Conference Papers

Audio Feedback Revisited: A Pastoral Dimension?

Audio feedback can be seen as the process by which tutors digitally record assignment feedback as an mp3 file, which is then either integrated or sent back with the assignment to the student. Set within wider discourses of an increased use of blended learning approaches catering for the needs of a new generation of digital learners, previous studies have highlighted how it has the potential to save academics’ time, particularly during periods of heavy marking loads, as well as being a medium preferred by students. However such studies have predominantly utilised a quantitative approach, with little research focused on the potential emotional impact of audio feedback, or indeed, how its use could affect student understanding of the feedback process. These, it is argued, are of crucial importance in understanding the impact of feedback, particularly when set in the wider national context, where NSS survey results consistently show lower satisfaction scores for assessment and feedback than for other aspects of students’ learning experience. This paper will report on the findings of both an extensive literature review and a small-scale pilot study, utilising interviews with first year Education Studies students, exploring their perceptions on the use of audio feedback, and its potential for facilitating an emotional and pastoral connection with marking tutors. The implications for first year undergraduates’ understanding of the process of feedback will also be explored, as well as how the use of audio feedback “fits” in first year undergraduates’ cultural and digital milieu. Finally, concepts of timeliness will also be discussed – both in the use of audio feedback to reduce marking turnaround times, as well as its pastoral potential, and whether students perceive its use may be effective at particular points within their degree course.

Dixon, S. (2014) 'Audio Feedback Revisited: A Pastoral Dimension?', paper presented to The 10th Annual Conference of the British Education Studies Association (BESA), 26–27 June, viewed 13 August 2020, <>