An Update on Using Vocaroo for Student Feedback

As I write this, I have graded a little over half of my students’ comparative essays on the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia. In my last post, I told you that I was going to use Vocaroo to provide the concluding statement at the end of each essay. As I read the essay, I mark them in the usual way, but at the end, instead of writing a concluding paragraph, I link to a voice recording.

So far, I really like this idea. I even discovered a couple of different advantages to a voice recording that I did not anticipate before attempting this. For one, I can use the tone and infliction of my voice to emphasize certain points (my students cited this as one of the main benefits with hearing my voice). In addition, many students told me that they felt that an audio message provided them with a more immediate connection to me and my remarks. Although they did not state this it is my hope that this closer connection will also mean that they will pay closer attention to both positive and negative criticism. Of course, part of this could be because of the “newness” of the audio comment; the sense of a closer connection might diminish if and when students get used to receiving feedback in this manner.

I am fortunate to work with some great colleagues, and a few of them have expressed some interest in this idea. A couple are even willing to try it out, provided that my attempt does not end in miserable failure. (And, I think that I can venture out on a limb and say that this will not happen!).

Instead, this has been a very positive experience. Once I return all essays, I will survey my students to document their thoughts about audio feedback. I am sure not everyone will like it, but at this point, it seems as if the vast majority does, which has been nice to see. Thank you to all who has offered questions and comments on this little project and any further suggestions are of course welcome!

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2 Responses to An Update on Using Vocaroo for Student Feedback

  1. I hadn’t thought about the benefit of tone and inflection. Comments that may come across as harsh or even fall flat when written can take on an entirely different meaning and importance with the right verbal cues. After surveying the students I hope that you post the data and perhaps even an example of the way that you are fitting the written and verbal together.

  2. Thank you for yet another thoughtful comment! I must admit that when I planned this project I did not consider the value of tone or infliction to be one of the benefits, but it seems to be one of the main reasons my students like the audio comment. Once I have graded all the essays, I will survey my students and publish the results in this space. Thank you so much for your comment–your engagement in this little project means a great deal to me!

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