Higher Education

Effective Feedback and Holistic Scoring for Building a Growth Mindset & Roundtable Session

See how research-based strategies for targeted feedback and holistic assessment can help students in any discipline develop a growth mindset and increase self-efficacy

About the Session

Developing a growth mindset and increasing self-efficacy can be achieved with targeted feedback and holistic assessment strategies. This session will explore a set of research-based principles and strategies found to have a large impact on growth mindset culture of students. Participants will leave the session with a set of principles, practical feedback strategies and holistic scoring methods that can be implemented across any discipline.

About the Presenter

Dr. Kim Chappell is an Assistant Professor at Fort Hays State University in the Advanced Education Programs Department of the College of Education. Dr. Chappell has been teaching more than 32 years including 18 years in higher education. Her experience and research interests include effective teaching, assessment, curriculum, and leadership in higher education. Dr. Chappell is the Program Coordinator of four Specialist in Education degrees offered virtually. She teaches capstone courses in research and the assessment, teaching, and curriculum courses in the Education Innovation and Leadership program. Dr. Chappell is also a co-editor for the Academic Leadership Journal in Student Research.


Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining us for Reaction.

I’m Heather Lund, and I’m looking forward to today’s presentation. Kim Chappell is joining us from Fort Hays State University for the session Effective Feedback and Holistic Scoring for Building a Growth Mindset.

Before we begin, we’d love for you to introduce yourself, share your thoughts, or share resources in the chat window.

Just make sure you change your message settings to Everyone to be able to share with the group.

If you have any questions for Kim, you can use the Q&A window.

And if you see a question that you’d like answered, click the thumbs-up button to upvote it. We will answer as many as we can following this presentation.

I’m so excited to hear what Kim’s going to share with us today. Please welcome Kim Chappell.

Hi, everyone. It’s great to see you–

or not you, but you’re all here, so that’s good stuff.

So today we’re going to talk about effective feedback, and I’m going to go through and give a quick screenshare here. Hopefully everyone is seeing that now.

All right. And we’ll get started.

So we’re talking about effective feedback, and how to use holistic scoring, and building growth mindset. So in our session today, we’re going to talk about those feedback principles that actually influence mindset and, by the way, also influence self-efficacy. And then we will talk about holistic-assessment opportunities because there’s lots of those within our coursework.

Today, you’re going to leave with a set of principles, some feedback strategies, and some holistic-scoring methods. So we will get started. Let’s first talk about growth mindset.

And we all know Dweck.

She did a lot of work with growth mindset, and we use this, and it’s grown in popularity it seems like.

It continues to grow in popularity. But it’s really that lifelong learning idea, only we’ve brought it down to talking about growth mindset versus a fixed mindset. And this really is the difference in students that we want to see.

So in building the growth-mindset culture, we have to realize that student approaches to learning via that growth mindset actually increases achievement. So that’s super important to know–

a good reason for us to do it. For success in the workplace, we need to assist students in developing that mindset, as well as the skills and knowledge that we’re trying to teach him in any particular course, program, degree and in developing that growth mindset and increasing their self-efficacy, their belief that they can do things. Then this can be achieved with targeted feedback and holistic-assessment strategies, which is why we are here.

A lot of this has come out of my particular research in higher education, both personally within my own programs but also, my own meta-analyses, if you will, and searching for just strategies that I could use as an instructor in my courses. So let’s talk about the primary principles. There’s three primary principles I want to go through with you today.

So first, we have to be intentional. Growth mindset does not develop if you are not very specific in terms of what you wish to grow within your coursework and being very intentional about it. So in determining the skills that you want to see in your students, you need to take a look at your coursework and decide.

Oftentimes, you get this information from scoring and grading students over a period of time. Generally, when I have a new course, I don’t notice those things until after I have scored the assessments within that course a couple of times. By the third time I’ve offered that course, I know exactly where students are not going and where I need them to go.

And so we need to identify those. We need to incorporate them in multiple places. Growth mindset does not happen in any one place, so it has to be across the board in a very holistic approach, if you will.

So we’re going to do things like multipurposing. So every activity I have students do, whether it’s part of a lecture or in my online coursework, it has multiple purposes. It will serve to get across information or allow students to practice information, but it also is designed to develop a number of skills, which we’ll talk about.

And the other thing that absolutely has to happen in order to develop that growth mindset is to connect students on a personal level. That’s absolutely critical. So we’ll talk about some of the ways of doing that as we continue.

Some examples of some of those types of multipurpose skills might be critical reading and thinking, being able to use information–

so information literacy; evidence-based decision making; identifying academic, scholarly, trustworthy sources. These are some of the skills that I intentionally develop within my coursework.

So let me show you a quick example of how I do this.

In one particular class–

this is in our Scholar Practitioner class. And the whole point of the class is to develop educators as practitioners and scholars because educators are practitioners, and they forget to be scholars sometimes. And so the point of that course is to develop critical reading, critical thinking, some basic research skills, and being able to use all of those skills and to communicate with others.

So here’s one of the discussion boards that they do in my course. I give them five articles to read, and then I tell them the world’s filled with opinions that are unsubstantiated. And in the world of education, this is not uncommon. There have been entire court cases based on things that were not in research.

And they need to discuss whether or not there’s any educational truth to the claims that are made in the articles, and they also have to explain their own suppositions and then talk to each other about it. And right there, I put the multipurposing box. This is what I am attempting to develop in this one particular activity–

information literacy, evaluating resources, critical reading, and then their communication skills.

So what happens is I ask them, do you have the attention span of a goldfish?

And so as you read the articles–

most tend to read top to bottom. And I organize them specifically this way. Now, I don’t have everyone that does that. Some people pick and choose which articles they want to read first.

But when they read top to bottom, the very first one is very inflammatory, and it talks about how everyone forgets things, and we have no attention span, and kids won’t sit still for more than five seconds. And so we all have this attention span of a goldfish, which someone has determined is eight seconds. OK, so as a researcher, my first thing is, how do they know a goldfish has an attention span at all, much less that it’s eight seconds?

So then as you continue through the articles, the articles bring in different opinions. One says, yes, this is true. One says, no, this is not true. And then as you go through and you get to the bottom, you find out where this information actually came from because, of course, they’re citing research, but they’re not citing research the way research was intended to be cited. So when you get down to it, where this information came from is actually from a study of web use and how long a person will stay on a web page so they know how long to run these very quick marketing ads.

And what does that have to do with children learning in the classroom or even adults learning in the classroom? And so as they go through, they start to figure out, OK, this business about eight seconds is debunked. I can sit longer than eight seconds. I have a three-year-old that can sit longer than eight seconds. It all depends on what they’re doing.

And so then they begin to use all of these important skills, like information literacy, evaluating those resources. And interestingly, this course gets cited many times throughout students’ programs. But in the final program review, this particular assignment tends to pop up at least two or three times every year that I pull the reflection data for how students reflect back on their programs. So this is not only a popular course, but this particular assignment actually means the world to them because what people discover is that they just click on a lot of things and do not necessarily think about the importance of that particular information and whether or not it’s really trustworthy. And right now, that’s a very important skill.

So let’s move on to our second principle. The second principle is we have to assess for growth. You will not build a growth mindset if this is not first and foremost.

Building a growth mindset has to translate into all areas of your class and your teaching, and that means assessment, as well. And so our assessment practices have to be focused on what we’re trying to grow.

It has to be planned ahead of time–

and so using that backward design, where we plan out the assessments first and then backward plan to the teaching activities to help students to be able to be assessed with those assessments. Incorporating reflection tasks are extremely important in being able to develop that growth mindset and then giving growth feedback, which is what we’re going to talk about here in just a few minutes.

So some examples of assessing for growth means that we allow resubmissions.

That’s difficult for some.

There are many–

and you might be some of those people–

that give a mid-term exam, multiple-choice, maybe a few essay questions, and a final exam in a 16-week course, for example.

You have now taken two snippets in time, and the student did not necessarily have opportunity to grow. And so those types of assessments are very difficult in terms of developing the growth mindset. They absolutely just do not.

And so we have to rethink how we do assessment. And are we assessing for growth? Resubmissions is one of those strategies.

Peer-review opportunities are great ways to develop a growth mindset through assessment using holistic scoring, which is what we’re going to talk about it a little bit later and then having tasks that build to a project–

so having components. And I might score those components and then have a final project that’s actually worth more. So those are a couple of strategies, but we will talk in depth a little bit more about those.

Let’s talk about that third principle. In developing growth mindset, we have to be intentional. We have to use growth-minded assessment, but we also have to think long-term. It’s kind of like that lifelong learning thing.

We have to think about it across the whole course. Growth should happen across a course, not across a week or one module. It should happen across the whole course so that the course grade absolutely represents a student’s performance on the entire course. And we’ll talk more about that, as well.

Developing skills progressively is how we think long-term. We can’t think about developing these skills and at one point or over a course of a couple of assignments. Growth is actually developed long-term.

And so we have to rethink in terms of how we do things. So we have to realize that the later posts, discussion boards, activities, assessments, whatever those things are should actually be weighted more at the end of a course than at the beginning of the course, because we’re thinking in the long-term.

So let’s talk feedback for a minute.

The goal of feedback is for learning and growth. Otherwise, why are we giving feedback? Feedback is not an evaluation, evaluations, where we say this is an A product, a B product, a C product. We are giving it a value, hence the word “evaluation.” And that tends to been a very hard, very fixed point in time, as well as a very fixed number.

Feedback, on the other hand–

the whole point of feedback is to help students learn and grow. Learning, after all, is actually growing from point A to point B. So no matter where our students are, whether they are low-performing students or high-performing students, when we receive them as instructors, our whole job is to move them from wherever they are to a point farther away.

So we are moving them from point A to point B. That, in fact, is success in learning.

So let’s talk about feedback. In research, we learn a number of things in feedback. So here are the primary things that you’re going to find in research.

We’ve learned that feedback should be expedient. We have to give feedback right away. Otherwise, it is not helpful in learning progress.

It has to be specific. And that even means positive feedback. So let’s say a student got an A on a project, whatever that is, and you say, oh, good job.

Well, that’s a positive, right? That’s feedback. Hey, you did a good job.

But the student has no idea what to replicate in the future. They have no idea what they did right except that they must have done everything right.

And in reality, likely, they didn’t do everything right because none of us do. And so it’s really important to be specific in our feedback, whether it’s for an A paper or a D paper.

We need to relate–

feedback has to relate directly to the expectation. Feedback on things that are outside of the outcome, the course outcome, or the specific learning outcome that you are assessing or teaching, is not helpful.

So for example, perhaps one of the things in your instructions was not to staple the paper together, just to turn it in as a paper without a staple in it, and you had a student staple the paper.

So then you give them detailed feedback on why they shouldn’t have stapled the paper when that was really not the point of the assignment. So we have to keep our feedback related directly to the expectation. Now, I know that was kind of a silly analogy, but that’s the idea is to keep it to the learning outcome.

Feedback has to have be a–

have a positive spin, and focus the student on how to improve. And we’re going to talk about strategies for that. One of the main reasons that we’ve learned in research goes into brain research, neuroscience of learning, that we find out that when we hear harsh things or we have negatives, the brain tends to secrete all of those chemicals, and the neurotransmitters, and we find out that the brain goes into a fight-or-flight state.

Well, when that happens, when a student is feeling threatened, then the student is not learning because the synapses are not able to work and function properly. So it’s extremely important that we give a positive spin. And there’s some very easy strategies for doing that, and we’ll talk about those, promise.

Always connect the learner to the learning.

That’s absolutely critical. Always respect the learner. Again, it also goes back to that feeling threatened and so forth, and so respecting the learners–

extremely important.

And the research also tells us that we have to suggest strategies that the student can employ the next time they do a similar task. So it it’s not–

feedback is not just whether or not they did something right or wrong. That feedback has to give them something tangible they can do in the future on a future assignment.

So let’s take that down and talk about six primary strategies.

And these are the strategies that I typically use within my classes. So number one–

we’re going to use growth-infused feedback. So here’s some examples.

When I get feedback, I say things like, try this. Try the strategy we used in class for highlighting key words in the paragraph and then organizing those. You might start by doing this.

Notice everything after the dot dot dot, however, needs to be specific to the task or the learning you’re trying to get students to do–

so let’s do this. Let’s have you start this assignment from the back side.

I do this often in my research classes because sometimes students cannot see research from the front side. Sometimes they need to go through research backward. And so sometimes, I say let’s do this. Instead of doing these two things, I want you to go and try this, and then resubmit that assignment.

Let me encourage you to consider. These are growth-infused feedback-type statements.

You want to give specific feedback that leads to the growth of the student. So for example–

and this is for, say, the student got an A. You wrote detailed reasons, for whatever it was I had requested they write reasons for.

You define it. And how that’s very specific. That’s not, you did a good job. I told them what they did right, what they did correctly, what they did well.

You define the topic. However, you needed to provide examples of. So that’s a case of they started out good and they did some good stuff. However, here’s where you kind of dropped the ball.

And so you’re able to do that. Notice that’s also a growth-infused feedback statement. You gave examples that accurately explained X.

“Best to avoid pronouns without reference”–

I must say this when at least 10 times a week on a student paper.

It’s best to avoid “this,” “they,” “it” especially.

And so we–

those are ways that we can tell people how to do things correctly and in a positive way. So those are two specific feedback strategies.

Third one is I encourage peer review, especially on low-stakes assessments. And so I set those up so that students have opportunity to get feedback on what they’re learning and how they’re learning it before they actually put an assignment together and turn it in.

Number 4 is to use growth skills in the rubric. So here’s an example rubric. One, I always use words. I don’t use a number scale–

so exemplary, proficient, emerging needs an intervention.

And using those words on most LMSes, you can put words in the grade book. And I actually use the words on many things, especially the low-stakes assessments, like discussion boards, or a group project, or a small task, not a large one.

And so I will put in “proficient,” or “developing,” or “emerging,” or whatever those things are. Then the student knows what performance level they’re on. They refer to the rubric. And this also works as a piece of feedback.

So for example, this is set up as a growth. So if you go from needs assessment on the far right, my philosophy is I want students reading left to right. So I want them reading the top things I want them to do, not so much the bottom things. So everyone has a different philosophy on that one.

But if you look at the needs intervention, they stated the topic broadly, but the subtopics were disconnected. In the conclusion, they simply restated the topic and the subtopics, which is how we teach high-school writers to write.

However, at the level I teach, that’s–

needs some more intervention. They need to learn to write better.

If you go over, each thing shows where it is growing in terms of what’s expected.

So an emerging student would have stated the topic, they included some subtopics that are similarly related, they restated the topic, and they had maybe a limited summary at the end of their paper.

At a proficient level, they’ve introduced the topic, and they gave enough details to provide context. And at the end, they’ve summarized the key points and provided closure.

On an exemplary level, they not only introduced the topic, but they provided background and pertinent details that gave context. Those pertinent details is really where that is differentiated.

Summarized the key points, provided closure to the writing, and indicated value of the topic–

and that would be an exemplary conclusion. So as you can see, the rubric is built so that at each level, a student knows how to grow.

All right, focusing only on the growth skills or those in the rubric scoring guide–

again, we talked about this a little bit earlier. Focus on what it is you’re wanting them to do–

if it’s explaining details or reasoning. And choose a limited number to actually put in the rubric.

So the main thing you want to get out of this strategy is don’t feed back everything. You will drive yourself nuts, as well as the student. You don’t need to feed back everything. The main things you were assessing in that assignment, whatever that is, that is the only thing you should be providing feedback for. And that will focus not only you but your students.

Feedback from the front–

I love this. I call it pre-feedback. It’s called teaching, really. So I provide feedback through the instructions.

So in the instructions, I might say something like, focus on this, this. Be sure to do this, this, and this. Those are the things that I tend to give feedback on when that assignment is given. So those are the things I tell people ahead of time. And I focus their attention, or I draw their attention to those things. So those are some effective feedback strategies in order to provide those.

Let’s shift gears into holistic scoring. Again, I can’t stress enough, often, people don’t understand how coarse grades actually function.

Some people–

they’ll give 10 quizzes in a course, two tests, two exams, and one paper. And then those are all fixed in time, and then I add those up, and I average them, and then this is the course grade.

The course grade–

consider this, please.

The course grade actually represents the highest level of performance the student obtained on the content.

So when you look at a transcript, that grade tells you where that student is on the content, not whether or not they forgot to do two assignments, not whether or not they failed the first quiz because their grandmother died, not because–

OK? You can fill in the blanks.

So with that mindset, let’s look at some holistic-scoring strategies. One, use those words. I can’t stress that enough. Using those–

now, we can’t do that on every assignment.

We have to have some kind of numbering system in order to put it on a grading scale and put it in the grade book. That’s understood. But whenever possible, use words to help people to understand what level of performance they’re on.

Score things over time. I do a lot of scoring over time. I score components. I have one course that’s called capstone.

And it is a–

is it is–

it is a project–

excuse me. And it starts from the time they walk in the door to the end of the 16-week semester. And that project is built over time.

Well, each of the components of that project are scored developing or proficient. I don’t score exemplary or less-than. So if they have not gotten that component to a level of proficiency, which, in my mind, is a B–

and students know that–

if they have not gotten there, they keep revising and resubmitting, and I give them feedback, and they revise again. And they can revise as many times as they need to until they get those components to proficient.

Once they’ve gotten those to the level of proficiency, they build their entire project together with all of the fancy formatting, and components, and such. And that’s the project that actually gets evaluated. But the student knows going into that project that they’re at least a B because they would have gotten everything proficient.

Allowing submissions is an absolute key. So if you do nothing else, or you don’t want to change your rubrics, you don’t want to change how you do your assignments, that’s OK.

If you do this one thing, you’re going to see growth in your students. You want students to know that they are allowed to get better, that you expect that they get better as they progress through your course.

And so allowing resubmissions of whatever that assignment is, that other course grade is, sends that signal. That being said, you will know that there will not be a ton of people taking you up on that offer. So a lot of people are like, I can’t rescore an assignment 15 times or 400 times if I have a very large class.

Well, of course not, but you will have a lower percentage. You have still sent the same signal that you expect growth, and this can go a long way in helping students to build their own mindset in terms of growing, that you expect them to grow. Then they begin to expect themselves to grow. So if you do nothing else, that would be the highest point of using a holistic-scoring method.

And then the last thing is to use those growth-oriented rubrics, like I gave the example of, ones that show the student how they would grow from the emerging to proficient to exemplary so that they know what is expected of them. And you’re expecting to see growth from one point to the other.

So I’m going to give a quick example. And I know we’re finishing up on the time here, but I do want to share a couple more things, so if you hang with me and then we should have a little bit of time still for your questions.

Assignment transformation–

I can’t share any better than to show my own transformation. So I used to give this particular discussion post, module 1–

what’s meant by the term “scholarship” and “rigor”? Well, for one, it’s low-level thinking because I’m asking, hey, what are these, and compare.

And so I tell them, explain this in a 150- to 200-word post, be sure to respond to two others, and here’s how I’m going to grade you–

5 points for your initial post, 3 points for posting to the others, and so forth. OK? You can see this is a very fixed assignment. And what I learned through the process of doing this way too many times is, I had to count posts, I had to count how many times people posted to others, I had to look at word counts, I had to check their citations, and it became a very large assignment when this was meant to be a very formative progressive–

this was supposed to get people talking in class.

And so then I began to think, this isn’t very growth minded. So I transformed this into an assignment like this–

explain how the concepts of scholarship and rigor apply to an education leader, which is what my students are and becoming. And so I–

one, I moved them into higher thinking because they have to explain how they go together.

And then two, I tell them to discuss their own experiences. Boom. I have connected them on a personal level. And then I tell them to be sure to respond to their classmates.

What I found is that when I gave this assignment, students were giving me more than 200 words.

They were citing. They were giving personal reflection. They were discussing with each other because then they had personal stake in it. And the discussion board blew up with this assignment.

In the syllabus, I tell them all discussions are graded holistically, from needs intervention to exemplary. Its progressive in nature. I’m trying to develop them as a thinker. They will progress through the course.

And their final level that they obtain in discussion boards is entered into the grade book. And the way I do this is I have one category in the grade book that says Discussions. And when a student comes in a course, they tend to be developing because I intend to develop them further. So most start out in the Developing category.

When they have reached that level of proficiency for the course, I change the word.

I just change it in the grade book. I don’t actually create an extra column. And when they’ve reached exemplary, I put that.

Most of my students in the course is at proficient or exemplary. And this is how it translated into the grade book. So in my syllabus I tell them that all assessment scores that are done by rubrics are done like this.

Notice I have 190, 80, 70. In most circles, that’s an A, B, C, and D, depending on your grading scale.

I have shifted my thinking on this from time to time, but it’s important to realize that 4, 3, 2, 1 means that a 4 is an A. Proficient is a 75, which is a C, or D, in some cases.

And then Developing and Needs Intervention are all failing grades. So using that method is not wise. So using an A, B, C, D-type model will help you, as well as your students, when you’re talking about using holistic scoring.

All right, folks, the benefits of doing this is you’re going to get growth-oriented students. If you’re giving feedback for growth, if you are grading holistically and grading for growth, then your students will be growth minded and less focused on their grades.

It will also increase their self-efficacy because as they go along, they figure out, wow, I can do this. I believe I can do this. My instructor expects I can do this because my instructor expects that I’m going to grow. And then students become self-responsible–

very important in the whole grand scheme of things. So I gave a whole lot of information. It took a little bit more time to do that, but, hopefully, you will have gained some very important strategies and points to put into your own learning.

And please feel free to contact me at Fort Wayne State University and also, if you have students that are researching and you want your students to have opportunity to publish, I’m also editor on the Academic Leadership Journal in Student Research. And so please have them submit, and you’re welcome to reach out via email that I provided here, as well. So thank you.

Thank you, Kim. I think we all learned a lot. We’ve got some great comments, as well.

JD mentioned that it’s a great use of mastery learning. I think this came up when you were talking about your rubrics and using words versus points value.

And then Laura also mentioned, a really interesting approach. Thank you.

We are opening up for our roundtable discussion. Please continue to share questions either in the chat or the Q&A portion.

Oh, yeah, great. Some more fantastic comments coming through–

awesome information. Excellent.

I do have a question, Kim. When you are having students do peer review, are you allowing them to complete a rubric for one another using the same rubric that you are using? Or is the rubric specific for you as the instructor?

Excellent question. Excellent question. So in the course I’m actually finishing right now, I use peer review in a number of ways. And there’s one particular assignment where I’m trying to get students to learn how to integrate and synthesize research. And that’s one of the hardest things for students to do.

So the first thing they are supposed to do after all of the learning sessions is to write a basic five-page essay using five sources on a topic, and they are supposed to report out the findings and put those together. Then they switch papers.

What I do in using peer review–

and what’s very important is students don’t know how to give feedback. They know, yes, no, good, bad, or I’d give it an A, and really, just truly have no idea how to do that. So I tell them exactly what I want them to search for.

And so when they do the first assignment, I will either give them a rubric, or, in this particular case, I give them set things to look for. So I have them look for grammar.

So in talking about research, grammar is important because if it’s already published research, it’s in the past tense. So oftentimes, people talk about it in the present tense when it’s not. It happened already because it’s published.

And so they look for verb tenses, they look for grammar, they look for clarity, or whatever. So I give them specific things to look for or APA formatting. That gets them every time. So they’ll look for one thing in specific. They give each other feedback. They get those.

The only thing they tell me is three things they learn by doing that process.

And they turn that into me. That, I agree very holistically. And most people are exemplary because they’re going to tell me their personal reflection that situation.

Then what I tell them is, OK, now add five more paragraphs to this, five to 10 more sources, and switch with a different person. So I group them up differently, and then I have them search for something different. And so in this particular case, I just give them tasks, things to search for, and they give people feedback on those.

Well, after having done the first feedback, they kind of get a better idea of how to give feedback. And they learn different things through the process. And then once they get their second set of feedback, they revise that assignment and then turn it in to me.

And what I have found through that process is I have better quality.

But I also found that they just learn so much by doing that with each other. And they also begin to glean ideas of themselves as a writer, where they are in that particular situation. So they–

I encourage them to look at the rubric for the assignment in giving feedback. But in that particular case, I just tell them specifically what to look for.

I would encourage giving–

in other classes, different assignments I give them for peer review, I have given them the actual rubric. But I would only give them say one criteria or two because for students, it’s too hard to look at the whole big picture. So I just give them one or two that I know are trouble areas for students to focus on in giving feedback–

so great question.

Well, thank you. We do have some questions coming in, as well. Karen Grace Baker has asked, how is your peer review received by adult students?

My peer review?

Just peer review for–

In general.

–from students to students, just in general.

Well, let me put context. My students are post-master’s. So they are working professionals.

They are–

the age range–


is great. I have some people older than myself in the class.

And I learned very early on in working with post-master’s students that feedback is very difficult for them.

They’re used to getting As. They’re used to, I got the correct answer.

But peer review, as a scholar and a practitioner, is the crux of everything. We do everything through peer review.

So in trying to get them there, they don’t receive it real well at first. And that’s why I use the course, the Scholar Practitioner course, and the discussion board as that first introduction for peer review.

And so once they begin to–

they usually come out of that course having a discussion with others that argue differently. They have a different opinion or a different–

oh, but in my experience.

And so most people are confident in that because it’s like, OK, they can be OK with somebody else having an experience and theirs is different. So they get that introduction to peer review. And then throughout the coursework within their program, they have–

each course is built with some level of peer review so that they get used to it right away.

And by focusing your students on exactly what you want them to give feedback on–

and I always train them, give feedback like you want feedback. So if you want negative feedback, you know, and they–

so they peer review each other.

Feedback from me–

what’s interesting–

I’ve had students tell me that they prepared more for discussion-board feedback with their peers than they did for my feedback.

They actually cared–

because the older students actually cared more about saving face with their peers than they cared about my feedback, which I found interesting. Some students–

it’s very difficult. That’s why I work very hard to use lots of, well, you might try this, let’s look at it this way, and here’s a good analogy to try, or–

and give them some very specific strategies.

So in order to–

I know this is going–

and I always encourage them–

this will revise quickly, here would be my strategy for revising this quickly, hey, start by–

and I give them some just very quick steps. And I also do a lot on email and within the boxes to encourage them, and to explain, and to help them to understand.

And generally, it takes them–

the Foundation Research course–

it takes some getting through that one with me to be a lot more accepting. And then when they get in that final capstone, then it doesn’t matter who teaches the course. They’re able to accept it.

It is built over time. And it is a growth thing for students to receive feedback. But they do. And using some of the strategies I shared here will help you to make that transition.

Thank you.

We have a few more questions that have come in.

JD Schramm–

he’s also a fellow Hays, Kansas, native. He asked, how many discussion posts do your students do in a semester?

Well, to give context, I teach fully online.

So they do discussions every week, generally speaking, depending on the course.

Most courses are set up–

most courses are in eight-week sessions. And I generally build them in two-week modules because I have found timing for adult students is very critical.

And they may not get to it this week, but if I do it over a two-week module and everything’s due by the end of that second week, then they jump in when they can. Most students tend to try to do it weekly so they don’t get behind.

But every week to two, they have at least one or two discussions per module. To add to that, I don’t always do them as a writing assignment. So my discussions–

sometimes I have them do it as a video.

Now, here’s a cool strategy–

super fun when I put this in place. I mean, you’ll just get some of the best things. They don’t all have to be in writing–

because most of my courses have a ton of writing.

I can see that they can write. What I want them to be able to do is to communicate, and that’s different.

And so some discussions are writing discussions. Some discussions–

I call them C2C, Colleague to Colleague, videos.

And they do a little short self-video. I tell them three to five minutes. Try not to go too long. And most of them stick to the three to five minutes, and they talk about or discuss whatever the topic is that I’ve given them to discuss.

And I share things like cool strategies for delivering a TED Talk. And so that’s kind of how it sort of framed around. And then they talk to each other back and forth about the videos.

And the discussions are just absolutely rich. And those little videos–

you know, I have–

I’ve seen people doing them outside in their sunshine on their patio and some people do it with their phone in their car because that’s when they had time to do it. And it doesn’t really matter.

But what they say on it gives them opportunity to communicate. Those are super fun. So discussion boards don’t have to be written. They can be–

and I have a rubric that goes with those, as well.

And then I also do reflections. Like when they do reflection discussions, I do those–

I ask them to give me a touchstone statement, a meme, a video, or a picture.

I don’t ask them for writing. Most people opt for the meme.

And the means they find to reflect on a module are hilarious. I can’t tell you how many times I laugh. That is a super fun way to do reflection.

What ends up happening, though, is they end up writing forever and a day. They write a ton because they want to explain the meme and what it meant to them, and–

which is great. It’s not what I request, but it’s amazing to see. And then they get into these great discussions just over the memes.

And that’s just another fun cool way to do it. It doesn’t always have to be, hey, answer this question or explain this or that.

There’s a lot of creative ways that you can do that, especially with a discussion board and technology–

so great question. Thanks.

Thank you. Laura’s asking, I teach composition and can have up to 160 students in a semester.


Any suggestions on how to allow resubmissions without becoming totally overwhelmed with grading?

That is a wonderful question, yes. Hopefully, you’ve got a graduate teaching assistant and you train them how to feedback, which I train all the graduate teaching assistants to do in my department is we teach them how to do that type of feedback. It is a difficult and can be a difficult thing, and so my suggestion would to be choosy about which assignments you allow.

So in courses where I’ve had heavy writing, I’ve used lots of those peer-review things to avoid having to have resubmissions. It’s almost like your feedbacking on the front side by allowing their peers. So you have the peers do those reviews before you see them.

There’s some other really cool things out there. For example, there’s a company called FeedbackFruits. FeedbackFruits has a number of feedback tools that are AI, and they are amazing. I have my students–

before they submit a lit review, they submit to FeedbackFruits, and they get feedback from the system on APA formatting, on all kinds of things. And that is another tool that you could use specifically to give feedback.

Allowing those resubmissions can be difficult, so it might be something that you would want to consider to only allow in certain cases so that you’re not overwhelmed because hundreds of papers–

how do you grade hundreds of papers now? And then to figure out how you’re going to grade hundreds of papers again–

I would be choosy would be my first advice but also, training others around, and then training students ahead of time.

So what I have done in cases where I have very large classes is when they did a resubmission–

they also had to submit to me a front-cover page to tell me what they did in that resubmission to meet the expectation. So that way, I would look at the front page to–

and then I would look at what I told them, original feedback. I always keep both copies.

And then I would look at the front page because the student telling you what they did will tell you whether or not they met the objectives of that assignment. And then you can skim and scan what they said a little bit faster. So by putting the onus on the student–

why are they resubmitting and what have they done to make this different–

would be the second strategy I have used with larger groups. Hopefully that helps.

well thank you. Laura’s the–

Sorry, no assistants.

Yeah, no assistants. And it looks like Jennifer had the same type of question, and she doesn’t have an assistant either.


She did say that most people that use this type of teaching don’t acknowledge the overwhelming feeling that can occur with resubmissions, and you’re the first person that has acknowledged it. So she’s thanking you.

Oh, yeah. It is overwhelming to do that, but you’re going to find it’s going to be a smaller percentage. And if you put a couple of strategies in place, A, if the student has to tell you why they’re resubmitting and they’re having to tell you what they did differently, that’s going to have a lot of students rethinking whether or not they want to redo it because there’s a lot of people that don’t want to redo it. But just knowing that they can redo it it is helpful sometimes. And so that will help you to set up that growth-mindset idea, putting into other things in place.

I think somebody asked about where I put video posts.

I use Google Currents most of the time. But most of the LMSs–

I know Yellowdig will do it. And then most of the LMSs have a feature now where you can add video posts.

But we use–

we are a Google site, business site. So Currents is still available, which is the discussion platform that they did away with. And that’s where I tend to do mine. A lot of my adjuncts use Yellowdig.

That’s their favorite one.

But there’s also a new one.

It’s called Packback.

And Packback actually gives the student feedback on their discussion.

And it has an AI feature, so that’s another way to go.

Excellent. Thank you. Yes, Canvas allows audio. Wonderful.

There, you. GoReact also does video posts and discussion. Yes.

Yes. We do group discussions, peer review, a lot of options that you’re using, as well.

There you go.


And those and those tools can be super helpful, especially in managing large groups of people. Feel free to reach out if I haven’t answered your question because I know we’re cut on time–

or short on time. But thank you very much.

Yes thank you. We have a few more minutes if anyone would like to ask another question.

I think you’ve given a lot of food for thought for people in thinking, oh, I can do this. I can do–

I can change my course, just modify it a little bit. Oh, Yes, Amanda, the recording will be available.


Yes, thank you. And please, feel free to reach out to my Fort Hays email address. I’m happy to share any resources that I happen to have or any things that I’ve learned along the way.


All right, well, Kim, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it. Anyone, again, you are welcome to reach out to Kim with any questions.

We do have another great session beginning on the half hour. If you’d like to join, we’d love for you to join. And thank you again, Kim.

Absolutely. Happy to share it. Thank you.

All right. Good-bye, all.


Thanks, JD.