(Posted by Simon Sweeney, York St John University)
Finally managed to get back in to the Blog. The trouble is if you use three computers, three email addresses and forty seven and three quarters passwords you make mistakes. However, with the help of my pet whippet I now have an ENTIRELY MEMORABLE blog password!!!!!!!!
OK, Sounds Good!!!???
This has been - as Bob said it would be - an exciting journey (although frustrating at times). I will be putting a full report together...but talk about a learning curve!!! I found that wherever there was a choice to make I made the wrong choice, so everything took hugely longer than I anticipated. The worst thing has been getting the feedback to the students and getting an acknowledgement from them and getting the questionnaires back. This has been marked by a truly gargantuan level of difficulty.
A friend who runs an educational support organisation for creative writing told me last year his network (NAWE) had 1000 members and usually about 100 manage to attend the annual conference. 1 in 10 struck me as very good. Likewise with a survey, 1 in 10 response isn't too bad (though that means to get a response from 50 needs 500 surveys posting out which is a lot of work. Anyway, on Sounds Good I am indeed running at about 1 in 10. Actually I think this is low, and feel sure Bob will be disappointed. The worst thing though is I cannot be sure that the students have even got the Audio feedback at all because I am not receiving acknowledgements!!
So what went wrong? It seems to me that unless you set up the Assignment delivery electronically inside the VLE you are pretty well unable to post out the feedback through the VLE - and in any case once the module is to all intents and purposes over, the students never go near the VLE for that module again anyway!!!
Mark and I set about sending files through the VLE but it was HUGELY timeconsuming for Mark (and he's a VLE expert). So instead I sent the files out using my private email and the students' private emails if I had them, if not University email accounts. Here there's always the problem of file size and not knowing whether they have opened their email account - even once in recent times!!! Or ever!!!?? IN ADDITION - and Mark will be surprised by this - it took hours to do this and therefore probably didn't save (me) time over the 'attaching to the VLE approach'....
So... and that....has been ONLY SOME of the problems....
So do I have anything positive to say??? YES. Both my colleague Bev Geesin and I have been delighted with the Audio Feedback in terms of what it can bring to the process and the students who HAVE responded have all been very positive (except one who wanted written feedback AS WELL!)...so yes, I think Audio Feedback is the future. I would always want to use it (even though I think with all the technical problems resolved it WILL NOT SAVE TIME. It is though a much more sophisticated, detailed and personal feedback service. OK...full report at the end.
For the moment I am still stuck in a quandary. What should I do for those students who have not responded at all? I may have to go through the laborious process of attaching the files into the VLE...but even then, will they visit Blackboard weeks after they handed in their work???
OK...that's it. More detail will be provided later....Happy Blogging!
Simon signing off (and taking the whippet for a walk).