'Wordle soup - how to make feedback more nourishing'

Grant type: Hot Topic
Round: Hot Topic 2009/10
Amount awarded £50.00
Completed: July 2010
Leader(s): Miss Rebecca Bell
Organisation: Nottingham Trent University
Contact Email: rebecca.bell@ntu.ac.uk
Contact phone: 01773 713820


Encouraging students to engage with feedback can be difficult. Once they receive their grade they often quickly move on to their next assignment with little concept of development. Students often comment that feedback can be difficult to make use of, as it can seem very assignment specific. I believe we can challenge this problem by using the web tool ‘Wordle’ to help students make sense of their feedback. This approach would work by encouraging students to submit all of their module, term or even year’s feedback into Wordle (simple cut and paste). The output then consists of a visually appealing ‘word cloud’ with the most common words prominently displayed, helping students to identify their key writing issues.

Wordle could be used by tutors in sessions or as a homework exercise ready for discussion in class. By using the output in class, students could be advised on support for issues which may be prevalent such as ‘referencing’ and reminded about discounting common words from the word cloud such as ‘The’. In addition, using Wordle may enable students to perceive their course as a developmental process by making links between different pieces of work.

I am interested to hear what others think of using this approach to not only engage students with feedback, but also to encourage them to make links between pieces of work. To find out more about how Wordle works go to http://www.wordle.net . For ideas and resources to help your students develop their academic writing go to http://www.learnhigher.ac.uk.