Conferences, SoLAR Southern Flare Conference

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Examining the use of in-situ audio annotations to provide feedback to students
Andrew Dekker, Kirsten Zimbardi, Phil Long, Peter Hay, Craig Engstrom, Andrea Bugarcic, Kay Colthorpe, Lesley Lluka, Prasad Chunduri, Justin Marrington, Peter Worthy

Last modified: 2012-11-21


Providing feedback on student submissions is an invaluable aspect of the learning process (Sadler, 1998) however, feedback is rated poorly by students nationally (CTQA Dashboard).  In higher education, weaknesses in the provision of effective feedback have included: the failure to provide adequate feedback in terms of volume and specificity (Higgins et al., 2002); students’ misunderstandings of feedback comments (Chanock, 2000), decontextualised statements (Higgins et al., 2002), and comments that have negatively influenced students’ self-efficacy and subsequent engagement in learning (Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick, 2006).  Audio annotations, where a dialogue is recorded by the marker for the student, has a number of potential advantages over other forms of feedback in providing more efficient and richer feedback (Weaver, 2007; Ribchester et al., 2008).  However most of the current audio feedback systems only allow for summary based audio, which is not situated within the specific content that is being discussed.  Providing ‘in situ’ audio feedback has the potential to contextualise this richer and more personalised feedback, and to pave the way for a reflective assessment dialogue grounded in students’ work (Carless, 2006).


In this presentation, we describe the development, implementation and preliminary evaluation of UQMarkup, which allows for the creation and playback of in situ audio annotations within student document submissions, as well as capture student interaction with the feedback for just-in-time learning analytics (Long, 2011).  Specifically, we will discuss three aspects of the project: 1) the design considerations of the system (including enabling students to play back audio in a platform independent approach), 2) the use of the system by markers in three trials for nearly 1000 students where in situ audio annotations were compared with other methods of annotation, and 3) evaluations of how markers and students interacted with the audio annotations available within the system.


Carless, D. (2006) Differing perceptions in the feedback process. Studies in Higher Education 31 (2): 219-233

Chanock, K. (2000) Comments on essays: do students understand what tutors write? Teaching in Higher Education, 5(1), 95-105.

CTQA Dashboard (2012) available via:

Hattie, J. & Timperley, H. (2007) The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research 77 (1): 81–112

Higgins, R., Hartley, P. and Skelton, A. (2002). The conscientious consumer: reconsidering the role of assessment feedback in student learning, Studies in Higher Education, 27(1), 53-64.

Long, P., & Siemens, G. (2011). Penetrating the Fog: Analytics in Learning and Education. Educause Review, 48(5), 31–40.

Nicol, D.J. and Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment self-regulated learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback practice, Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 199-218.

Sadler, D. R. (1998) Formative assessment: revisiting the territory, Assessment in Education, 5(1), 77-84.

Ribchester, C., France, D. and Wakefield, K. (2008). It was just like a personal tutorial’: Using podcasts to provide assessment feedback. In HE Academy Annual Conference 2008, Harrogate, 1-3 July, 2008. [Online]. Available from: [accessed 16 April, 2010].

Weaver, R.M. (2006) Do students value feedback? Student perceptions of tutors’ written responses. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 31 (3): 379-394