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Miami University Regional Campuses

03/13/2020 | News release | Archived content

Giving Quality Instructor Feedback in Canvas

By: Jill Gomez & Gracia Ostendorf

Students report that instructor presence, especially in the form of meaningful feedback on performance, is extremely important. Research suggests instructor feedback is one of the most powerful instructional strategies for promoting academic achievement and student success. Luckily, Canvas has many built-in tools instructors may use to make feedback, and thus student success and satisfaction, better.

What does 'better' feedback look like? Here are 4 key qualities of meaningful feedback.

  1. TIMELY: Though feedback need not be immediate, it should be timely. It is preferable to leave feedback for an assignment before students move on to the next assignment, topic, or module. Set a reasonable deadline by which you will review and comment on student work.
  2. BALANCED: Consider feedback as a motivational tool for continued learning. 'Balanced' feedback strikes a balance between offering positive comments, reinforcing what was done well, with constructive comments, offering suggestions for improvement. Although, even constructive comments should be framed using encouraging and re-affirming messages. Think in terms of '...yet,' 'you can do this,' and 'I've seen you do this before.'
  3. ACTIONABLE: If a goal of teaching is for students to improve their competence and evaluation of a subject, feedback should be focused on offering concrete, detailed directions to meet that goal. Avoid generic statements like 'Lacks direction' or 'Great job!' Focus on leaving task-specific feedback in a neutral tone on areas that need improvement or reinforcing elements that were exceptionally completed.
  4. CONSISTENT: Feedback is effective when it is provided frequently, but not overwhelmingly, and is consistent in form and content. There's even a built-in Canvas tool to help you improve consistency. You can create clickable rubrics in Canvas assignments so that students are aware of your expectations. (Rubrics also increase efficiency with grading!)