Providing Individualized Feedback

November 27, 2023

One way to increase interaction between instructors and learners in online courses is to provide individualized, constructive feedback on assignments. When courses are taught asynchronously, it can be tempting to have automatically graded assessments. These are great for helping learners know where they stand in the course, but relying on such instruments alone can leave students feeling disconnected from the instructor and other learners. 

Why Give Feedback

Constructive feedback reframes how to point out students mistakes and helps them learn. It serves as a positive reinforcement technique and improves learner outcomes. It can also increase motivation and challenge students to work harder. When students see that their effort is paying off, it can help them develop a growth mindset.

General Feedback Principles

Make sure your feedback is serving a purpose. Feedback is best given by pointing out the positive results, followed by addressing mistakes. The feedback needs to be clear while encouraging the student to adjust or ask questions.  There are many different ways to provide constructive feedback. Determine which style is appropriate for each student or situation but always use positive reinforcement in some manner.

Different Forms of Feedback

Point out the problem; offer a solution. 

This is a very clear and direct method. When handling specific assignments or smaller tasks, it is easy to point out specific problems where students may have lost points or given an incorrect answer. After addressing the specific problem, offer a specific solution so students can correct themselves or learn for the future.

Example: “ Your writing style is good, but you lost points because you did not include a reference section. Next time make sure to cite your sources.”

Point out improvements; give direction. 

Pointing out where students have done well creates a positive tone and builds trust. Commending students on their current work and THEN pointing out areas to improve is a broad way that students can adapt. You might use this technique for general participation or broader assignments such as reports.

Example: “I can tell that you are a dedicated student and you are making significant progress in the class; to further improve your grade make sure you reach out for test help…”


“You have done a great job of improving your quiz grades throughout the semester, but make sure you are also completing the homework…” 

Provide a focus point. 

Another method is providing a  specific focus point for students. This allows students to break down their work and focus on one mistake at a time. Sometimes learners don’t know where to start when fixing their mistakes. This method breaks down aspects of performance by serving as a starting or check point. This could be used when critiquing essays or writing style.

Example: “Your essay is well constructed; you can improve your writing mechanics by focusing on your grammar and spelling.”

Providing feedback shows you are an active instructor, guiding your students through your learning objectives. Remember that in order to provide well-thought constructive feedback you need to be available. Be helpful when students do reach out by providing direction. Challenge your students when necessary, and encourage them to grow by asking questions. Show you are interested in their learning as an individual, especially in online courses.

Upcoming Events

Quick Hits- Finalizing Your Canvas Gradebook

Thursday, November 30th, 3:30-4:00 PM

Join us to learn about finalizing your Gradebook in Canvas. Our Learning Tech Specialist will answer all your grading questions, including extra credit, grade weights, and more. When registering, choose whether to have a specific topic covered, enter your question, or both.

Facilitated by Sr. Learning Tech Specialist, Gray Jackson.

Registration: Quick Hits: Finalizing Your Canvas Gradebook on November 30th .

Quality Matters Course Review

Wednesday, December 6th, 1:30-2:30 PM

This presentation will provide an overview of the Quality Matters online course review process and the available tools for online course quality assurance here at Clemson. Learn about the QM Rubric, how to apply it to your online courses, and how to schedule a full course review with Clemson Online. This workshop is open to all instructors, whether you have taught online before or not.

Facilitated by Jana Radley, Quality Matters Coordinator. 

Modality: Virtual and synchronous—an Outlook Calendar invite, with the Zoom link, will be sent.
Registration: Quality Matters Course Review

Next Semester Prep

Wednesday, December 20th, 1:30-2:30 PM

As we finish another Fall semester, do yourself a small favor before taking your well-deserved break. Join this training to meet with one of our Digital Learning Strategists as they walk you through next semester’s preparation steps you can take in Canvas. Select from a range of topics you would like covered and enter any specific questions you might have. This training will cover importing Canvas content and planning next semester’s courses with learning objectives in mind. 

Facilitated by James Butler, Digital Learning Strategist.

Modality: Virtual and synchronous—an Outlook Calendar invite, with the Zoom link, will be sent.
Registration: Workshop Wednesday: Next Semester Prep

Clemson Online Fall 2023 Events Calendar

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Review our Fall 2023 Events Calendar to see what Online Instruction Development opportunities await!

We have a robust lineup of topics and live training formats to support your use of Canvas and other e-learning tools. Topics cover demonstrations of using Kaltura, presentations on inclusive practices for online education, and workshops to get your Canvas site ready to teach!

All of our live training is recorded. Registrants will automatically receive a link to that day’s video after it has been processed.

Contact James Butler with any questions regarding these sessions. 

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