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Stephen Foster

Research Student

My research focuses on automated immediate feedback systems which provide formative feedback to students before they submit an essay assignment for summative assessment. I am investigating the extent to which immediate automated feedback is useful to students and whether it can facilitate students to become self-regulated learners. My supervisors are Prof Denise Whitelock, Dr Simon Cross and Dr Karen Kear.

One feedback system I am conducting research with is OpenEssayist. OpenEssayist was developed through the EPSRC funded SAFeSEA (Supportive Automated Feedback for Short Essays) project, which was a collaboration between The Open University and Oxford University. It provides immediate formative feedback to help students draft essays. Text and graphic visualisations provide feedback on essay structure and content - the software does not provide a suggested mark. The rationale behind the development of OpenEssayist was to encourage students to use its immediate feedback to develop reflective practices which, through self-regulation, support essay writing and develop essay writing skills.

I am a full-time PhD student in the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University, where I am in receipt of a 1+3 OpenTEL studentship.

I completed the MRes element of my studentship in 2017. My dissertation was titled, ‘To what extent do the different styles of immediate formative feedback provided by OpenEssayist help students when drafting essays?’