How NOT to Sound Canned: Keeping Feedback Fresh Using Typing Expanders

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Laurie Hansen, Faculty Developer at Center for Teaching and Learning.  It is a continuation of the March Innovations Lab Live Event on Typing Expanders. Thank you Laurie!]

As educators, we all know that feedback should be provided so that students may feel motivated, build on their strengths and understand how they can improve. And even though we personalize our feedback, it still seems like we say the same things over and over again.

Typing expanders can help reduce repetitive typing, free up some of our time (to read the IL Blog!) and help us feel, well, less robotic. Personally, my life has never been the same since I learned about Texter at Will’s IL Live Event last year. Ironically, if the programs Will demonstrated in the IL Live Session today (Autohotkey and Texter) are not used effectively, these robotic type-typing expanders can make our feedback sound “canned.” So how can we “keep it real”?

According to Focus on Effectiveness from the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory , the best approach is to “fine-tune how you provide feedback by focusing on the details of what you say, as well as when you say it.” Their research-backed tips include:

  1. Explain your thinking
  2. Help students see their errors and learn how to correct them
  3. Explain again
  4. Give students time

Personally when giving feedback, I always address each student by first name, highlight a specific strength and pull out a specific example of their work within my feedback in order to explain what I mean. I picked up another tip from Will, too. Always start with a “thank you for your efforts”-type statement.

It’s nice to be nice.

Keep it fresh. Keep it real.


2 responses to “How NOT to Sound Canned: Keeping Feedback Fresh Using Typing Expanders

  1. Karrie Higgins

    Thanks for the great article and links!

    If anyone out there is using a Mac (like me, although I recently ordered a PC for teaching – gasp!), you can download a text expander at this site:

    • Karrie!

      Just wanted to thank you for all the great comments over the past week or so. You add value the blog with your insights and your links! Thanks!


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