As instructors, our mission is to guide students towards academic success within the classroom. Yet, what happens if a student missed a key concept of the assignment for the week? Do we automatically give them a low score, with an explanation on how it should have been done, or a brief description on what they should have learned from the assignment? In continuous assessment of the web-based environment, Kerka and Wonacott (2000) explained that the significance of instructional feedback could directly affect what students learn and how effectively they would do so (p.4).
Thus comes the opportunity for students to resubmit their work. Allowing students to make additions and re-submissions of the concepts in an assignment they had a hard time grasping, not only allows them to gain more points in the course, it allows them to gain the knowledge we were trying to convey in the first place. This helps the student, but also helps the retention rate of the school. Many of you may think, “But, this would make more work for me, both in grading assignments and posting more feedback and guiding material.” While it’s true that this strategy might make more work for you as an instructor, but isn’t that why we are here? To assure students are achieving their academic potential, to give them that little “push” to strive for excellence?
This level of attention and feedback is especially important online, where students need instructors who will motivate them, who will work just as hard as they do on their homework, therefore making sure they are obtaining the information needed to retain knowledge and pass the course. Sometimes students feel there is an invisible “online barrier,” otherwise known as Michael G. Moore’s theory of transactional distance, in which students cannot reach out to their instructor for help or with questions or concerns. Perhaps they believe we are all robots, and those emails they receive are just automated responses. We need to let our presence be known, whether it be through the quick dial of a telephone to explain the concepts over again, or sending the student a short video explaining things one step further.
With continual interaction and the development of a relationship with the student, we can learn what strategies help each individual student learn best, and therefore take that knowledge and apply it in how we teach. By taking our teaching methods one step further, we can enhance the students education. So when we read the student’s paper and realize, although we can see they tried, they did not truly understand the reading, we can then give additional instructional methods so they can resubmit and further their learning. This is why we are here: to engage, to guide, and to build a relationship with each and every student so they walk out of our courses thinking “I truly understood, most if not all, the information taught in that class.”
My own experience suggests that the extra teacher effort required in resubmission adds real value that students recognize. Here are their own words (used with permission):
The resubmit option has allowed me to go back and reexamine my original post and to rethink my previous answers. It has allowed me to learn more than I would have if I hadn’t been allowed to reexamine my answers. Thank you for allowing your students to learn from their mistakes and to grow from them.
I love the resubmit option! There have been a few times that I realized that I missed something after submitting. It definitely saved me from losing points quite a few times.
I personally thought that I learned more by being able to resubmit the assignment. I think that sometimes we may think we did what the professor was asking for, and then when it was not exactly what was called for, we are given the chance to improve upon it, therefore making us understand the assignment a lot more thoroughly!
Bethann Steiner Lince
I for one like the option of being able to resubmit assignments. When things don’t seem clear or there are things that are pointed out that we did not understand, it gives us the opportunity to correct it and rethink the questions or assignment in a different light.
Azalee La’Shay Clay
Sometimes our eyes get crossed and our minds get clouded with so much reading we tend to miss certain things. The resubmit opportunity is such a helpful tool.
I think the resubmit option is a wonderful opportunity. I turned in a journal entry early, and you (the instructor) gave me the opportunity to resubmit, and asked some questions I hadn’t considered. I still turned it in on time and I learned more from the assignment. Great learning experience.
I absolutely feel that being able to resubmit an assignment has positively affected my learning experience. It is important to remember that we are enrolled in this program to learn. Getting feedback is important in the learning process. I had the opportunity to resubmit 2 assignments and learned more each time. I hope this will be the norm in all my future courses.
Because I was given the opportunity to resubmit an assignment or two, both times in which I just didn’t understand what the assignment was asking, it made it possible for me to actually learn the material and not “wing it”….not to mention I was able to stay on high honors.
Kerka, S., Wonacott, M. E., & ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, C. H. (2000). Assessing Learners Online. Practitioner File.