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Feedback Techniques For Project Based Courses

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.608.1 - 9.608.30



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Paper Authors

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Stani Vlasseva

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Valentin Razmov

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1793

Feedback Techniques for Project-based Courses Valentin Razmov, Stani Vlasseva Department of Computer Science and Engineering University of Washington, Seattle { valentin, stani } @


Feedback is important for student learning, yet many instructors are rightly concerned about the time they spend giving feedback, especially if they cannot tell whether it is used or ignored by the students. Similarly, instructors can benefit from student feedback, yet to achieve this, effective mechanisms for collecting useful feedback are needed.

This paper sheds light on how to choose feedback mechanisms for a course. We base our analysis upon experiences with the many feedback techniques we use in an undergraduate software engineering course where students learn about team and project work.

Another contribution is the experience report on a variety of techniques we have tried where feedback came from different sources (the student’s own introspection, the instructors, peer students, domain experts, and project artifacts), in different forms (verbal, written, automatic indicators, etc.), and within different contexts (time, frequency, phrasing, etc.). For each technique, we discuss its goals and requirements, and analyze how students and instructors perceived its costs and benefits. We find that feedback that is grounded, unbiased, timely, frequent, and easy to assess tends to work better for students and educators, so we evaluate each covered technique against a set of such desirable qualities.

This type of information can be especially useful for educators planning new courses, as they try to produce low-cost, high-quality feedback that students will listen to and can understand, and as they need corresponding feedback mechanisms that support a variety of learning styles and are easy to use.

1. Introduction

Providing feedback to students is considered beneficial for their learning, and instructors spend much of their time doing that. What instructors often do not know is whether and to what extent students use their feedback, and whether their efforts foster learning.

The literature on the topic is not unanimous about how to maximize the effectiveness of giving feedback. Some authors suggest that instructors increase the number of course assignments to the point where students need to learn how to provide feedback to themselves18, while others advocate a more conservative approach of keeping the number of assignments low so that instructors could successfully handle them all15.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Vlasseva, S., & Razmov, V. (2004, June), Feedback Techniques For Project Based Courses Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12749

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