Listening to students: A usability evaluation of instructor commentary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Many students see instructor commentary as not constructive but prescriptive directions that must be followed so that their grade, not necessarily their writing, can be improved. Research offering heuristics for improving such commentary is available for guidance, but the methods employed to comment on writing still have not changed significantly, primarily because we lack sufficient understanding of how students use feedback. Usability evaluation is ideally equipped for assessing how students use commentary and how instructors might adapt their comments to make them more usable. This article reports on usability testing of commentary provided to students in an introductory technical writing course.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-233
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Business and Technical Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Grading
  • Instructor commentary
  • Pedagogy
  • Usability
  • Writing feedback
  • Writing instruction


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