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Accessibility and emotionality of online assessment feedback: Using emoticons to enhance student perceptions of marker competence and warmth

Moffitt, RL, Padgett, C ORCID: 0000-0003-4398-4268 and Grieve, R ORCID: 0000-0002-5211-4179 2020 , 'Accessibility and emotionality of online assessment feedback: Using emoticons to enhance student perceptions of marker competence and warmth' , Computers and Education, vol. 143 , pp. 1-11 , doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2019.103654.

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Assessment feedback is one of the most powerful learning tools, and in higher education this feedback is increasingly being provided online. The current study investigated the inclusion of emoticons as a method through which to enhance student perceptions of the accessibility and emotionality of written online assessment feedback. Undergraduate students (N= 241) were presented with an online faux essay along with associated written feedback typical of the comments students would receive in the higher education context. The feedback was identical except for the inclusion of emoticons. Using a between-groups design, emoticons were manipulated in two ways: frequency (none, 1, 3, or 6) and valence (happy, sad, or confused). The use of happy emoticons produced significantly higher perceptions of marker warmth when compared to no emoticons, or when negatively valenced emoticons were included. Furthermore, marker competence was significantly higher when 3 happy face emoticons were presented in the feedback than when 3 sad or confused faces were included. Student perceptions of feedback quality and marker professionalism were not affected by emoticon use. Thus, the results suggest that instructors can use positively valenced emoticons to inject some fun, warmth, and emotionality in written online assessment feedback without sacrificing feedback quality or professional integrity.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Moffitt, RL and Padgett, C and Grieve, R
Keywords: computer-mediated communication, evaluation methodologies, pedagogical issues, post-secondary education, teaching/learning strategies
Journal or Publication Title: Computers and Education
Publisher: Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd
ISSN: 0360-1315
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.compedu.2019.103654
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 Elsevier Ltd.

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