Resource Database: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Title Use of a Tape Recorder to Comment on Student Dissertation Drafts
Originator Alan Jenkins
Department Centre for Geography in Higher Education, Oxford Brookes University, OX3 0BP
Tel. +44 (0)1865 484611
Fax +44 (0)1865 484622

The aim of this innovation is to give constructive feedback on dissertation drafts, given the increasing number of students each member of staff must supervise. The dissertation is a central test of quality of the student and their degree classification.

Prior to this innovation students handed in draft chapters which then received written comments from their supervisor. Each student then met with their supervisor to discuss the comments; generally the students did not see the comments prior to the meeting. Students would frequently visit the supervisor at later periods for further discussion.

Following the innovation students now submit their draft chapter(s) and a blank cassette tape. Comments are taped by the supervisor, with only numbers on the text to help students locate specific comments. Students are required to listen to the tape prior to the next meeting with the supervisor.

There are considerable gains from this innovation and no losses. Taped comments are much quicker to record than written ones, and often convey far more expression. Also, students often have trouble reading supervisor's writing. Discussion time with students is used to maximum effect, as they are prepared in advance. Student feedback is very positive, and they have commented that they receive far better, fuller and more personal feedback than written comments. Some say it helps them to organise their time and a few have tape-recorded the tutorials so that they do not waste time writing piles of suggestions. Most students have easy access to a tape recorder.

Relevant reference:


Draft chapters
Tape recording

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