Application for funding from the Humanities

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Application for funding from the Humanities
Teaching Enhancement and Student Success Fund 2010/11
Summary sheet
Title of project
Hear IT!
Outline of project
The project aims at reducing the time spent filling in feedback forms
for tutors whilst retaining the same high quality feedback for
students. For ITAL10200 Italian language, the tutor has to fill in ca.
55 feedback sheets per week (one per student) over at least 8
weeks per semester.
With Hear IT!, the tutor would use Blackboard voice email
messages to record verbal (audio-)feedback for students and send
feedback to students individually. The tutor would still mark
students’ language work, but both formative and summative
feedback would be delivered orally to complement the marked
piece of coursework.
The project will:

Cut down tutor time with regard to the following: typing up
detailed feedback on SLLC (recommended) feedback
sheets, printing feedback sheets, stapling feedback sheets
to each piece of student coursework.

Enhance the student experience in terms of individual
feedback: student will hear the tutor’s voice (via Blackboard
voice email) which accompanies the marked piece of
coursework.

With Hear IT! it will be easier for students to understand
feedback: students will be able to rely on tutors’ intonation
for praise / suggested areas for improvement.

Student will be asked to fill in the feedback form individually
upon hearing verbal feedback. This will enhance students’
understanding of the meta-language used in grammar
teaching and writing courses. Students will be able to focus
on each area of the language independently (e.g. syntax,
lexis): they will fill in their own feedback sheets based on
tutor’s comments. This process will enhance the time
students spend on reflecting upon each piece of work thus
making it more meaningful for the individual student.
Name(s) of applicant(s)
Dr. Elena Polisca
Contact details
[email protected]
School
Italian Studies, SLLC
Name of programme or unit
and is it credit-bearing?
ITAL10200, credit-bearing (40 credits)
1
Year of study
First year
Number of students to
benefit?
55 in the first instance. Potentially all core language courses within
Italian Studies (up to 150 students, excluding the Year Abroad
students) and other discipline areas within SLLC.

Background
Italian Studies is part of SLLC. Compared to other disciplines, Italian Studies’
tutors have to teach a wider number of language courses with less repetitive
teaching for each course. Often, one tutor is responsible for marking and
assessing one whole language module. For instance, the ITAL10200 tutor has
to mark and assess ca. 55 pieces of coursework almost on a weekly basis
over two semesters, as well as overseeing and marking the development of
language portfolios (these are handed in three times over an academic year)
for this particular course. Hear IT! would help tutors cut down the amount of
time spending in filling in feedback forms whilst retaining the same high
quality feedback for the students.

What will the development achieve?
The project’s benefits are two-fold. Hear IT! would help tutors cut down the
amount of time they spend filling in feedback forms on a weekly basis. By the
same token, students will still get the same high quality, personalised
feedback with the added bonus of hearing it from the tutor’s voice directly in
support of the marked piece of coursework they get back. Students will take
responsibility for ensuring they actively engage with feedback.
Should the project be successful, it could be easily replicated and applied to
other disciplines.

How do the outputs align with the Faculty or School’s teaching and
learning priorities?
Hear IT! focuses on enhancing the student learning experience with particular
emphasis on student engagement and assessment & feedback. As a result of
this novel online approach to feedback and assessment, students will become
more engaged with the feedback process itself as Hear IT! fosters a process
of feedback ‘ownership’. The student’s learning experience will therefore be
more personalised, in line with goal 2.1 of the 2015 agenda (‘to ensure that all
students have a high quality personalised learning experience and frequent
personal contact with academic staff’); the project also enhances the provision
of teaching, learning, assessment and student support at Faculty level as
outlined in the Faculty of Humanities webpages.

How will the outputs enhance learning?
Students will a) learn to reflect more thoroughly on, and make the most of, the
assessment and feedback process; b) experience enhanced independent and
2
transferable skills. After listening to the voice email, they will be asked to fill in
their own individual feedback sheet. Student will then include the feedback
sheet in the Independent Language Learning Portfolio (ILLP) as further proof
of their independent (and, in this case, semi-directed) learning.

How many students will the outputs benefit, actually and potentially,
and how are you going to ensure they complete the activities?
The pilot project will involve 55 students (ITAL10200) in the first instance.
Upon the project’s successful outcome, Hear IT! can be rolled out to the rest
of the core language courses within Italian Studies (ca. 150 students,
excluding the Year Abroad students), and potentially other disciplines with a
language component within SLLC.
As mentioned above, students will be asked to included their completed
feedback forms within the ILLP, which forms part of the assessed coursework
for the ITAL10200 Italian language course unit

How will the outputs be sustained after project funding ceases?
The project will use Voice board email within Blackboard, which is a standard
feature of all Blackboard courses. The applicant and interested parties in the
future will be able to use voice emails without further cost to the School or
faculty.

How will the outputs be evaluated, by students and by others?
The applicant is planning to distribute questionnaires to evaluate the
effectiveness of Hear IT! at the end of the pilot project. The applicant is
planning to split the course into two groups: the first group will receive
standard feedback (i.e. on paper alone), whereas the other group will receive
standard and voice-enhanced feedback (alongside the corrections on paper).
The project will run in the 2nd semester. The applicant therefore will be able to
evaluate the following:
A) difference between appreciation and usefulness of different feedback
practices between the two groups;
B) difference between appreciation and usefulness of different feedback
practices within group 2. (The second group will experience
conventional feedback in the 1st semester and enhanced audiofeedback in the 2nd semester)
Details of evaluation will be presented at conferences (potentially Italian
Studies conference 2011) and also disseminated through an academic article.

A brief outline (no specifications needed) of the type of equipment
needed and how it will support the project
The applicant will require a laptop with inbuilt microphone and speakers, as
well as a scanner to scan in and return documents to students with the voice
email.
3
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