using your imagination: you’re an assessor and you’ve had some practice at giving audio feedback. John Little’s comments to Marion Tuck lasted 4mins 34secs and contained 792 words, along with some non-verbal communication. Would it be a richer experience for your students to receive feedback routinely in this way? Would it benefit you? In particular, might it save you time? Sounds Good is trying to answer these questions.

As an aside, experience shows that assessors are minded to give very different marks to Marion Tuck’s work (a high of 80% and a low of under 20% in early trials). Some variation is to be expected, but the huge range has been a surprise. So this material may also serve to illustrate the subjectivity of assessment. If you’re an educational developer, maybe you’d like to try using the book review and feedback for this purpose. A reusable learning object, perhaps.

The files mentioned in this entry are also available in the Documents pages of the website.

(Posted by Bob Rotheram, Project Manager, Sounds Good)

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Posted by Bob Rotheram



    Hi Bob,

    Sounds good. Now imagine you didn't have to use software or computers or upload files etc. Instead the student and/or the assessor can just record content using any phone and when they hang up its posted to a web site. On top of that anyone involved can be alerted automatically by email or SMS.

    Imagine things like audio portfolios, course admin and lecture summaries, group fieldwork posting etc (podcasting) all done by one simple phone call. All of it available for instant download, listen over the phone, or listen online. All at standard rate calls. Well that's what Tellefoni.com can do. Not bad eh?


    Nicholas BowskillNicholas Bowskill on Thursday, 08 May 2008, 09:53 BST # |

  2. Interesting, Nicholas. Thanks for the tip. It certainly sounds simple and could be useful for quite a few things. I suppose one possible snag is that it will be a bit like speaking to an answering machine, with no opportunity to hit a 'pause' button if you need to gather your thoughts part way through. Worth considering, nevertheless.



    Bob RotheramBob Rotheram on Monday, 12 May 2008, 08:15 BST # |

  3. Hi Bob,

    You can still re-speak it as many times as you wish before hanging up. We can also offer a free trial if you would like to give it a go. Its simple and effective. I'm on 07902-239669 if you wish to try it for nothing.


    Nick Bowskill



    Nicholas BowskillNicholas Bowskill on Thursday, 15 May 2008, 11:53 BST # |

  4. Sorry Bob, one other thing. You can still record it with software and upload it later if you prefer. You can also add backing tracks to play over the phone with your message too if you like. Its just the speed and practicality for everyone when done over the phone. We're just setting up a trial in China for the autumn and they were interested for these reasons plus its scalability.

    Enough for now maybe ;)

    Nick Bowskill




    Nicholas BowskillNicholas Bowskill on Thursday, 15 May 2008, 12:07 BST # |

  5. Mmm. Thanks for the offer of a free trial, Nicholas. I see the simplicity argument, but there would be cost implications for users - that's how Tellofoni will be making its money. Perhaps an individual student would not incur much cost listening to a few minutes of feedback once, but would they have to pay again each time they listened? Programme staff would incur bigger costs, uploading lots of audio and perhaps downloading some. In contrast, the marginal cost of using email and the web is zero. Also, how would external examiners react if sampling markers' comments added to their phone bills?

    Just wondering...


    Bob RotheramBob Rotheram on Thursday, 15 May 2008, 13:22 BST # |

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