Online supervision and feedback


Feedback and supervision form the core of a pedagogical practice – to promote development in others. But supervision and feedback often mean a great workload for teachers. However, the workload can be reduced while providing very good conditions for good quality in the feedback. The key to this is, for example: 

  • good assessment criteria that point out what is to be fed back and how (a language common to the students)
  • the use of digital media where the form of feedback / guidance and accessibility can be increased.
  • to utilize the student collective in a way that benefits all parties

In cases where interaction fails in online education, we are often quick to see it as a matter of missed, late or incorrect feedback. Here it may instead be symptoms of unclear planning or instructions. From research, we can see that an important key lies in the preparatory work with planning and structuring that is more valuable than being available and active in emails and forums (dealt with under the theme ”Independent and motivated students”). 

Supervision – practical guidance 

In an online education, the possibilities for variation in the forms of supervision increase with the support of digital media. The framework for the tutorial probably takes place in real-time meetings in Zoom or similar. However, these can be developed to sometimes be done in groups for everyone’s learning, but can also be supplemented or to some extent replaced with supervision dialogues. 

With oral recorded comments before real-time guidance, the students’ positions are moved forward. Students appreciate receiving oral comments, either separate or comments that post the text around certain parts of text comments, for example. With a screen recording program, time is saved when you can point to the student’s / students’ documents and comment on them. The students can in turn listen several times. 

With recorded comments on inserted comments in documents, you can free up time for supervision conversations away from what the supervisor actually refers to. Stripped-down comments in text are orally framed in tone and development and often appear more benevolent and developing than their stripped-down short text format. More comments are then already processed or the students have ready-made arguments with them. In this way, the product also takes on a character of being under constant development and not something that must be ”defended” in the tutorial. 

Feedback – practical guidance 

Where in an educational situation / course that feedback should be given is important in terms of what form it can / should be done. Research shows that students often do not understand the feedback they receive, but also that it is taken more seriously in online education than campus education. Anonymous examinations can make it difficult to get the right feedback. 

Developing good assessment criteria, using digital technology, utilizing the student group and getting more communicative feedback are important areas for development. Being able to provide feedback is also a skill our students need to be trained in, which is why a meta-perspective on feedback sometimes needs to be represented in courses. 

Expectations, requirements and goals can differ between supervisor and student and therefore it is important to discuss these points before starting supervision and work together for a common agenda. 

Supervising is very much about moving the work forward and creating a structure. A simple and good tool for this is the booking function in Mymoodle where the responsibility is transferred to the student. This is especially helpful in situations where you supervise several students at the same time. In this function, it is also possible to document the supervision opportunity. 

Through a screen recording tool (LnuPlay, Screencast-o-matic, Screencastify, etc.), you can go through an assignment orally by selecting relevant text sections and commenting. You can also write or draw on the student’s document. Through this, you create asynchronous individual teaching that strengthens the sense of presencebetween you and the student. The student can also pause or replay the feedback opportunity.

Using peer feedback also supports the learning process as it is based on developing reflection, critical thinking and collaboration. Through the feedback process, the student gainsaninsight into what fellow students have learnedand thereby has the opportunity to develop a realistic picture of their own knowledge acquisition. However, studies have shown that peer feedback is most fruitful as a tool duringlater parts of a degree programand that inexperienced students seem to focus more on the visible and technical aspects such as form and style -at the expense of the content. It is therefore important that students are introduced to giving feedback and trained in what factors foster effective learning.

Establishing an asynchronous dialogue between supervisor and student is an excellent tool that also facilitates assessment individually when students write in pairs. In MyMoodle there is the tool Dialog which also hase-mailalerts. Posts can be classifiedby supervisors showingwhere you are in the process or what thoughts occupy the student, but also important formulations such as purpose and research questions can be includedhere and have a formative character. Different blogging tools can be used in the same way, provided that they are linked closely to the student and supervisor and thus have the potential to reduce the pedagogical distance.

Blog tools where students can be encouraged to ”think aloud” themselves. 

Booking/scheduling tool where initiatives can be taken by students. An example is Scheduler in MyMoodle. 

Dialog function in MyMoodle (Add activity). Dialogue can be established with everyone in a course at the same time, but individually (with a common message initially). Read the article on Dialogue. 

Screen recording. Simple programs where links are generated so that the recording does not take power and time from the comments and can be quickly communicated with the students. Record via Kaltura Capture or Zoom. Also read about alternative recording methods. 

Zoom for meetings. With the help of Zoom, you can supervise individually or in groups, even remotely. Read tips on Zoom in teaching. 

Magnusson, Jenny & Zackariasson, Maria (2021). Handledning i praktiken: om studenters självständighet och akademiska litteracitet. Lund: Studentlitteratur ISBN: 9789144136424