The transition into Higher Education (HE) is challenging for many learners (Thomas 2012). Although feedback can play a critical role in fostering student motivation, confidence and success in the first year, as well as increasing retention (Tinto 2005, Nicol 2009), current feedback practices are not consistently supporting these aims, particularly in large cohorts. Irish students express dissatisfaction with the perceived deficiencies in the timeliness, scope, and usefulness of feedback (ISSE 2014, O'Regan et al. 2015) concerns that are mirrored by students elsewhere (James, Krause and Jennings 2010, Radloff and Coates 2010, HEFCE 2014, HEFCE 2015); while teaching staff point to the lack of student engagement with feedback (Price et al. 2010, O'Regan et al. 2015).
Contemporary thinking thus highlights the need for a reconceptualisation of feedback practices. Whereas feedback has traditionally been portrayed as a one-way, and often onceoff event, recent research proposes that feedback should instead be a dialogic process that empowers students to become self-regulating lifelong learners (Nicol 2010, Carless et al. 2011, Price et al. 2013).
Y1Feedback is a two-year (2015-2017) multi-institutional change project that seeks to leverage the potential for digital technologies to support such transformation in feedback practices
(Ferrell 2013). Informed by an analysis of current feedback practices across the partner institutions, as well a review of the literature, the project team identified a range of contemporary approaches to supporting dialogic feedback in the first year, including: Peer feedback; In class dialogue and feedback; Feedforward strategies; Separating grades and feedback; Provision of generic feedback; Anticipatory feedback; and Programmatic approaches. We are currently working with teaching staff across the participating institutions to pilot technology-supported solutions to enabling such approaches. Supporting technologies under exploration include: peer feedback tools; audio-visual technologies; e-portfolios; automated feedback technologies; in-class technologies such as clickers and text walls; and learning analytics. In line with the Design-Based Research (Amiel, Reeves 2008) approach informing the project, this interactive session will share the findings of the case studies thus far. We will also seek feedback on our approaches to collaborating with teaching staff in planning and implementing the feedback methods and technologies with first-year cohorts.