Providing Student Feedback – Digital Tools

Student comments recorded in the Course Experience Survey (CES) often express that feedback is not timely, or specific enough to be useful and is often not oriented toward performance improvement. Feedback enables students to recognise their strengths and areas for development. Feedback must be:

  • Timely, specific and related to the learning and assessment
  • Constructive and meaningful information to students about their learning
  • Focused on the activity and correcting misunderstandings
  • A reinforcement of students’ strengths
  • Focused on improvement
  • An opportunity for self-assessment and reflection during the learning process
  • A source of information to inform future teaching and learning opportunities.

Feedback can occur at any point in the teaching, learning and assessment cycle. It may:

  • include regular teacher–student dialogue to guide student learning
  • focus on particular knowledge, understanding and skills related to content, and/or processes applied to an activity.

There are a variety of online tools that staff can use to provide students with feedback that is focused on helping them to improve performance and develop new knowledge.

Creation of a graded assignment triggers the creation of a corresponding column in your Gradebook.  You can provide feedback and comments on an assignment by clicking on the comment icon in the corner of a gradebook cell. Students can also respond to your comments. The comment appears on the dashboard, on the student's grades page and in the comment stream of the SpeedGrader display for the assignment.

Gradebook enables teaching staff to message students, regarding their performance on assignments, who:

  • Haven’t submitted yet
  • Haven’t been graded
  • Scored les than
  • Scored more than

Select the dropdown menu for the assignment you want to message students about. For detailed instructions have a look at the guide on Canvas  Community.

The Assignment SpeedGrader in Canvas enables you to view and grade student assignment submissions in one place using a simple point scale or complex rubric. Canvas accepts a variety of document formats and even URLs as assignment submissions. Some document assignments can be marked up for feedback directly within the submission. You can also provide feedback to your students with text or media comments. For more information on SpeedGrader is available on the Canvas Community. SpeedGrader enables you to provide feedback by:

  • annotating directly on student assignment submission
  • including general comments in either text, audio or video
  • grading using a rubric


  • Enable you to mark smarter
  • Are a grid in which you specify what the student needs to do in each aspect of the assignment in order to achieve a certain level.
  • Enable students to self asses
  • Enable teaching staff to give rich feedback by indicating students’ achievement by using the grid.

If you have added a rubric to an assignment, you can view the rubric in SpeedGrader. To use the rubric to calculate the grade be sure you have selected the "use this rubric" for assignment grading checkbox when you add the rubric to your assignment. Rubrics can also be used to evaluate an assignment or to provide free-form comments.

Turnitin’s grading tool ‘GradeMark’ enables you to overlay comprehensive feedback over the originality report.

Features of GradeMark include:

  • comments
  • inline comments
  • QuickMark comments
  • rubric scorecards
  • general comments
  • voice comments (3 mins)

A guide on using the feedback tools in Turnitin is available on their website.

Quizzes can be used for learning and knowledge reinforcement (formative) or as graded assessment tasks (summative):

Some of the benefits which quizzes provide include:

  • Allowing students to assess their current level of knowledge of the course content and to identify gaps in their understanding
  • Providing students with a indication (or even a sample) of the content of an upcoming test or exam
  • Providing students with immediate feedback on their responses including direction to content which they should study in more detail
  • Providing consistency of feedback

View the Quiz guides on the Canvas Community for more information on using this tool.

  • The quiz summary shows statistics for all sections including the quiz average score, high score, low score, standard deviation (how far the values are spread across the entire score range), and average time of quiz completion [1].
  • To view quiz statistics for a section, click the Section Filter drop-down menu [2]. To access additional survey results, generate a Student/Item Analysis report [3].
  • In the summary graph, the x-axis indicates the quiz scored percentages [4], and the y-axis indicates the number of students who received each percentage [5].

Source: Canvas Community Guide – Once I publish a quiz what kinds of statistics are available?

  • Quiz question shows the total percentage of students who answered the quiz question correctly [1].
  • Each question includes a breakdown with each question answer choice. Correct answer response(s) are shown in a green bar with a check mark [2]; incorrect responses are shown in a black bar [3]. Question types that do not have set answer choices, such as Fill-in-the-Blank questions, display entries other than the correct answer in a black striped bar [4]. The horizontal bars are scaled according to the answer response percentage [5].
  • Each response also displays the number of respondents who selected the answer [6]. To view the names of the students who selected an answer choice, click the [xrespondentslink.

Source: Canvas Community Guide – Once I publish a quiz what kinds of statistics are available?

Video feedback is more personalised and individualised than written feedback, it can also be easier to understand and act upon. Video has the potential to enhance learning in ways other mediums can’t.

You can use videos for weekly wrap ups to help students see what they should have learned during the week and how that material relates to what they should learn the next week.

Videos are also useful for summaries of course strengths and weaknesses after grading of assessments.

Using your webcam or mobile device you can easily create your own videos straight into Canvas. Where ever the rich content editor is available you can use the Record/Upload video tool to provide students with just in time comments and discussion about topics that need further explanation or clarification.

Google Forms can be used to determine student's understandings on the week's topic or particular concepts. As your students to tell you what was the most difficult topic or concept for them that week. You can then use your student's feedback to create them support materials for the most difficult concepts and upload to Canvas before your next lecture time, which you could set aside sometime for discussing before moving onto the next concept/topic. These targeted resources are used by students to get back on track and serve as important revision items for any upcoming assessments.

Sample Google Form – Muddiest Point (Created by Pauline Porcaro)

GoSoapBox is a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Student Response System where students use wi-fi enabled devices on campus to interact online with their lecturer and peers before, during or after a face-to-face class.

The tool promotes student engagement in an active learning approach. It can indicate their level of understanding through the confusion barometer; and lecturers can create quizzes and polls, discussion topics/questions.

All data can be exported by the lecturer for later analysis and response. GoSoapBox is compatible with a variety of mobile devices such as laptop computers, tablets and smartphones.

RMIT has a site licence for GoSoapBox – Staff use their RMIT username and password to access.

A comprehensive guide on using GoSoapBox is available on SISTER.



Turnitin has produced an infographic that outlines how students really feel about your feedback.