STAK Activity

Synchronous Written Feedback

This activity will help students learn how to give and receive synchronous written feedback in a shared digital document.

Good feedback helps students to develop critical thinking but often feedback is time-consuming to create and not acted upon. With shared collaborative digital documents, educators and peers can provide online written feedback synchronously while presentations take place. In this way, students receive feedback from many individuals over a short period of time, which they can review and act on. In this activity, students practice giving and receiving feedback on presentations in a shared digital document.  


On completion of this activity, students will be able to:  

  • Give and receive synchronous feedback on presentations in open documents, where feedback is shared with the group. 
  • Review the quality of each other’s feedback. 
  • Give constructive feedback in an open way, working collaboratively to produce a range of inputs during a short presentation (e.g., 15 minutes).  


This activity takes students through the process of giving synchronous feedback as a group in a shared document so that feedback is collated and organised meaningfully for the recipient. 


  • Divide your students into small groups and assign the presentation topic. 
  • Have students prepare presentations or any other work on which feedback can be given during a class. 
  • Prepare a shared online document to record synchronous feedback during the activity. The document should have columns for everyone who will provide feedback. 


Step 1
Share the link to the feedback document (click here to download an example) with your students making sure that everyone can access and edit the document. Instruct each group to find their own row in the document and keep to it.
Step 2
Write the names of each group in the document in the top row for each presentation with the feedback groups beneath. As a teacher remember to give feedback yourself in the same shared document. It is often useful to share 'exemplary feedback' in the shared document to give students an idea of the type of feedback that is expected of them.
Step 3

  • During each presentation all feedback groups (and teachers) give feedback simultaneously while the presentation is taking place.
    • Let students know that, as this is written, synchronous feedback, it will include immediate thoughts, ideas, questions, critical reflections, and academic contributions as the presentation takes place and will therefore be a flow of thought rather than elaborate written feedback.
    • Remind students that the content of the feedback needs to be useful, academic, and constructive to support the future work of the presenter.
    • Remind the students that they should use their dedicated section and rows for writing their feedback and be careful not to delete the feedback of others.
Step 4
Between presentations talk to students about the feedback giving process. Discuss if the groups giving feedback need to adjust their feedback strategies, the length of their feedback or the input they give for the recipients to be able to reflect critically and work productively with the feedback after the session.
Step 5
At the end of the presentations, ask all students to read through the feedback document. Students can use the commenting function to ask questions, give helpful links, deliver additional insights, and point out academic strengths/weaknesses to provide a concluding summary. This can also be brought into a shared discussion in the end.
After the activity
  • Download the synchronous written feedback document, preferably as a PDF, so that it is not lost, deleted, or amended. Share this document with the group.
  • Ask students to reflect on the feedback given and how they can incorporate the learning into their academic work.
  • Lead a discussion on how the givers and receivers of feedback can work further with the content of the document.


  • Ensure students have appropriate IT access.  
  • Create a shared document for recording the feedback. Click here to download an example. You can create a template and use one document for each presenter. The document should be formatted as follows:
    Divide the document into at least three columns titled: 1. Name of the presenter(s), 2. Feedback from educator(s), 3. Feedback from students. Add 1 row in the table for each presentation where all feedback for the presentation is gathered but is divided between teacher feedback and student feedback (for several feedback groups, several columns can be made).

    At the top of the document, the framework for giving feedback needs to be described: expectations for feedback, the amount of feedback that is expected to be given (per student, group, or team), focus points or questions in relation to feedback etc.

    Prepare and provide examples of good academic feedback and explain how to write good feedback prior to the activity.  


Rikke Toft Nørgård, Center for Educational Development and Digital Media, Aarhus University, Denmark, together with educational developers. 

Watch Video


  • Educator prep: Moderate
  • Duration: Variable

This activity is one of a series of activities from the STAK Project, focused on developing students' digital skills. 

Find out more

More activities

Introduction to...

Developing Students’ Digital Skills


Sharing And Co-Creating References


Good Conduct In Online Education


Developing Online Professional Communities


Bibliography Tips and Tricks


Sort and Assess Your Search Results


Comment Effectively Together In Word


Mindmap Your Notes


Follow the Picture


Searching is a Journey of Discovery

Synchronous Written Feedback