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Blended Learning Examples

Providing automatic feedback in large cohorts

Providing automatic feedback in large cohorts

See it in action:

  • BMAN10621 - Demonstration of finding your group

    BMAN10621 - Demonstration of finding your group

    A short captivate showing how to find your group in Blackboard.

The Manchester Business School uses Blackboard on a large first year undergraduate accounting module (around 1000 students) to deliver some of the learning activities for the module.

The site is structured in topics and each topic includes discussion fora, lecture slides, quizzes with instant feedback, and group project activities. Students can take the quizzes as many times as they like and they provide students with feedback tailored to their response. The group manager is used to deliver project activities related to each topic being studied. Students work in groups to complete various project activities, some of which are submitted via Blackboard (and feedback is given), others to be assessed in the end of semester exam.

Thinking about good practice in assessment and feedback, the course director wanted to deliver a form of assessment that would be formative, that would provide feedback, but also count towards their final mark so that the final exam would be less of a 'high stakes' assessment. Thus an multiple choice test was set up worth 25% of the final mark, while the final exam, held under standard exam conditions, was also delivered online - through Blackboard. Using automatic marking led to significant time savings.

There was no IT suite big enough for the whole class so the exam was held in several sittings. Students signed up to a time slot via the group manager on Blackboard; selective release was then used so the exam was only available to students at their chosen time. Students were given a question selected from each of 20 question sets so that each student gets an individual exam.

A large in-house question bank has been build up over the years for this module. Quizzes are made available throughout the duration of the course to provide automated formative feedback but also to familiarise students with the format of the quizzes.


  • Helps to provide feedback and some element of personalised learning to students on a large module.
  • Allows students to work at their own pace and also re-enforces topics introduced in the lectures.
  • Allows students to identify areas where they may need some additional work / help.
  • Helps to facilitate some peer group learning through the group project work.
  • Initial set up can be time consuming, but the ongoing time commitment is minimal and the benefits produced worthwhile.