Feedback is an essential instrument in the student’s learning process and unfortunately often forgotten. Feedback is important for diminishing uncertainty. It is not enough to know if your performance is good or bad, it is not enough to know if your answers are right or wrong. You need to know why. And even more important, if your answers in class are wrong and you do not know because nobody is telling you, you carry on with incorrect understanding and knowledge and insufficient competencies.

Giving feedback creates an opportunity for learning which exists in no other activities. When you leave feedback undone, you steal potential learning from your students.

On this site, you will find descriptions of different types of feedback activities used at CBS. Read below about their individual practices and potentials, and reflect upon how they can be implemented in your course. If you need help describing feedback activities in your course, go to this guide.

Generic feedback means, that the student gets a standardized feedback that adresses the level of the performance. Generic feedback has to be created carefully in order to provide different types of learners with sufficient feedback. When generic feedback is developed, it can be re-used without further adjustments.

Specific feedback is given to individuals or groups. The specific feedback depends both upon the context and challenges.

Anonymous feedback has the advantage of providing students with negative feedback without the risk of losing face in the eyes of peers. It creates an opportunity to provide feedback on a single performance  to a particular student, without him/her feeling personally attacked.

Receiving negative feedback in public can be humiliating if it is directed to the performance of a single student. Therefore, it is recommended that feedback is provided by pointing out examples of insufficient argumentation and methodological problems that cut across the performance of the entire class.

Feedback from peers can be established in almost any kind of teaching organization. In a peer feedback activity the student learns from receiving feedback as well as providing feedback. Peer feedback must be formally organized to ensure that students provide each other with feedback relevant to the learning objectives of the task. It is important to underline, that peer feedback should not turn into a competition or result in a grade.

Providing students with feedback is an essential part of being a teacher. Due to teachers' academic competencies, feedback from teachers are often seen as having more validity and hereby more authority compared to feedback from peers. In situations where both feedback from teachers and peers occur, teachers often have a conclusive function.

Methods for feedback

Online Discussion Forum

An online discussion forum basically imitates a discussion in the classroom: A question is asked by the teacher, students answer the question or make comments and the teacher provides feedback. At the same time, though, the online discussion is another type of communication genre, which is characterized by being written, asynchronous and saved in the system as opposed to oral, spontaneous and passing/momentary discussions.

Before the forum opens, the teacher must prepare central questions and set up success criteria for the directions of the discussion. It is also relevant to decide on the duration of the discussion, participants (class or group), the required number of posts, wrap-up principles and to set up formal guidelines for the discussion to ensure that it is based on digital courtesy.

When the forum opens, the teacher is responsible for moderating the discussion, e.g. start the discussion, keep focus or reset focus, give feedback, set deadlines and wrap up.
The feedback can be given to the specific posts made by students as well as to the discussion as a whole by the end of the session. During the discussion, the teacher has the possibility to turn a valuable post made by a student into a new discussion issue. This is also a way of giving feedback.

A discussion forum is relatively simple to prepare, but e-moderation takes time. If you are running a discussion forum for a week, for example, you need to allocate sufficient time to moderate the forum each day to ensure a valuable online discussion with focus, drive and learning points. With feedback from the teacher, the discussion can grow in an organic, yet focused way.

The output of a discussion forum relies on how the teacher plans the activity and his/her way of moderating the discussion according to specific learning objectives.

Online Quiz

A quiz enables students to test their understanding of the course syllabus as presented for example in articles, textbooks, lectures or videos. When students take an online quiz, auto generated, generic feedback, developed by the teacher, is delivered to the student instantly.

The teacher must prepare questions, options for answering and feedback texts and implement it in the quiz module online. A quiz question may be simple and, for example, focus on repetition of theory or it may require more reflection and ask students to respond to a mini-case. When setting up the quiz, the teacher must decide on the quantity and character of the feedback. Also, the teacher must decide whether students are able to attempt the quiz one time or multiple times.

When students attempt the online quiz, feedback is delivered instantly as they answer to a question. The feedback text is written specifically to the answering option, which has been selected. It may go more thoroughly into the right answer and clarify why it is correct. It may also include a reference to the curriculum and, in this way, help students who did not answer correctly in improving their learning. If the question has more correct answers and a weighted score, the feedback may comment on the weighting. In addition, the teacher may add a general feedback text based on the student's overall quiz score.

It takes time to produce a full quiz with relevant questions, plausible options for answering and helpful feedback texts. On the other hand, once a quiz has been created, it may be recycled across courses. In addition, the teacher may spend some time studying the quiz data and, for example, look closer at the performance of the individual question. Were some of the questions harder than others to answer? On the basis of this data, the teacher can give additional tailored feedback in the next class session.

Online quizzing allows students to assess their individual knowledge and understanding. The feedback is delivered instantly and provides students with information about their current level of performance, their misconceptions and advice on how to focus their studies.

Online Peer Assessment

Online peer assessment is an online feedback activity allowing students to review each other's assignments based on evaluation criteria defined by their teacher. The feedback activity takes place at

The teacher creates an assignment and sets up an evaluation rubric. To address the standards of the students' evaluations, the rubric must be as clear and elaborated as possible.
Teachers are recommended to prepare for an in-class introduction to the activity. In this introduction, teachers may emphasize to the students the importance of their tone and manner when addressing their peers.

Students hand in their assignment by uploading it to the online platform. Students can hand in both individually and as a group. When the hand-in deadline closes, assignments are automatically distributed among students. After distribution, students anonymously evaluate and give feedback to the work of their peers. When the deadline for giving feedback has passed, the feedback is delivered to the students. Finally, each student gets the opportunity to review the feedback they have received. The teacher can follow each step of the process and is able to access any student's work, both assignments, feedback and reviews.

Once the assignment and rubric have been created online, the use of them are unlimited. Since peer grading is a student driven feedback activity, it has the potential of saving the teacher from spending too much time on individual assessments.

Online peer feedback gives large groups of students the opportunity to learn from each other. It allows them to increase their critical thinking skills, it encourages their self-reflection, and helps them acquire and retain new knowledge.


Polling is an in-class activity allowing students to respond to questions that appear in the teachers PowerPoint presentation and get instant feedback on their answers (formerly known as the use of clickers).

When preparing for a polling session in class, the teacher may spend some time deciding on which questions to ask. For example, questions can be theoretical. In this way, the teacher gets the opportunity to give feedback on conceptual misunderstandings among students. Another example could be a question which functions as an opener for a class discussion. In this way, the teacher gets the opportunity to give feedback on students' reasoning and arguments. When the questions are formulated, they are added to the slides in the teacher's PowerPoint presentation.

The question appears on the slide in the teacher's presentation. Students answer the question anonymously on any web-enabled device. When time is up, the results are visualized as bar charts on the slide. The teacher then gets the opportunity to either assess the results immediately or follow up on the reasoning behind students' answers by asking additional questions in plenary.

Once the teacher has decided on which questions to ask, he/she may spend some time setting the questions up in PowerPoint with the offered TurningPoint Cloud solution.

Polling encourages interaction, collaboration and communication. Instant feedback on students' performance and/or knowledge allows the teacher to understand and address the needs of students in real-time.

Feedback on written exams

The format is a shared classroom feedback session based on the themes that cut across the students' individual assignments.

The preparation of the examiner will be to systematize and categorize examples from the assessed assignments. Each theme taken up can be based on a couple of good and bad examples.

The class will show up just after the assignments have been assessed and the grades been given. There will be given no individual feedback or explanation on individual grades. The examiner (assessor) chooses examples from patterns and themes which occur in several assignments. The assessor describes and explains the academic quality of the examples taken up, and there will be room for questions from the students. The examples can fall under categories such as; definitions of concepts and theories, applied concepts, use of models, calculations, use and interpretations of quotes, argumentation, discussion and interpretation of results and conclusions.

Since students' assignments have already been assessed and graded by the examiner, all that is left to do for the teacher is to decide on relevant themes to underline and choose both good and bad examples from students' assignments within each theme.

The students will learn the differences between good, bad, right and wrong. It will be exemplified and demonstrated for them, and the students will benefit from explanations of why good assignments are good and bad assignments are bad.

Mandatory Midterm Seminar

A midterm seminar is a session where a group of students has the opportunity to discuss their work with other students. It is usually organized so that each presenting group is matched with an opponent group. The presenting group has to formulate a draft in correspondence with a set of requirements for the content. The opponent group has to formulate feedback in correspondence with a set of criteria, which is based on the learning objectives of the course in question.

The teacher must set up the criteria for the draft and the feedback. Before the seminar, the teacher must read the drafts from all the groups and prepare a concluding feedback to the groups.

The opponent group starts the process by presenting their feedback. After receiving the feedback, the presenting group is asked to open a discussion of some of the points from the opponent group. Finally, the teacher makes concluding remarks to the specific discussion. After all group presentations, the teacher may wrap up and conclude on the session.

The quality of the seminar highly depends on the engagement from the opponent groups. To make participation in the seminar mandatory for the students and to grade with pass/non-pass might create the needed engagement from the students.

Both the presenting group and the opponent group will benefit from the seminar. To give peers a constructive and precise feedback as well as receiving critique and use it for improvements is good training for developing academic skills.

feedback on written exams



Do you want to know more about peer instruction?

Watch the video clip below to learn more about Harvard Professor Eric Mazur's take on peer instruction.

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