Good, bad, ineffective feedback using Canvas

Last week I introduced integers using a James Tanton Math Without Words visual puzzle.  Below are examples of the student feedback I gave. I used our new Canvas LMS system as the work flow, but what’s important is the varying degrees of feedback I found myself giving students.

Since some students don’t bother to read feedback–especially when everyone, including me, is getting used to Canvas, I started class by asking the students to pull up the assignment and read the comments.

The student below read my feedback and asked very politely, “What am I supposed to do?” This is yet another reason why I will never earn National Board Certification.

canvasfeedback4
Had I thought about it ahead of time, my feedback should have read, “If every bump is a hill and every dip is a valley, what remains?” That’s something I did for another student. See last image.

I gave this kid nothing. At best I offer hope and a growth mindset but in terms of informative and constructive feedback, it’s terrible–absolutely terrible.

Here’s another student. I acknowledge he’s made the connection to integers, but…

canvas feedback3

…I should have added this:

extendedthinking
For students who clearly made the connection to integers, I should have been prepared to offer feedback that extended their thinking, but I wasn’t.

 

Here’s another example of awful feedback. I acknowledge the problems are correct, but I offer nothing.

canvas feedback2
I should have extended this student’s thinking. I could have added, “If these were numbers what would they be?”

Finally, here’s some feedback that is potentially helpful.

canvasfeedback5

When I gave the feedback I didn’t have a plan. I just viewed the student work one at a time and made comments. That made my feedback inconsistent and not effective. What I should have done was examine the student work collectively, and prepare feedback based on common misunderstandings and extending student thinking.

Feedback?

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4 thoughts on “Good, bad, ineffective feedback using Canvas

  1. That made my feedback inconsistent and not effective. What I should have done was examine the student work collectively, and prepare feedback based on common misunderstandings and extending student thinking.

    This sounds like a great idea. What it has me wondering is whether there is any sort of protocol out there that we could develop for figuring out what feedback to give students? If we could do this, I feel like your idea of looking at work collectively could be Step One.

    1. Our feedback needs to move students forward where ever they are and shouldn’t be haphazard. Now having even more time to think about this, I should have done a quick sort and prepared feedback that way.

      A well structured multiple choice problem has the potential to reveal misconceptions. Students choosing A have x misunderstanding; students choosing B have y misconception, etc.

      I’m not saying feedback should be generated like input-output table either, but we need to give targeted feedback.

  2. I think this is why blogging and reflecting is so important. You may feel like this go round was not your best, but next year if you do a similar activity, you will have thought about more effective ways to comment, and those students will benefit.

    I think seeing student work collectively is one way to consider comments before writing them. Writing helpful comments is such a challenge when I feel like there are so many other directions I pulled. Yet, they are so necessary for students to get the most out of the tasks we ask them to do.

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