Teacher Written vs. Audio Feedback on Undergraduates’ Written Assignments


  • Mohammed Abdullah Alharbi Majmaah University
  • Abdurrazzag Alghammas Qassim University




feedback, audio feedback, written feedback, peer review, L2 writing


Due to the importance of instructor’s feedback on students’ written assignment as part of formative assessment and the relatively new way of delivering audio feedback, this case study aimed to explore instructor’s audio vs. written feedback provided on 15 pairs of undergraduates’ written tasks through Google Docs over an academic semester in a Saudi public university. The data was collected from actual feedback comments in both modes and follow-up interviews with the students. The content analysis of feedback revealed that audio feedback differed from written feedback in terms of quantity and content. Despite the potential of audio feedback revealed through the content analysis, the majority of students (16) preferred written feedback over audio feedback for its clarity, easiness, easy access to feedback and its focus on a certain issue in the assignments, whereas 14 of them preferred audio feedback. Several challenges highlighted by the students, including its length and detailed instruction and the difficulty in accessing it served as good points for several pedagogical implications for instructors in this study.

Author Biographies

Mohammed Abdullah Alharbi, Majmaah University

Department of English, College of Education


Abdurrazzag Alghammas, Qassim University

Department of English Language and Translation, College of Arabic Language and Social Studies


Aljaafreh, A., & Lantolf, J. P. (1994). Negative feedback as regulation and second language learning in the zone of proximal development. The Modern Language Journal, 78(4), 465-483.

Cavanaugh, A. J., & Song, L. (2014). Audio feedback versus written feedback: Instructors’ and students’ perspectives. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 10, 122–137.

Dixon, S. (2015). The pastoral potential of audio feedback: A review of the literature. Pastoral care in Education, 33(2), 96-104.

Fawcett, H., & Oldfield, J. (2016). Investigating expectations and experiences of audio and written assignment feedback in first-year undergraduate students. Teaching in Higher Education, 21(1), 79-93.

Gould, J., & Day, P. (2013). Hearing you loud and clear: student perspectives of audio feedback in higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 38(5), 554-566.

Hennessy, C., & Forrester, G. (2014). Developing a framework for effective audio feedback: a case study. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 39(7), 777-789.

Hyland, F. (2010). Future directions in feedback on second language writing: Overview and research agenda. International Journal of English Studies, 10(2), 171-182.

Hyland, K., & Hyland, F. (2006). Feedback on second language students' writing. Language teaching, 39(2), 83-101.

Ice, P., Curtis, R., Phillips, P., & Wells, J. (2007). Using asynchronous audio feedback to enhance teaching presence and students' sense of community. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 11(2), 3-25.

Ice, P., Swan, K., Diaz, S., Kupczynski, L., & Swan-Dagen, A. (2010). An analysis of students' perceptions of the value and efficacy of instructors' auditory and text-based feedback modalities across multiple conceptual levels. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 43(1), 113-134.

Johnson, G. M., & Cooke, A. (2016). Self-regulation of learning and preference for written versus audio-recorded feedback by distance education students. Distance Education, 37(1), 107-120.

Lee, I. (2014). Revisiting teacher feedback in EFL writing from sociocultural perspectives. TESOL Quarterly, 48(1), 201-213.

Lunt, T., & Curran, J. (2010). ‘Are you listening please?’ The advantages of electronic audio feedback compared to written feedback. Assessment & evaluation in higher education, 35(7), 759-769.

Macgregor, G., Spiers, A., & Taylor, C. (2011). Exploratory evaluation of audio email technology in formative assessment feedback. Research in Learning Technology, 19(1), 39-59.

Nassaji, H., & Swain, M. (2000). A Vygotskian perspective on corrective feedback in L2: The effect of random versus negotiated help on the learning of English articles. Language awareness, 9(1), 34-51.

Nicol, D. J., & Macfarlane‐Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment and self‐regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in higher education, 31(2), 199-218.

Olesova, L., Richardson, J., Weasenforth, D., & Meloni, C. (2011). Using asynchronous instructional audio feedback in online environments: A mixed methods study. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 7(1), 30-42

Parkes, M., & Fletcher, P. (2017). A longitudinal, quantitative study of student attitudes towards audio feedback for assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 42(7), 1046-1053.

Rodway-Dyer, S., Knight, J., & Dunne, E. (2011). A case study on audio feedback with geography undergraduates. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 35(2), 217-231.

Still, B. (2006). Talking to students: Embedded voice commenting as a tool for critiquing student writing. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 20(4), 460-475.

Voelkel, S., & Mello, L. V. (2014). Audio Feedback–Better Feedback?. Bioscience Education, 22(1), 16-30.

Vygotsky, L. (1978). Interaction between learning and development. Readings on the development of children, 23(3), 34-41.