June DOLCE at UC Davis -- Academic Technology Services

The June 1 meeting of DOLCE features talks by Dana Ferris, John Zibell

Dear faculty colleagues,

The last DOLCE of the year, June 1st, featured two special guests. Dana Ferris, a professor in the University Writing program, shared helpful insights on providing writing feedback in both composition and non-composition courses. In her talk, she shared tips that are both practical and widely applicable. She also highlighted helpful aspects of SpeedGrader in Canvas in providing feedback. These aspects include the Rubric feature as well as students’ opportunity to respond to instructor comments which can facilitate dialogic feedback.

John Zibell, a veteran graduate student in Performance Studies, reflected on ways in which instructors can bring students into the classroom as innovative and improvisational collaborators. His talk taught everyone present important lessons about devising and students’ role in the classroom. And then he hypnotised everyone!

If you were unable to attend, please feel free to check out the audio and video recordings of the June 1st DOLCE.

DOLCE and Faculty Forums will resume in October. In the meantime, the Summer Institute for Teaching and Technology (SITT) will take place all day on September 14th (more details to follow). Please consider submitting a proposal to present a micro-talk (10-minute presentation) at SITT. We will be accepting proposals until Friday, June 15th.


Andy Jones



Dana Ferris: Technology should serve the principles of effective feedback. Think about the purposes for providing response as well as the purpose for the writing assignment. Key principles:

  1. Don’t try to comment on everything (prioritize)
  2. The instructor does not need to be the only feedback source (peer response and self-evaluation are powerful tools)
  3. Feedback needs to be clear, accessible, and specific to be useful to students
  4. Feedback should be humane, kind, and encouraging
  5. Where possible, feedback should be dialogic (a two-way street between responder and writer)


And with regard to the faculty discussion of error, consider these key ideas: “don’t penalize students for faulty use of grammar unless you’ve actually taught them some grammar, don’t line edit students’ writing, don’t make specific comments and corrections about grammar unless you’re confident in your own preparation for doing so, do insist that students make a good-faith effort in self-editing before submitting final papers.”

And for non-composition courses: provide “well-constructed assignments with clear expectations, opportunities for feedback from various sources, and student reflection/self-evaluation”

Those present also discussed the rubric tool and strategies for providing feedback in SpeedGrader (also the ability for students to respond provides an opportunity for dialogic feedback)

John: broad background in performance art: Think of your students as collaborators.


Post Author: Simon Dvorak

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