Students’ perceptions of the value of electronic feedback—Does disciplinary background really matter?
Feedback on student work is a key mechanism for improving learning in Higher Education (HE) and can be provided in a variety of forms. Recently, many institutions have moved to the provision of electronic feedback, although evidence for the effectiveness of this is mixed. While many studies evaluating the students’ perception of feedback are now available, there is little evidence of contrasting perceptions of its value according to different disciplines. This work aims to evaluate the relationship between students’ expectations and perception of feedback, especially electronic, and the disciplinary area of study in HE. Students (n=1017) across different courses from a post-1992 university in the UK were surveyed and categorized into five disciplinary clusters: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics; Business and Accounting; Art and Design; Media and Languages; and Psychology and Social Care. Perceived relevance as well as the most pertinent features and expectations of the quality of electronic feedback for students varies according to disciplinary cluster and thus closely aligns with a specific cluster’s learning and teaching practices. The findings of this study may help institutions to reflect on the role of electronic feedback as part of their ongoing assessment practice and how teaching in the different disciplines may result in different understandings of the value of electronic feedback.