While studies have extolled the value of using online rubrics, the benefits have usually been presented in terms of enhancing marking or delivery of teacher feedback. These benefits are welcome, but they nonetheless couch digital as simply an improved way for “old paradigm” transmission approaches to feedback that do little to help students develop feedback literacy. This study therefore investigates whether the affordances of online rubrics might also enhance students’ metacognitive engagement with feedback. Five qualitative case studies followed students over 1-2 semesters as they submitted multiple pieces of work and received online feedback, including rubrics, via Turnitin Feedback Studio. Student perceptions were investigated through interviews and student-recorded screencasts in which students followed a think-aloud protocol as they engaged with their online feedback. The findings indicate that counter to our hopes for digital enhancement, the online rubrics in these cases tended to actually inhibit feedback literacy development. At the same time, participants’ online behaviours showed a range of useful strategies for making sense of and acting on online feedback, even when the online rubrics themselves are lacking. This is something that programme and assessment teams should draw on in order to maximise learners’ engagement with and learning from online rubric feedback.
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