IT Teaching Resources

Providing student feedback in online courses

An article exploring how good online course feedback is one way to influence student learning

Article Research Promising practices

Title: Providing Feedback in Online Courses: What do Students Want? How do we do that?
Authors: Wanda Bonnel, Charlene Ludwig, and Janice Smith

Key points

  • Feedback is essential for the learning process; however, it may take more time to give in the online class setting
  • Teachers often shy away from giving feedback in online courses because it is time-consuming
  • Feedback is often overlooked as instructors are unsure if students will actually look at the comments or learn from feedback given

Feedback in online courses is an important concept to both faculty and students. The Nurse Educator Core Competencies (National League for Nursing, 2005) recognize the importance of faculty competence in providing timely, constructive, and thoughtful FB to learners. Particularly in a highly text-based online course environment, identifying best FB practices with students is critical. Limited pedagogical research exists to document specific teaching and learning approaches and their effectiveness in online nursing education.

What would this look like in a course?
  • Embed pedagogical structures into the course that incorporate instructor feedback.
  • Have students take 5 minutes to read feedback; then in small groups or breakout rooms, have them discuss 1-2 key takeaways.
  • Prioritize students who ask for feedback as it can be beneficial in how they experience learning and develop relationships with professors.

Bonnel, W., Ludwig, C., & Smith, J. (2008). Providing feedback in online courses: What do students want? How do we do that?. Annual review of nursing education6, 205.