My ‘work in progress’ thesis for my doctoral studies at University of Liverpool is entitled Faculty experiences of feedback technology: A critical realist perspective. I have had a personal interest in feedback technology for some time, and through a process of practice based research and reviews of the literature it became clear that the lecturer or faculty voice is under-represented. Often feedback technology appears to be evaluated in terms of the student benefit rather than the experience of staff engagement. While there is a lot going on in the sector about making digital forms of feedback systematic, I was keen to discover what happens when staff have choice about the technology employed in feedback:
My research is therefore asking
- What influences the choice and use of technologies for feedback?
- What are the reflective processes through which practices develop?
- What is the impact of faculty engagement with feedback technology?
Beyond answering these questions the research also seeks to shed light on beliefs about feedback and faculty relationships with technology for pedagogic practice.
So far I have undertaken ten narrative style interviews where staff engaged with a range of technologies (inc. Jing, GradeMark, Dragon, Pebblepad, Track Changes, audio) have shared their motivations for engagement, some of the barriers to practice, and some of their underpinning beliefs about both feedback and technology. They have shared the deliberative process about how technologies were chosen and they have shed light on the institutional factors which shape practice.
The critical realist approach to analysis (particularly using the work of Margaret Archer as a theoretical framework) is particularly revealing the compexity of interaction between individuals, institutions and the wider environment.
I will release parts of the research on this blog as they develop, but I am hoping to interview a few more individuals who are involved in using technology for feedback within UK HEI’s (and will offer a token voucher as a token of appreciation). If anyone can help I would be very pleased to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can provide more details.