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University of Wisconsin-Madison Among the First to Use Google Glass for Academic Feedback for Students

MADISON, WI — Wisconsin School of Business Finance Professor Michael Gofman is among the first university professors in the world to use Google Glass for academic feedback for students.

Gofman developed the idea in February 2014 after looking for a solution for a problem many educators face: how to improve feedback delivery to students.

“Instead of marking the paper and posting the solution, we can record personalized videos for each student,” explains Gofman, finance professor from the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “We’re not just showing their grade and what they did wrong, but how they can improve in the future. The technology was the perfect fit for the problem.”

After only one semester of using the technology, student evaluation scores that measure the quality of feedback in Gofman’s corporate finance course jumped to 4.69 (on a scale from one to five, five being the highest) — an increase of 38 percent from the year before and 22 percent higher than the average for all business courses at the same semester.

Gofman applied for the device through the Google Glass Explorer Program and had the teaching assistant for the course, Adam Spencer, use it, starting with the midterm exam. By using Google Glass, Spencer gave more nuanced and detailed feedback to students, touching on mistakes, what they did well, and how to build on what they’ve learned.

Spencer followed the same process with each assignment, exam or group project. First, he would grade the work, then turn on Google Glass and spend 30 seconds to nine minutes reviewing the assignment or exam and providing detailed feedback. Then Spencer would simply upload the video file from Google Glass to the course website so students could access their feedback video at their convenience.

“Using Google Glass to deliver feedback helps students understand the material better,” Gofman says. “What’s important to me is that my students understand the takeaways and develop strong skills that will allow them to succeed in the future, and this new feedback approach is improving the learning experience.”

Both Gofman and Spencer were impressed with the student response to the videos. University of Wisconsin-Madison Senior Gavin Hartzog, who is also on the Wisconsin Badgers hockey team, said the videos were a convenient way for him to get customized feedback on the go, whether he was at home or traveling for a game.

“I think the best way to learn through mistakes is by seeing someone explain it to you,” says Hartzog, who is a finance major at the Wisconsin School of Business. “I continued to replay Google Glass videos so I could identify my strengths and weaknesses to better prepare for the next exam. I think it helped tremendously.”

The use of Google Glass for academic feedback is one of the many ways the Wisconsin School of Business is leading the way in educational innovation.

“There’s a long tradition in higher education to give students homework, quizzes and exams, and many of our faculty have always wondered, ‘how do I make assessments a formative experience and not just validation for students?’” says Wisconsin School of Business Dean François Ortalo-Magné. “The technology offered us a great opportunity to use class assessments as a learning tool. We’re pleased to be part of the Google Explorer Program and excited to find new and innovative ways to enhance student learning.”

About the Wisconsin School of Business
The Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a world-renowned institution that prides itself on academic excellence, a commitment to ethics, and real-world experiences for its students. Established in 1900, the school was one of the first five business programs in the nation. Today, it proudly educates students from all walks of life with its nationally recognized undergraduate, MBA, Ph.D., and professional development programs. Web: www.bus.wisc.edu

Video available at: https://vimeo.com/106322996 (Password to acquire video: glass)

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