Alternatives to Traditional Feedback

  1. Record your Feedback in Audio or Video
    • Ask students to take notes on their own drafts as they listen (Edgington, 2020)
    • “Analysis of the literature revealed that students preferred this form of feedback over text-based feedback. Students perceived video-based feedback positively, seeing it as more detailed, clearer, and richer, noting that it improved higher-order thinking skills and prepared them for future work” (Bahula and Kay, 2020).
  2. Conference-based Feedback
    • Instead of written feedback, meet with your students individually for about 15-20 minutes each.
    • Encourage students to come to their conference with specific questions about their writing
    • Aim to have a conversation with your student about their writing and writing struggles, not just deliver a laundry-list of all that is wrong with their paper.
    • Have students keep notes for later use.
  3. Self-Assessment

    • Provide students with a rubric and writing vocabulary in addition to your writing assignment early in the semester.
    • Have students submit a self-assessment of their writing in which they propose a grade of their work.
  4. Dialogic and Two-Way Feedback
    • Before the due-date:
      • Consider including peer review opportunities in your course so students can talk to each other about their writing.
      • Invite students to ask questions (perhaps anonymously) about the assignment or writing. Respond to their queries in a Q&A document that is shared with the whole class.
    • With submissions:
      • Have students submit an informal reflection/letter alongside or with their writing
      • Or, have students conduct a self-assessment of their writing
      • Most students are harder on themselves than we are.
    • Following feedback/end of the semester
      • Invite (or require) students to attend a conference with you to discuss how to implement your feedback.
      • Have students reflect in writing on the feedback they have received and set new writing goals for themselves.
  5. Question-Based Feedback
    We tell writers to ‘get feedback’ … but we do not do a good job of teaching writers how to request feedback. (Baker et al, 2021 p. 387)
    • At the beginning of semester, guide students how to ask questions of writing using a sample writing.
    • Students submit questions with their writing.
    • Teacher limits their feedback only to those questions.
    • Students reflect on the effectiveness of their questions and the feedback their questions prompted.
More Tips and Resources


Further Reading/References

Bahula, T., & Kay, R. (2021). Exploring student perceptions of video-based feedback in higher education: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice, 21(4), 248-258. 

Edgington, A. (2020). Breaking the Cycle: Using Reflective Activities to Transform Teacher Response. Journal of Response to Writing, 6(1). 

Baker, S., Formo, D. M., Headley, C., & Springer, L. M. M. (2021). Transforming the Feedback Paradigm: A Qualitative Study Examining a Student- Centered, Question-Based Pedagogy in College Composition and Literature Courses. Teaching English in the Two Year College, 48(4), 387–412.



Elissa Jacobs and Paige Eggebrecht