Using the OWL for Writing Online Discussion Feedback

word feedbackIf you are teaching online, you can use the OWL to provide feedback both in discussion forums and in student’s written work. For example, you are working with your students on integrating source material into their papers, and you have asked them to review the material available on the OWL in the “Drafting and Integrating” section of Research & Citations. As a follow-up, you might assign students a paraphrasing exercise. You can encourage students to evaluate each other’s attempts to paraphrase, and ask them in their feedback to each other to reference the advice provided by the OWL on paraphrasing. You might also participate in discussion and offer students suggestions by providing direct links to sections of the OWL. For example, one of your students has posted an attempted paraphrase but has added his or her own views on the subject. Here is what sample feedback might look like:

Jennifer, this is a good attempt to paraphrase, but I’ve noticed you’ve included your opinion on the subject. This is a common error, and I’m guessing many of your classmates might also make the same mistake. Remember, the OWL says: “Be careful not to add information or commentary that isn’t part of the original passage in the midst of your paraphrase.” Here’s a link to that section of the OWL where you can review some examples of effective paraphrasing: Paraphrasing.

Obviously, commenting on everyone’s posts can be time-consuming, so it might be a good idea to archive your most common feedback of this nature. There are several options for doing this (in an MS Word document or text file, for example, so you can easily copy/paste it into discussion as needed).

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