Dependent Feedback

Dependent Feedback looks different in the online learning environment than in the face-to-face classroom.  When teaching students in person, teachers can easily provide feedback focused on student effort, performance, progress and mindset.  These interactions are so easy to incorporate into lessons that many teachers don’t even realize they are providing high-quality feedback when interacting with students.  It almost seems to happen naturally!

In digital learning, dependent feedback opportunities don’t happen on their own.  This is especially true when engaging students in asynchronous instruction.  Teachers need to be very intentional about when, how, and how much dependent feedback they provide.  A misbalance in dependent feedback can lead to overwhelmed teachers or under-developed teacher-student relationships.  We need to refine our dependent feedback mechanism to provide the most “bang for our buck”!

Focus on the Person

Be Personable while Personalizing Feedback

When possible, upgrade the quality of your feedback by using the more personable communication tools - such as video or audio.

A video comment provides more relationship building while also giving you a chance to talk about specifics of the student's progress and next steps.
See it in Action

Be Positive and Maintain Rigor

Attend to student emotions while helping them reach high standards

Strictly holding students to high learning standards is essential for success. Action-oriented coaching enables students to reach these standards.

Ensure students understand that you are invested in their success. You are on their team.
See it in Action

Plan Feedback Timing Carefully

Feedback isn't valuable if it doesn't inspire action

Our messages must be delivered in time for students to take action. The goal is to increase learning, not provide judgement about performance.

"How will my feedback influence the student's next action towards mastery?"

"Have I provided enough time for this action to be taken?"
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Using Peers to Provide Dependent Feedback

Dependent Feedback depends on a person, but this doesn’t have to be the classroom teacher!  Peers can provide high-quality feedback, especially when supports are put in place.  This strategy benefits the student receiving and the student providing feedback messages.

A rubric allows students to appraise each other’s work for targeted criteria.  This tool lowers the threshold for entry, enabling more students to successfully participate. By analyzing for specific criteria, students learn to assess the quality of their own work more accurately.  This allows them to measure their own progress while communicating about the performance of their peers.

Feedback conversations must have more depth than simply providing a rubric score.  We want our students discussing the quality of each other’s work.  Like all feedback conversations, they must discuss strengths, weaknesses, and action steps that could be taken to improve learning.  Without question prompts, these conversations often either remain surface level or veer off-topic.

Consider using some of our favorite prompts:

  • “What did this student do right?”
  • “What was a mistake that was made?  What might have caused this mistake?”
  • “Which of these action steps would you recommend?  Explain your thinking.”

Feedback conversations occur naturally between students when they are working together to complete a task.  These opportunities can be facilitated through a variety of digital tools.  They can occur in both synchronous and asynchronous models of online learning.  

Remember, completing a task doesn’t have to be boring!  One easy way to engage students in peer tutoring is to pair them together in an activity with a “game” feel.  This can be as simple as putting them in a digital call with a list of math problems to solve collaboratively or as complicated as an online “scavenger hunt”.  Relationships are built through activity and feedback messages naturally flow when students collaborate.

Digital Tools to Support Dependent Feedback

Creating Rich
Canvas Comments

The comments feature within Canvas allows teachers to leave personalized and rich comments about student performance. In addition to simple text, teachers can also include live links or video uploads to guide students in next “action steps.”

Using Loom for Quick Video Feedback

This tool allows teachers to easily create and share video messages to students to relay personal feedback messages. The videos are all “housed” online and can be shared with a simple link for students to view. 

Nearpod + Miro 

Teachers can use a simple Nearpod slide to host a Miro digital whiteboard for student lessons. The teacher and classmates can navigate within Miro to view work and students can receive feedback in real-time.

Rubric Maker

This free website allows teachers to create rubrics that can be used for direct student use or to guide students while evaluating peer projects. Rubrics are converted into PDF’s which can be used and uploaded into a course. 

Canvas Peer Review

The Peer Review feature within Canvas allows teachers to create assignments which will require peer evaluation upon submission. Student submissions can be manually assigned or automatically assigned to allow for peer guidance and analysis. 

Using Flipgrid for Peer Feedback

This tool allows students to leave video messages and feedback for each other. Students can use this tool to present their learning and evaluate the learning of others.  You can even partner students and they can use a Flipgrid as an asynchronous communication tool.