Providing Effective Feedback

Instructor and peer feedback have a profound effect on the quality of student learning. When teaching online, it is important to foster both learner-instructor interaction and learner-learner interaction (Quality Matters, 2023). NC State offers numerous options to enhance feedback for the online learner.

How to Get Started

Step 1: Review learning objectives and assignments and decide which need more feedback from you, and which would benefit from peer review.

Step 2: Because a plethora of instructor- and peer-feedback mechanisms are available for online courses, explore different options to find the best fit for your content. Moodle provides multiple features that allow different types of feedback:

Instructor FeedbackPeer Feedback
ForumMoodle Workshop
Moodle Workshop 

Other tools to consider: Google Workspace and VoiceThread.

Step 3: Prep students for when they should expect feedback from you; also, communicate how important peer feedback is for your course. This should be mentioned in the syllabus and highlighted in the “Getting Started” section of the course.

Step 4: Create a screencast that illustrates how students are to go about finding grades and feedback in your course.

Best Practices

  • Show students an example of an assignment that became more thoughtful and polished as a result of peer and instructor feedback.
  • Although feedback from instructors and peers is highly useful for students, opportunities for self-quizzing are also important to help students track their learning progress (Quality Matters, 2023).
  • There are myriad options for student interaction through the Forum feature–see Discussion Forum Best Practices.
  • If an assignment is to be peer-reviewed, make it known up front before students begin working on it.
  • When providing feedback for written projects, students typically prefer rubrics with ratings and accompanying comments. Note what they did well and how they can improve next time (Smith, 2008).
  • Feedback comments that do not help improve learning include those that are too vague, lack guidance, focus on the negative, or are unrelated to assessment criteria (Weaver, 2006).


  • VoiceThread supports highly interactive peer and instructor feedback through audio, video, text, and “doodling” on an image or video.
Sunflower, 2016
(Sunflower, 2016)
  • Moodle’s Workshop activity supports peer assessment, and allows students to receive two grades: one for their own work, and another for assessing a peer’s work.
An example of the Moodle Workshop Activity with 5 columns titled Setup phase, Submission phase, Assessment phase, Grading evaluation phase, and Closed
(Moodle, 2023)
  • Google Workspace: Peers and instructors can provide feedback through the comment feature in Google Docs, or through an instructor-created Google Form that includes assignment criteria to guide students’ focus.
DuPont, 2015
(DuPont, 2015)