photo by David Silver

I’d love to say that it’s how well you facilitate student discussions.

I’d love to say that it’s your amazing use of technology and media.

It’s not how well you communicate and explain assignment instructions.

It’s the feedback you give on assignments. And the criteria our students use to determine whether our feedback is good or awful is the same criteria we use for their assignments.

1) Timely Feedback

Can your students expect to get feedback from you before that next big paper? Do you surprise them at times with how quick you are? Have you posted time frames for your grading? I know a lot of us are afraid of that. But, if the most important element of our course (from our student’s perspective) is timeliness of our grading, then why not create a goal and make it public? I put this one first because it’s more important to your students than #2. That means, if you have to make a concession (and we always have to with grading), make it one of quality and not one of timeliness.

2) Substantive Feedback

It’s pretty simple, students want to know what you think and how they can improve. Okay, there are some who don’t, but a majority of them do. In the same way that we want work with substance, our students want feedback from us that is both legible and helpful to their learning process.

In my book, Excellent Online Teaching, I detail some ways to speed up grading, ways to give substantive feedback, and tools that will help you to cut down on the time it takes to get feedback to your students.