Technology-enabled feedback in the first year: a synthesis of the literature

O'Regan, Lisa, Brown, Mark, Harding, Nuala, McDermott, Geraldine and Ryan, Seamus (2016) Technology-enabled feedback in the first year: a synthesis of the literature.


Improving student transition into Higher Education (HE) has been identified as a key priority for Irish Universities and Institutes of Technology (IoT) (DES 2011, Denny 2015, HEA 2015). Effective feedback can play a critical role in both supporting transitions and in improving retention, due to its potential in relation to fostering student motivation, confidence, and success in the first year (Tinto 2005, Poulos and Mahony 2008, Nicol 2009, Kift 2015). Numerous recent reports and publications have highlighted the potential affordances of technology in relation to supporting feedback practices (Nicol 2009, Jisc 2009, Gilbert, Whitelock and Gale 2011, Hepplestone et al. 2011, Ferrell 2014, Jones and Kelly 2014, Jisc 2015). With reference to the Republic of Ireland, the recent National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning publication Building Digital Capacity in Higher Education has highlighted that “technology can enable quicker, more customised, more diverse and more inclusive routes to connecting and interacting with students when it comes to giving feedback and conducting assessment” (NFETL 2014: 18). This publication synthesises contemporary thinking in relation to enhancing feedback practices in HE, with a particular emphasis on the affordances that technology may offer in supporting effective approaches in the context of the first year of study. The document is one of the outputs of the Supporting Transition: Enhancing Feedback in First Year Using Digital Technologies (Y1Feedback) project (

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