Productive feedback practices in higher education. Investigating social and epistemic relations in two undergraduate courses
AbstractFeedback on student work has become a central research topic in the field of higher education. Many see the use of feedback as a promising pedagogical strategy to foster the students’ skills in making competent judgements about the quality of their performances, and to encourage students to engage actively with the knowledge of their disciplines. Despite this increasing attention, many aspects of feedback are still not fully understood. Recent developments in the research literature have brought forward the argument that the limited understanding of feedback is related to the problematic view of feedback as a simple transmission of knowledge from teachers to students. Instead, it has been argued that we need to shift our attention more to the processual and relational aspects of feedback. This thesis addresses this challenge by conceptualizing and studying feedback from a sociocultural perspective. The notion of productive feedback practices is proposed to refer to the ways in which course participants (i.e. teachers and students) generate, make meaning of, and act upon information about the quality of student performances. These practices incorporate, and are shaped by, the social and epistemic relations between different elements in the course environment. Such elements include the actions of course participants, components of the course design, and the resources available in the knowledge domain. How these elements come together shapes the ways in which feedback opportunities are generated and how concrete feedback encounters are enacted. In line with this conceptual stance, this thesis explores empirically (1) how feedback practices in higher education are constituted by social and epistemic relations in the course environment, and (2) how configurations of social and epistemic relations can facilitate productive feedback practices. These questions are investigated in the context of two case studies at two different Norwegian higher education institutions: a course in biology and a course in software engineering. The empirical work is presented in three articles that use qualitative research methodology to investigate the feedback practices in the two courses.
List of papers
|Article 1: Esterhazy, R. (2018b). What matters for productive feedback? Disciplinary practices and their relational dynamics. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 43(8), 1302–1314. The paper is removed from the thesis in DUO due to publisher restrictions. The published version is available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2018.1463353|
|Article 2: Esterhazy, R. & Damşa, C. (2017). Unpacking the feedback process: An analysis of undergraduate students’ interactional meaning-making of feedback comments. Studies in Higher Education. The paper is removed from the thesis in DUO due to publisher restrictions. The published version is available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2017.1359249|
|Article 3: Esterhazy, R., Nerland, M., & Damşa, C. Characteristics of course designs that cater for productive feedback. To be published. The paper is not available in DUO awaiting publishing.|