- Decide on what method will work in your context
- Be realistic – think carefully about what you can manage
- Do a non-critical dry run with your students to check your methodology and their ability to access and use the recordings
- Prepare students for receiving feedback, e.g. explain why you give feedback and how they can use it
- Decide where you will make the recordings and how conditions can be optimised for you, e.g. stick a ‘do not disturb – recording in progress’ sign on your door.
- Keep close to the microphone to reduce ambient and background noise
- Monitor (or at least test) recording levels, e.g. by using headphones to check it is loud and clear enough
- Use the Pause button to give yourself thinking time
- Never ever edit! Everyone is tempted but soon finds out it takes too long. If it is really necessary, just start again
- Get used to and accept the sound of your own voice. Nearly all of us have a problem with this. You’re fine!
- Start by including the student’s (or team’s) name, the assignment title, and the date. Then address the student by their first name as though they are sitting in front of you. Including these details at the front will help you to easily give the file a name based on the student when you have finished.
- Use the medium for its strengths – being sensitive, challenging, personal, clear, and direct. Be interested in the student and their work.
- Conclude with a list of actions you expect them to take
- Remind the student to make notes as they listen, to store the recording, and review it later, e.g. before they undertake their next assignment
- Evaluate and develop the approach
Feedback on summative tasks
- Some producers say you can include the mark halfway through the audio recording if giving feedback on summative assessment – to find it the student has to listen through
- Focus the feedback on how what the student can do to improve their engagement or performance on their next assignment – not just on correcting mistakes
- If you have a difficult message to convey, now’s a good time – but do offer to speak with the student face-to-face if this will help them
- Use screencast feedback to visually engage students in exam scripts
- It can be a nice way to say “Goodbye” (and to keep doors open) if it’s the last time you’ll see them – use audio feedback to bolster their confidence ready for their next steps…
The Voices of Innovators recordings are full of more tips.
These tips from Bob Rotheram who led the Sounds Good project provide an overview of his method of giving audio feedback on written work.