The Dialogic Potential of Providing Audio Versus Written Assignment Feedback in Higher Education
: A Mixed Method Study

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Philosophy


Student surveys conducted within the UK have highlighted student dissatisfaction with the written feedback they receive on their assignments in higher education and many institutions have been devising ways to address this issue. Most of this work has aimed to improve the content of tutors’ written feedback comments. Alongside emergent conceptual literature, this study takes a different perspective. It purposes that the many expressions of student dissatisfaction with their written assignment feedback may be understood as indications of impoverished student-tutor dialogue. Mass higher education is reducing the opportunities for dialogue to occur with the result that written feedback, which is essentially a monologue, commonly must carry the burden of student-tutor interaction. This perspective suggests that once rich forms of student-tutor interaction are reinstated in higher education, feedback may become more effective. This study holds interest in how the nature and quality of feedback dialogue may be enhanced through new technologies. Specifically, interest is held in exploring how far the provision of feedback to students using audio technology may better serve as a facilitator of dialogic feedback in higher education, than the traditional method of written feedback. To effectively identify the potential impact of providing audio feedback in higher education, the Three Factor Framework for Dialogic Feedback provided by Yang and
Carless (2013) has been used as a lens through which to design and conduct this study. A mixed method design was implemented to develop a more complete understanding of the experiences of those receiving feedback though this technological medium. The design accommodated for both an analysis of what feedback tutors provide to students on their assignment, alongside an analysis of how students themselves feel they receive and interact with their tutor’s comments. Results of this study strongly infer the merits of using audio technology to facilitate a dialogical approach to designing feedback. The study concludes by providing recommendations for best practice in higher education
Date of Award2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorGareth Norris (Supervisor) & Heather Norris (Supervisor)

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