OnTask is a tool that assists instructors to improve the academic experience of students through the delivery of timely, personalised and actionable student feedback throughout their participation in a course.
Instructors have the flexibility to customise the use of the tool to either, use it as prompts in advance of activities, or to provide feedback following assessments (formative or graded). The data that feeds into the tool is from Excel or CSV files.
Why use OnTask?
The personalised approach in sending messages as being a main ‘pro’ in using OnTask. Placing the name at the front of the message was perceived to be a more likely way to gain the attention of students, instead of more general ‘Hi All’ type announcements. Most course coordinators spoke about the ability to customise feedback for various situations and levels of performance. Being specific about exactly what action was recommended can be adjusted, to either address gaps and seek help, or extend learning further at the high end of a performance.
Helpful for targeting students who fall behind in all types of learning activities, whether graded for assessment or not. One of the course coordinators also spoke about the importance of providing constructive feedback for high performing students, which can be a systemically neglected area. Using OnTask to provide encouragement, constructive feedback and extensions for students doing well were considered to be a useful feature of OnTask.
Ease of use to communicate with students was another main pro in using OnTask. Any means to increase communication between lecturers, tutors and students were regarded to be useful, and OnTask was described as being an additional tool to encourage more student engagement and communication with lecturers. This was described to be increasingly needed, in the current context of diminishing attendance by students at face-to-face lectures on campus and courses with large class sizes.
The data that feeds into the tool is from an Excel or CSV file downloaded from the LMS (or other sources), thus making it accessible for instructors.