Global Innovation Awards 2017: Honorable Mention

Category: Writing with Integrity | UK

Chantelle Wood

Chantelle Wood

Lecturer in Psychology: University of Sheffield, South Yorkshire

“The feedback I received on my semester 1 coursework was the most useful feedback I have received whilst at university!”

Psychology lecturer Chantelle Wood says she passionately believes that feedback can help students improve their academic writing. In addition to teaching, she oversees third-year research projects and literature reviews. She says that over the years, she’s become increasingly aware of discrepancies in the quality and consistency of feedback that students receive.

Every year, Wood says, she looks at results from the UK National Student Survey, and every year students indicate that the feedback they receive is not as prompt or detailed as they would like. “I don’t think we’re alone in this,” she says. After departmental surveys and informal student feedback also indicated room for improvement, she decided to take action.

“It seemed like Turnitin was a really logical solution,” she says. Her department was already using it to check student work for originality. Therefore, she says, it made sense to leverage the built-in feedback functionality to improve the timeliness, consistency and quality of feedback, and also improve student engagement with that feedback.

She implemented and led the use of Turnitin to provide feedback across a number of modules in her department, spanning teams of up to 30 markers. She says one of the key benefits of Turnitin’s structure is that feedback now maps clearly to marking criteria, and everyone provides comments under the same headings. One innovation they’ve added to their submission process is requiring students to include a cover letter, where they reflect on how they’ve integrated past feedback from across their course to improve their writing.

After using Turnitin for a year, Wood sought feedback from students and found notable improvements: 88% percent of students indicated that feedback had been prompt and 70% indicated that they had received detailed feedback. Wood says she feels good about the direction they’re going. Student comments like the following seem to back her up: “The feedback I received on my semester 1 coursework was the most useful feedback I have received whilst at university!”

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