Academic Writing Feedback: Using VoiceThread to Engage Online Students in the Feedback Loop

Concurrent Session 1

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Engaging students in the feedback loop may be challenging for faculty in the online environment. The use of VoiceThread is one method for delivering and assessing students’ interpretation of the feedback received. This session will equip attendees with best practice strategies to support students’ persistence and success in academic writing.


Meigan Robb, PhD, RN is the assistant director of nursing programs and MSN program coordinator at Chatham University located in Pittsburgh, PA. She has experience with teaching a variety of courses across baccalaureate, master, and doctoral levels. As a nurse educator her scholarly agenda focuses on curriculum design and evaluation, classroom management techniques, educational strategies, and professional role development. To date she has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and is an experienced speaker who routinely presents at local, state, and national peer-reviewed workshops and conferences.
Diane Hunker, PhD, MBA, RN is the Nursing Programs Director at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA, She also serves as the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program Coordinator and teaches primarily online, graduate students. Her research interests include online, nursing, graduate and international nursing education.
Lauren is the Manager of Instructional Technology for Chatham University in which her primary role is to work with faculty and students on integrating technology into teaching and learning. Lauren has experience teaching in a variety of environments including K-12, higher education, and online. She manages the Faculty Technology Fellows program at Chatham which supports faculty in their use of technology to enhance teaching, increase student engagement, and advance scholarship. Her main professional interests include pedagogy, technology, instructional design, media best practices, collaborative learning, and differentiated instruction.

Extended Abstract

Assessing undergraduate and graduate students’ academic writing performance is an important element in the learning process. Effective writing feedback supports students during the critical period of application of recently acquired knowledge, while equipping them with the skills needed to take responsibility for their own learning. In the online learning environment, feedback on academic writing performance is generally provided by annotating each student’s assignment individually. Students are then expected to review the feedback received, identify next steps, and make the necessary corrections. However, engaging students in the feedback loop may be challenging for faculty in the online environment. For example, students often experience a lack of a personal connection with faculty and peers that results in feelings of isolation. In addition, misinterpretation of the feedback received is common and leads to the student not identifying appropriate next steps. Motivation to persist and succeed is then decreased as students question where their academic writing performance stands in relationship with peers. The use of VoiceThread is one method for engaging students in the feedback loop. The use of this tool provides an opportunity for faculty to socialize with students, create a learning community, and increase motivation. This 30 minute educate and reflect session will equip attendees with best practice technology infused strategies to support online students’ persistence and success in academic writing. Through the use of narrative pedagogy, attendees will explore experiences with providing academic writing feedback in the online environment, challenge their own understanding of processes involved, and create a new understanding of how technology can be used to improve the experience for both the faculty and student. Case exemplars will be shared demonstrating how VoiceThread is used by faculty at a university in Western Pennsylvania to both deliver and assess online students’ interpretation of feedback received. Included in this discussion is an overview of how this approach can be adapted to use with other technologies. Attendees will be provided time to personally reflect and develop a plan for using technology to deliver and assess the interpretation of writing feedback in their own pedagogical practices. Lastly, faculty will engage in crucial open dialogue during a 10 minute question and answer period by responding to critical assessment polling questions. Time will be allotted before the session concludes for attendees to ask questions for clarification of information shared. Session Goals: By the end of this session attendees will be able to: 1. Identify personal barriers encountered when providing academic writing feedback in the online environment. 2. Describe best practice strategies for using technology to support online students’ persistence and success in academic writing. 3. Develop a plan to use technology to deliver and assess interpretation of academic writing feedback in own pedagogical practices.