Publication Details

Weston-Green, K. & Wallace, M. (2016). A method of providing engaging formative feedback to large cohort first-year physiology and anatomy students. Advances in Physiology Education, 40 (3), 393-397.


A growing body of evidence demonstrates a critical role for effective, meaningful feedback to enhance student learning. Effective feedback can become part of the learning cycle that is not only a learning opportunity for the student but can also be used to inform the teacher and ongoing curriculum development. Feedback is considered particularly important during the first year of university and can even be viewed as a retention strategy that can help attenuate student performance anxieties and solidify perceptions of academic support. Unfortunately, the provision of individualized, timely feedback can be particularly challenging in first-year courses as they tend to be large and diverse cohort classes that pose challenges of time and logistics. Various forms of generic feedback can provide rapid and cost-effect feedback to large cohorts but may be of limited benefit to students other than signaling weaknesses in knowledge. The present study describes a method that was used to provide formative task-related feedback to a large cohort of first-year physiology and anatomy students. Based on student evaluations presented in this study, this method provided feedback in a manner that engaged students, uncovered underlying misconceptions, facilitated peer discussion, and provided opportunity for new instruction while allowing the lecturer to recognize common gaps in knowledge and inform ongoing curriculum development.



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