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!