It’s no secret that remote learning can effectively overcome the constraints of distance. Whether by convenience or necessity, it is a reality for many modern students.
However, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) engaged in remote learning will understandably seek a successful long-term strategy to close the “remote” distance gap, ensuring a strong, supportive connection with students. This can be best established through forging an engagement-focused feedback loop.
No matter the method of instruction, stakeholders will be aware that the student journey never stops. Whatever the stage a particular student is progressing through, from interest and enrolment, up to graduate and alumni status, HEIs need to establish a continuous connection with students, or risk the transition from one journey stage to the next being disrupted.
The institution that manages to overcome the ‘remoteness’ of remote learning, and forge an in-touch, ready, and mutually informative connection with students will be well-prepared for the years to come.
A well-managed feedback loop can facilitate a productive and enduring mutual relationship between students, instructors, and HEIs, but only if a commitment to continuous feedback is maintained. Here are six ways the downsides to remote learning can be negated.
- Pushing for better grade integration
Motivating students to review and engage with feedback is a challenge, especially in a remote learning scenario. However, successfully engaging students with feedback will often prompt them to take the time to provide their own well-thought-out, considered feedback. Integrating course grades and results amongst written feedback, rather than providing results in isolation from feedback text, can spur students into reciprocally providing detailed feedback. This helps form the feedback loop, with both instructor feedback and reciprocal student feedback (e.g., course evaluations, midterm reviews, etc.) flowing back and forth.
- Never miss an opportunity to communicate
Course coordinators and instructors can utilize tools for quick, snappy, engaging polls, quizzes, and just-for-fun trivia for brisk and on-going engagement. These give students a break from coursework, and a chance to re-set and re-apply themselves mentally. A tool like Bluepulse was designed specifically for real-time engagement, with ease-of-use and social functionality built-in. This allows for confidential two-way communication, also facilitating instructors in assisting at-risk students.
- Utilize digital tools to record prior expectations as regards grades
How much did you expect to score on this assignment? A shortfall or over-achievement can spark a re-examination, and an opening for discussion. This approach can also raise much-needed flags where instructional efforts need to be concentrated. This can be an effective tool in the on-going effort to improve student retention.
- Let feedback flow at the draft stage
Providing requested feedback at a draft stage for submitted work, where practical, can be an effective strategy. Students that seize this clear opportunity to work collaboratively in advance of their final submission will be rewarded with better guidance and output. This will allow students to engage in a close partnership with instructors and get the most from personalized feedback – all before final marking. This in turn works to stimulate students’ motivation to provide their own feedback.
- Empower productive discussion among students
Encourage productive discussion between students – a percentage of which may have never met in person or had a chance to partake in the traditional campus experience. The fostering of new ideas and interpretations via online tools, both verbal and text, can be a way of sparking new perspectives and better immerse students in a milieu of enriching ideas. Tools like Bluepulse are tailor-made to facilitate these quick but informative roundtable-style discussions, offering ongoing discussion and easy commenting on shared content.
- Encourage a communicative approach around deadlines
A major source of student stress originates from the pressures associated with submission dates. Managing submission dates can often be the number one issue for time-pressed students engaged in remote learning. By adopting an in-touch, consultative approach, instructors can keep a finger on the pulse of a group’s projected ability to reach a deadline and accurately reformulate both parties’ expectations.
The benefits of adopting these kinds of approaches are numerous, ranging from bridging the personal isolation that remote learning can sometimes involve, to ultimately improving the performance of students, and retention rates.
Course evaluations•Student Experience Management•Student feedback•Student voice•