Writing assignments are a challenge. Students don’t usually enjoy them, and they can be cumbersome for instructors to grade. Rubrics help, but what else can instructors do make the most of their grading time? Electronic feedback has become more popular in recent years with the growing use of learning management systems. Some previous research has focused on student attitudes toward electronic feedback, and it was found that more than 80% of students would prefer to submit a copy of their assignment online (Bridge & Appleyard, 2008; Hast & Healy, 2016). The present research wanted to investigate how feedback format (electronic vs. handwritten) might affect the quality of instructor comments and subsequent student performance.
“The sun is setting, and the meadow is thick with fog, or smoke; roll a perception check” your friend tells you and others around the table."
If this sounds unfamiliar, then you haven’t spent time as an Elf Ranger, Dwarf Wizard, or Dragonborn Barbarian—i.e., you haven’t played Dungeon and Dragons (DnD). It was one-part my enjoyment of DnD and one-part my continued efforts to increase engagement and motivation in my classes that led me to experiment with gamifying one of my spring classes after reading this piece from my colleague and Sport Psychology Teaching Aficionado Dr. Amber Shipherd. Put briefly, gamifying a class is done by incorporating common elements of gaming such as competition and earning rewards. This approach has been studied in different contexts and has been found to have positive effects on engagement as well as learning. I hope that by adopting gaming elements throughout the course my students will have similar positive outcomes this semester. In the remainder of this post, I will discuss some of the strategies I am utilizing; I will follow-up again at the end of the semester with an update on how things went and lessons for others who might want to experiment with similar approaches.
As a lifelong learner and social media curator of learning resources, I invest significant time finding, sharing, and consuming a diverse array of learning resources. At this year’s National Institute for the Teaching of Psychology (NITOP), The Novice Professor team encouraged me to share some of my favorite learning experiences via a regular monthly guest blog. Here it goes…