The Assignment Feedback Provision in Online Courses in a Tertiary Level English Language Program in China: A Case Study

Tang, Jinlan; Harrison, Colin; Fisher, Tony
June 2008
Hong Kong Journal of Applied Linguistics;Jun2008, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p45
Academic Journal
Case Study
In light of the importance of feedback in the learning process, the present article is aimed at exploring the types of feedback provided in online courses in a tertiary-level English language program in China, with specific attention to areas and mode of feedback provision, and students' use of tutor feedback on assignments. Two research methods were used to collect data to achieve data triangulation. One was guided-interviews with eight students talking about their experience with tutor feedback, and the other involved four tutors sharing their beliefs, approaches and practical strategies. All assignments and related feedback given by the four tutors were then collected and analyzed. Altogether 60 assignments were examined. The data revealed that tutor feedback was distributed across local vs. global and negative vs. positive dimensions. Further analysis of the data indicated that the majority of tutor feedback fell into the area of the learning product, with very little on the learning process. Moreover, the type of tutor feedback, feedback approaches, and feedback provision mode varied with the individual tutor, not with the nature of assignments. The research therefore suggests a need for introducing changes to the current tutor feedback practice, along with tutor training and more creative use of ICT in feedback provision. Specifically, tutors need to be trained in how to provide feedback effectively to the learners in e-learning EFL contexts. Following that, tutor feedback practice needs to be monitored on a regular basis to ensure that students obtain adequate and quality feedback on their learning.


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