FD24 – Feedback in academia | Autumn 23

HSPED802 Optional module

Feedback sessions with students should inspire improvement, not resentment. They should be a dialogue, not a lecture. They should be specific and impersonal, not vague, and potentially offensive. Constructive and well-planned feedback routines can contribute to our students improving their research, their grades, and their well-being at HVL.

This optional module is part of HSPED802 Optional modules.

In this module we will discuss what feedback is and how it can achieve better results. We will define feedback and take a dive into positive and negative feedback. We will discuss some of the key elements to achieving useful feedback, some specific methods and some of the research surrounding this. We will consider some of the barriers and challenges to giving useful feedback. We will explore the importance of defining goals and understanding expectation in all feedback scenarios.

This will be a hands-on module, where we will also practice giving each other feedback. The main output will be a plan that you develop which describes how you will implement conscientious feedback in your supervising. This plan will engage students as partners in the process. The hope is that by the time they graduate, students will be able to take ownership over their own work and be able to identify their own strengths and weaknesses.

This module will be useful for all faculty who have a long-term working/research relationship with students at HVL. This will therefore be particularly relevant for all who supervise Master and Bachelor students in their dissertation and research projects. However, the module will also be useful for everyone who must give/receive feedback in their role at HVL.

A short video introduction to the module

Key Concepts

  • Feedback
  • Supervision
  • Active learning
  • Master thesis
  • Dialogue

Course instructors: Mathew Stiller-Reeve, Konsulent Stiller-Reeve and Ingjald Pilskog, HVL

Prerequisites: None

Organization of module

In-person gatherings/seminars, preparation/practice in-between.

Learning platform: Canvas

Place: HVL Bergen


Seminar 1: 17th October 1200-1500: BACKGROUND

What feedback can achieve
Positive + negative feedback
Importance of expectations and goals
Essential feedback skills
Methods of giving feedback

IN BETWEEN. Read someone else’s writing and draft some student expectations

Seminar 2: 31st October 0900-1200: PRACTICE and DEFINING

Receiving feedback
Defining expectations/goals (what makes a good student or thesis?)
Revisiting feedback methods

IN BETWEEN: Refine and polish your student expectations/goals and design feedback framework (with your group)

Seminar 3: 21st November 0900-1300: DESIGNING and REFINING

Presentation and discussion of the feedback frameworks:

  • time
  • place
  • goals/aims

This course is estimated at 20 hours of work. We will have 10 hours of seminars, which will include group discussions and feedback. We expect participants to use 1-2 hours reading background information and publications. Finally, we expect roughly 8-9 hours of planning time (including group work) where the participants will design a feedback framework that they will implement after the module is completed.

Learning outcomes

After completion of this module, the participants will be able to:


  • define positive and negative feedback and the situations each can be used in
  • understand the need for feedback and the barriers they can stand in the way


  • implement some essential feedback skills to get the most from all feedback sessions
  • use a variety of different feedback methods appropriate for different situations
  • develop a feedback plan to implement (and further develop) with one’s own student cohort.

General competence:

  • better communicate with students on issues of development and research
  • better adapt feedback to any situation both in and outside academia

Learning activities

This module has 3 in-person seminars. Before the first two seminars, the participants will be expected to read some background literature and find some of their own writing that can be used in a feedback exercise. Before the 3rd seminar, the participants will be expected to review the module contents and design their own feedback framework for their own supervision activities.


In addition to attendance, there are 2 main work requirements for this module, which are connected to the learning activities.

  1. Practical feedback session: (seminar 2) provide a short writing example and plan and give face-to-face feedback to other participants
  2. Development and presentation of a feedback framework for one’s own supervision activities.

Background literature

Boud, D., & Dawson, P. (2021). What feedback literate teachers do: an empirically-derived competency framework. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 1-14.

Carless, D., & Winstone, N. (2023). Teacher feedback literacy and its interplay with student feedback literacy. Teaching in Higher Education, 28(1), 150-163.

Docheff, Dennis M. (1990). "The feedback sandwich." Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance 61, no. 9, 17-18.

French, Judith C., Colleen Y. Colbert, Lily C. Pien, Elaine F. Dannefer, and Christine A. Taylor (2015). "Targeted feedback in the milestones era: utilization of the ask-tell-ask feedback model to promote reflection and self-assessment." Journal of Surgical Education 72, no. 6, e274-e279.

Hill, Jennifer, Ruth L. Healey, Harry West, and Chantal Déry (2021). "Pedagogic partnership in higher education: encountering emotion in learning and enhancing student wellbeing." Journal of Geography in Higher Education 45, no. 2, 167-185.
Jug, Rachel, Xiaoyin “Sara Jiang, and Sarah M. Bean (2019). "Giving and receiving effective feedback: A review article and how-to guide." Archives of pathology & laboratory medicine 143, no. 2, 244-250.

Matthews, K. E., Sherwood, C., Enright, E., & Cook-Sather, A. (2023). What do students and teachers talk about when they talk together about feedback and assessment? Expanding notions of feedback literacy through pedagogical partnership. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 1-13.

Molloy, E., Boud, D., & Henderson, M. (2020). Developing a learning-centred framework for feedback literacy. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 45(4), 527-540.

Nieminen, J. H., & Carless, D. (2022). Feedback literacy: A critical review of an emerging concept. Higher Education, 1-20.

Steen-Utheim, A., & Wittek, A. L. (2017). Dialogic feedback and potentialities for student learning. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, 15, 18-30.