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16 December 2021

Providing personalised feedback with artificial intelligence – FeedbackFruits pilot

Deakin University has partnered with FeedbackFruits to further develop their Automated Feedback tool, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to provide students with feedback on academic writing. Dr Adam Cardilini, Lecturer from the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, was among the academics piloting the current AI tool in 2021. He trialled this tool in Science and Society, a second-year undergraduate unit that brings together around 250 students to explore the interplay between scientific knowledge and societal issues.

The aim of the tool is to provide immediate personalised feedback on low level features of academic writing such as grammar, referencing and structure. This allows teaching staff to focus on providing feedback on the more complex aspects of academic writing.

Adam explains that while he aims to provide detailed, real-time, and actionable feedback on each students’ written assignment, in practice larger student cohorts make this aim impossible, resulting in a lack of personalised guidance. Wondering whether at least a partial solution was possible, he decided to use the AI-powered automated feedback tool to enable him to then give more personalised feedback on students’ written work.

‘Ultimately I’d like to provide detailed feedback for every single assignment but that’s unrealistic. Automated Feedback did something I couldn’t provide for students,’ Adam explains.

Despite not being mandatory for students, many used the tool to check their writing with some using it several times. This suggests that students perceived value in the generation and implementation of this type of feedback. Adam also noted that the tool is more accessible than similar writing-check tools such as Grammarly, pointing to the consistency of grading and the assignment-marking process, as well as heightened visibility on student activity. In the future, he would like to make the use of this tool an explicit part of the assignment process. Students have been invited to share their received feedback and how it was used to make improvements.

Adam’s story was also shared on FeedbackFruits Use Cases, as an example for other educators on how to generate individualised feedback on writing in larger student cohorts.

The Automated Feedback tool is currently being piloted in the Faculty of SEBE and they are seeking more teaching teams to collaborate. If you would like to trial AI automated feedback in your unit please email Laura Tubino, Lecturer Curriculum Design.

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