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The importance of feedback in successful CALL project design

The purpose of this presentation is to discuss the guidelines for giving good feedback to students on language courses. Giving feedback and guidance for learners is a challenging task. Students need to face complex learning processes when dealing with their individual learning paths. Both receiving feedback and providing it can be sometimes difficult. Most of the recent studies (e.g. Ferris, 2006; Bitchener, 2008) show that corrective feedback has positive and significant effects on second language acquisition. We will first deal with some theoretical aspects of giving feedback to students. We will then start with criteria for good feedback and discuss answers to the following questions:

1. What is the relationship between feedback and the learning process and which aspects should be taken into consideration when giving feedback to students?
2. How and when to give feedback?
3. How should feedback be provided so that it would be easily accessible to students and how it can be utilised?

Previously we made a couple of smaller case studies on giving feedback in our own blended learning courses. We have recently collected survey data from other blended learning language courses in two different universities, thus broadening our research data. We will show the results of our survey and present good practices for giving feedback to students who represent both elementary and advanced levels. Based on our questionnaire, we’ll summarize the students’ experiences of whether the given feedback and guidance have promoted their learning. We will also reflect on the question whether we should emphasize giving either direct corrective feedback or indirect corrective feedback or perhaps both to achieve the best results. Furthermore, we will present students´ ideas and comments on different feedback tools and how they would prefer to receive their feedback.

We will specifically illustrate our experiences of providing feedback using a software system called KungFu Writing. The system opens up new horizons when giving structured, collaborative feedback on various kinds and levels of written texts. KungFu Writing allows teachers to draw the feedback from a dynamic comment database for effortless commenting, using a flexible and easy-to-use commenting interface. The software also compiles the statistics of given feedback on the individual students or the whole group. Based on the statistics, the teacher can change or intensify the focus of the course to achieve better learning outcomes.


Pasi Puranen    
Language Centre
Aalto University

Pasi Puranen, MA, is a Lecturer in Spanish at the Aalto University Language Centre where he has developed and taught online and blended learning courses for Spanish Business Communication. His research interests focus on guidance and feedback in e-learning and Latin American sociolinguistics. He is also an author of several textbooks for teaching Spanish.

Berit Peltonen    
Language Centre
Aalto University

Berit Peltonen, MA, is a Lecturer in Swedish at the Aalto University Language Centre. Her teaching and research interests include the role of guidance and feedback in e-learning courses, the use of audio clips, student-produced digital videos and podcasts. She is an author of several Swedish Business Communication textbooks.

Lis Auvinen    
Language Centre
University of Helsinki

Lis Auvinen, MA, University Lecturer in Swedish at the University of Helsinki Language Centre, teaches LSP courses to students of Law and Social Sciences. Her pedagogical and research interests include personal relevance in language learning, workplace language needs, the applicability of new technologies and their integration into language teaching.


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