Date of Award

8-1-2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Fadde, Peter

Abstract

Although feedback on writing is researched in the disciplinary context of teaching writing, little research investigates feedback on short-form essay writing. The field of instructional design is also lacking in research on feedback in the teaching of writing. However, research in the field of multimedia learning including the personalization principle (Mayer, 2001) would seem to support providing conversational audio as an alternative to providing written corrective feedback to students who are engaged in the writing process. Even though the field of Rhetoric and Composition and Instructional Design does not offer much research on feedback on short-form writing, the most substantial research base comes from the field of English as a Second Language (ESL). The purpose of this study was two-fold. Firstly, the study explored pre-medical students' perceptions, and achievement on the types of feedback received on their writing assignments. Secondly, the study examined the types of feedback an instructor is more likely to give in the different formats of traditional written versus audio screencast formats. The participants for this study included 1 instructor, who was a subject of analysis, and 31 pre-medical students at a Midwestern university. The study was categorized into three strands. Strand 1 utilized a survey design, Strand 2 utilized a repeated-measure design, and Strand 3 utilized a content analysis design to address the research questions. In Strand 1, the open-ended questions revealed that students liked the feedback via audio screencast as being more personal, but also found written corrective feedback more specific. In addition, a combined feedback approach was evident from the closed-ended questions. In Strand 2, data analysis revealed statistically significant increase in all the students' essay scores except for assignments 1 and 5, in which the traditional written format was utilized. In Strand 3, data analysis revealed that a significantly more direct and indirect corrective feedback comments were given by the instructor on essays when utilizing the traditional written feedback format compared to when feedback via audio screencast was used. Data analysis also revealed that the instructor had a substantially higher usage of rhetorical and social supportive feedback when providing feedback via audio screencast as opposed to the traditional written feedback format. The study contributes to the existing body of literature on audio feedback and written feedback on writing assignments in ESL, and serves as a foundation for writing teachers who are interested in writing in general and feedback on writing assignments. The study suggests that instructional designers can use the findings of this study to guide and inform their decisions about innovative approaches to providing feedback on students writing, which is a vehicle for critical thinking, and synthesis in many content areas.

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