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Automated Feedback: early release in response to COVID-19

Ewoud de Kok
April 28, 2020

Automated Feedback: Early release in response to COVID-19

These times are challenging, but challenging times are a pressure cooker for innovation.

COVID-19 has pushed all learning online, a great achievement from an educational management perspective. 
Now, the next concern is about assessing and grading students online, which has proven to be a harder nut to crack. Among the different assessment methods comes the good old written assessment, a proven method popularly used for spring semester assessments. But it also comes with a cost, in the form of extra review efforts for teachers.

This has been the reason for Dotank Innovation Partners Erasmus University, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences and FeedbackFruits, to accelerate the development and release of a new tool called Automated Feedback on Writing. Our goal has been to help teachers save time and energy by automation of recurring review tasks. This is achieved by giving students real-time feedback on the quality of academic writing in their assignments with our new AI-powered tool. The tool reviews students' work based on criteria set by the teacher. Criteria range from straightforward checks, actionable inline feedback, suggestions, and compliments in relation to students' academic writing.
Some examples are:

  • Content checks: whether written work contains all required sections
  • Figures & Table checks: whether figures have captions and if they are being referred to in the text
  • Academic writing checks: whether abbreviations are properly introduced and whether verb tenses are consistently
  • Citation checks: Reference formatting
  • Layout checks: Layout of written work

As a result, students improve the quality of their work in terms of writing, resulting in more readable and easier assignments to review. Furthermore, students are able to improve their academic writing skills, based on direct inline feedback.

After positive pilot results, the team decided to start working on the productization of the tool when the COVID-19 outbreak resulted in campus closures. Therefore we are proud to announce that the Automated Feedback on Writing tool will be available in May 2020 for all FeedbackFruits Partners, following the Dotank principle.

Every teacher and instructional designer can test to see if it fits their use-case.

More resources about Automated Feedback are available:

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