Formative Feedback to Improve Learning on a Teacher Education Degree using a Personal Learning Environment


  • Magnus Ross
  • Mary Welsh



This paper reports on an action research project involving a structured, formative assessment feedback process, within a personal learning environment (PLE), to address concerns about effectiveness of previous course delivery. The project ran during session 2006-07 involving the use of a series of tutor mediated self and peer assessed core tasks associated with five distinct learning milestones. These were associated with identifiable blocks of lectures delivered by different staff involved in the programme. The series of Core Tasks placed progressively increasing demands on students so helping them develop more sophisticated learning skills as the year progresses. The PLE is used as the medium for self/peer assessment processes and for tutor feedback and mediation.

Author Biography

Magnus Ross

Magnus Ross has a first degree in economics along with a teaching qualification and a Masters degree in Educational Management and Administration. He has taught in what is now the Faculty of Education at the University of Strathclyde for the last 26 years. His teaching over this time has included work on undergraduate degree courses as well as the full range of postgraduate courses leading to teaching qualifications for primary, secondary and further education sectors. He is a former Course Director of the course provision for the tertiary sector. He is heavily involved with a wide range of responsibilities across his own department, the Faculty of Education and more widely across the University. Teaching interests Magnus is currently involved in teaching on the1st, 2nd and 4th year programmes for the BEd degree as well as on educational studies programmes within the 1year Post Graduate Diploma in Education courses for both Primary and Secondary sectors. Magnus is the leader of the 1st year Education Studies programme in the BEd course and has recently completed a funded action research project as principal investigator in developing this course provision. The work has led to very significant improvements in student performance in this part of the 1st year experience. This has recently been reported at both national and international conferences with several additional dissemination events planned. Research interests The focus of Magnus’s recent research has been on the application of peer based formative assessment strategies and a blended learning approach utilising the proprietary ?Pebblepad’ platform as a Personal Learning Environment for student groups. This strategy has been based on current literature on constructive alignment of course content with formative assessment tasks and on the effectiveness of peer based approaches in increasing student engagement with course content. Magnus Ross is fully registered as a teacher with the General Teaching Council (Scotland). He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Magnus is a member of the Department Executive for the Department of Educational & Professional Studies. He is a member of the faculty’s innovative Student Support Adviser Team and also of the Faculty of Education Well-Being Group. He is a member of the Board of Studies for the Faculty of Education, and a member of the Faculty Appeals Panel. In addition he is an external assessor member of the Board of Studies of the Faculty of Engineering. Magnus is an elected member of Senate, serving on Senate Appeals, Senate Discipline, and on appointments panels. Magnus also serves as a member of the Chaplaincy Advisory Board and on its working sub groups. He has recently been elected by Senate to serve as a representative on University Court from August 2007.




How to Cite

Ross, M., & Welsh, M. (2007). Formative Feedback to Improve Learning on a Teacher Education Degree using a Personal Learning Environment. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET), 2(3).



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