SpeedGrader Feedback: Encouraging student engagement and prioritizing originality

Instructor Inquiry

Dear Online Learning Team,

I’m seeking advice on ways to strengthen our students’ interaction with feedback and their commitment to producing genuine work. Despite providing detailed feedback, I fear it may be disregarded or that students may not even know how to find it. Also, the possibility of AI-generated work concerns me. Your insights will help me to address these issues while encouraging students to value feedback and prioritize originality.

Warm regards,

Instructor E.V. Aluate

Online Learning Team’s Reply

Feedback is a critical component of the learning process, offering students valuable insights into their academic performance and areas for improvement. It is equally important to foster student originality and ensure that the use of GenAI (Generative Artificial Intelligence) technology when creating submissions is done ethically, following all stated course guidelines. It is a missed opportunity when students do not engage with feedback nor cultivate their own unique ideas. The students’ potential growth, as well as the instructors’ efforts are lost.

Directing Students to Feedback

First, do students know how to access the feedback provided? It is important to familiarize students with the feedback features each instructor utilizes in SpeedGrader while also highlighting the value of feedback. At the beginning of the term, post a video using screen-sharing that provides a demonstration of:

  • How to find and locate feedback in SpeedGrader starting from the home page of the course
  • The SpeedGrader feedback features used
  • Explain how feedback ties into the course grading criteria
  • The importance of reviewing feedback
  • How using and reflecting on feedback is tied to academic success

Instructors need to create the video only once, as they are encouraged to produce reusable content that can be utilized across multiple courses. Alternatively, if creating a video seems like too much of a chore, consider pointing students to this tutorial, How do I view annotation feedback comments from my instructor directly in my assignment submission?

Instructors are encouraged to remind students periodically to examine feedback provided on their assignments, emphasizing examples in announcements or during live sessions that pertain to most of the class. An example of this would be addressing the frequent mistake of students not alphabetizing their reference lists. Collectively addressing issues and reminding students to review comments on their submissions highlights feedback’s vital role in course dialogue.

Feedback in Course Design

For students to understand the value of reading and acting upon the suggestions and nudges provided to improve upon an artifact, opportunities for utilizing this feedback need to be built into the course design. If an assignment is submitted only for summative feedback at the end of the term and assessment focuses on the overall achievement of course learning objectives, students may not see a need to review the instructor feedback. Afterall, the assignment grade is final, why bother?

By designing a course in which portions or multiple drafts of a long-term summative assignment must be submitted periodically, instructors can provide specific, actionable insights that students can use and immediately apply. Remember that when providing formative feedback for assessments, only one or two previously identified problem areas need to be addressed. Then, at the end of the term when a summative evaluation of the artifact is completed, many of the potential problem areas will have been addressed, allowing for a more streamlined evaluative process.

Preventing Cheating While Encouraging Originality

The added benefit of providing continuous feedback on formative assessments throughout a term is that there may be a reduction in the overuse of GenAI, such as Copilot or ChatGPT. While these tools can aid in the writing process, they also pose risks for academic integrity. It is important to educate students on the ethical and acceptable use of AI (Artificial Intelligence), when applicable, while emphasizing the importance of originality and critical thinking.

Incorporating reflective practices and multiple draft submissions into the curriculum not only deepens a students’ understanding of the subject matter but also instills a habit of seeking external advice and iterative improvement. This approach mirrors the process of dissertation writing, where students are expected to refine their work through continuous feedback and self-assessment. Through this write-feedback-revise cycle, students learn that an initial draft is just a starting point, and it will undergo significant transformations based on feedback from others before it reaches its final version.


Instructors spend a lot of time, effort, and energy providing feedback to students. However, it is all for naught if students do not use it. To ensure the efficacy of feedback, it is crucial that students are clearly guided on where to locate and how to utilize the insights provided by their instructors. Ideally, feedback can be used to create a dialogue between students and instructors, further encouraging active engagement and understanding. By doing so, we help students to become more engaged, informed, and adept at applying feedback constructively.

For information about using SpeedGrader in Canvas to provide feedback, see the Online Learning Team’s article SpeedGrader in Canvas: Personalizing Feedback While Saving Time.