RISE to the challenge of dialogic feedback

It seems that students want more feedback but studies show they don’t read it or don’t understand it (McConlogue 2014, 1496). But that might largely be down to the monologic, transmission model tutors use for giving feedback. If we want students to increase their uptake of feedback then we need to encourage them to proactively engage with the feedback. To achieve this then perhaps it is useful to start to see feedback as an “interactive and communicative process in service of learning” (Strijbos, J. W., & Sluijsmans 2010, 267) that is not an isolated incident along the way but something integrated into learning in an iterative and repeated manner.

Nichol (2010, 502) suggests that if students are to be thought of as “active agents“, who are equal participants in their learning then they should also be “active constructors“(Nichol 2010, 503) of feedback. Such a shift towards dialogic forms of feedback would see students engage in forms of interaction that might free them from a dependency on “tutor judgements” (McConlogue 2014, 1497) and help them develop the capability for turning their newly found skills in reviewing and feedingback to their own work.

The process of reviewing and commenting on formative writing through course blogs would seem to offer a useful space for developing just such a range of skills. There is though a fundamental need to scaffold peer feedback processes (Kollar & Fischer 2010, 347). Students need to be trained, to have the process modelled, they need practice. Tutors also need to be in a position to facilitate the development of positive and productive commenting and to understand that it is possible that the quality of the interaction with feedback is more important than the quality of the comments (Nichol 2010, 502). With this in mind I have started to devise a general model for application of some of these ideas. It starts with a workshop that introduces some principals and offers some suggestions about how to give good feedback. It goes onto include opportunities for face to face interaction between students post the review and commenting process.

Wray’s (2017) RISE model for structuring peer feedback is going to become an important tool for focusing the students reviews into constructive and valuable feedback. Coupled with a rubric for evaluating the quality of the feedback they give/receive based on Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy it may be possible to generate some interaction around the course blogs when we introduce them.

RISE model for peer feedback

Aligned as it is with Bloom’s taxonomy for higher order thinking the model aims develop feedback skills as positive communications that not only structure the process of review but give a model for reflection and the construction of new knowledge. I haven’t tried it yet but I am building it into plans for the coming academic year. It maybe that the terminology is too dense for some students and this is an issue that has been identified in the literature. As tutors we draw on a large repository of tacit knowledge that enables to easily unpack the meaning of complex jargon and we need to be aware that students don’t necessarily share that repository of knowledge with us. Nonetheless, the model looks inspirational and this reason enough to test its use as a means for structuring student peer feedback.


Kollar, I., & Fischer, F. (2010). Peer assessment as collaborative learning: A cognitive perspective. Learning and Instruction, 20(4), 344–348. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2009.08.005

Nicol, D. (2010). From monologue to dialogue: improving written feedback processes in mass higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35(5), 501-517. http://doi.org/:10.1080/02602931003786559

McConlogue, T. (2014). Making judgements: investigating the process of composing and receiving peer feedback. Studies in Higher Education, 5079(October), 1–12. http://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2013.868878

Strijbos, J. W., & Sluijsmans, D. (2010). Unravelling peer assessment: Methodological, functional, and conceptual developments. Learning and Instruction, 20(4), 265–269. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2009.08.002

Wray, E., (2017). RISE Model for structuring Student Peer Feedback. Retrieved from http://www.emilywray.com/rise-model/

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