eLearning Feedback: Enhancing Instructor to Learner Feedback

In my last post on relevant and relational feedback, I mentioned how adding a human factor into your online courses creates another dimension of building relationships with students. Constructive, relevant, and relational feedback helps students develop an awareness of their learning as well as the ability to recognize and address their weak points on their own. Today we’ll look at audio and video feedback tools you can use to build relationships with your students and help them take these important steps in their learning.

Audio Feedback

In Feedback Strategies for Online Courses, author of Online Classroom Rob Kelly (2014) observes that audio feedback, “can create a sense of instructor presence and a personal connection between student and instructor.” Similarly, in her blog post, Audio Feedback and Human Touch?, Austrian teacher Veronica (2013) captures the essence of how students benefit from audio feedback. She believes that audio feedback, “adds an element of presence—the so-called human touch, which is often lacking in an online environment.” She goes on to say,

Intonation and voice tone both help to convey feelings, which in turn really help to create tutor presence and build rapport (the human touch)…Finally, since students can decide when, where and how often they listen [to the audio feedback]…an element of choice is added, a step towards promoting learner autonomy.

The Canvas learning management system (LMS) provides instructors with two ways to give learners audio feedback through the SpeedGrader tool. If you use Google Chrome, you can give your learners audio feedback through Speech Recognition. Otherwise, you can record audio (or video) feedback for your students. In addition, the Blackboard LMS also provides instructors with an audio feedback tool in their Feedback to the Learner area of the Grade Center.

If you don’t use Blackboard or Canvas, you can still provide your students with audio feedback. In Form an Online Connection: Part 1, Michelle, discusses several audio tools and the human factor they provide for online students. Some free audio tools she recommends are Audacity and Evernote.
If you or your students are more visual, you can record and submit a video screencast of your feedback.

Video Feedback

As I mention in my series on Charles Sander Pierce’s Community of Inquiry (CoI) model, one of my favorite screencast tools is Screencast-O-Matic. Other options for recording video include TechSmith’s Snagit (or Camtasia for longer videos). In addition, web conferencing tools, like Zoom, often offer free options to record shorter videos.

In her blog post about the best tools and methods to provide feedback, digital education consultant Debbie Morrison (2014), observes that screencasts “allow an instructor to talk through a student’s work by recording audio comments on the student’s assignment displayed on the instructor’s screen. With this method, the focus is on the student’s work which is featured on the screen.” She advises instructors not to sound too formal, but to speak naturally. Providing feedback via screencast should be like a conversation, as though you’re meeting with the student face-to-face. Michelle shared some great tips on the human factor screencasts provide in her post about forming an online connection with video.

When it comes to feedback, students crave authentic human interaction. Students will be more likely to receive and implement both audio and video feedback from an instructor they trust and have a relationship with. It’s more authentic to hear and/or watch an instructor provide feedback on course work rather than simply reading his or her comments.

In my next post on Learner to Learner feedback, we’ll look at how students are more likely to act on feedback given by peers working on the same assignments.

What are some of your favorite tools for audio and/or video feedback? What’s one way you plan to use audio and/or video tools to give feedback in your online course? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!


Kelly, R. (2014, February 27). Feedback strategies for online courses. Retrieved from Faculty Focus website: https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/feedback-strategies-online-courses/

Morrison, D. (2014, February 28). Best methods and tools for online educators to give students helpful and meaningful feedback [Blog post]. Retrieved from Online Learning Insights website: https://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/tag/audio-feedback-on-student-assigments/

Veronica. (2013, September 26). Audio feedback and human touch? [Blog post]. Retrieved from Veronica’s Teaching Online Blog: http://tomooc.edublogs.org/2013/09/26/audio-feedback-and-human-touch/

Author: Ann Broda, Instructional Designer

Ann is pursuing her PhD in Communication through Regent University and also teaches speech online at Olivet Nazarene University. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, participating in theatre, drinking coffee, biking, traveling, and reading.

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