Giving Feedback on Student Writing | TTLL Season 1, Episode 4

Jul 19, 2022, 09:05 AM by Bob Dignan

About the guests

Lucas Anderson is a Specialist in Education at CITL. Check out his blog where he writes about developing a teaching philosophy statement and other teaching topics. 

Other resources 

Read more on these topics in these Writers Workshop articles: 

Episode Summary 

This episode delves into writing—specifically, how instructors can help students improve. 


Who better to weigh in than Carolyn Wisniewski, Director of the Writer’s Workshop, which supports members of the campus community in all stages of their writing through consultations, presentations, and writing groups, and Lucas Anderson, a CITL Specialist in Education, who trains instructors and runs the biannual Graduate Academy, which trains all incoming graduate teaching assistants. 


As host Bob Dignan points out, evaluating student writing and offering constructive criticism can be both time consuming and challenging. How can instructors do this effectively and efficiently? 


In this episode, Dignan and his guests touch on many aspects from students’ struggles and successes in their writing to effective evaluation strategies to the importance of offering constructive criticism to teaching the fundamentals while recognizing students’ linguistic diversity and respecting their backgrounds. 


Anderson shares a technique he learned from Wisniewski: Read through the entire paper, summarize comments at the end—including the best thing and something that needs improvement in the next draft—and if there’s time, make limited comments in the margin to address specific errors. 


“This notion of summarizing it at the end and really distilling the main message as kind of the primary thing I hope they look at has really helped me,” says Anderson, who uses the technique when helping graduate students craft their teaching philosophy statement. 


“In my field, we teach HOCs before LOCs,” adds Wisniewski, who wants instructors to focus on higher order concerns (e.g., do students understand the assignment and does the paper have structure) then move on to the lower order concerns (e.g., grammar and syntax) during the revision process.  


Tune into this episode to hear the full discussion, including Wisniewski’s comments on the importance of providing encouraging feedback—and which students are likely to receive negative or less feedback, according to studies—and best practices when evaluating non-native English speakers and writing for specific disciplines. 


Did you enjoy this episode, or do you have a story to share about your experience with academic writing or another teaching topic? Drop us a note at


This podcast was produced by the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning at the University of Illinois. Episodes can be found on our website,, and major podcast platforms. We hope you’ll find us there and join the conversation! 


Categories: Education, pedagogy, best practices 


Tags: Writing, academic paper, research paper, student writing, teaching philosophy statement, writing assessments, instructor feedback, higher order thinking, lower order thinking, Writers Workshop, Graduate Academy, MLA style, APA style, CMA style