An Exploration of Tutor Feedback on Essays and Development of a Feedback Guidance Tool

Anthea Wilson
The Open University, United Kingdom


The provision of appropriate feedback on assessed work to students in higher education haslong been a topic of concern, not least at The Open University, UK (OU). Although The OUhas a reputation for excellence in the assignment feedback provided to students (Gibbs, 2010), ongoing experience of OU academics is that students do not always appear to be respondingto, or even in some cases reading, the tutor feedback. As established by Hattie and Timperley(2007), an essential aspect of providing feedback is discovering how students have interpretedit. In the OU distance-learning context, students typically do not contact their tutors todiscuss the feedback on their assignments and frequently tutors are working somewhat in thedark with respect to how their feedback is received. This paper discusses some of thechallenges raised by this situation typically experienced within the OU distance-learningmodel and reports on an investigation of patterns of tutor feedback in the context of written assignments in a health and social care module.

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