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Pedagogy /
"Feedback" or "Comments"?

Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 4770

02 October 2013, 10:46


I know I've had a conversation with someone about this (probably Ralf), but I can't find the forum discussion :-( . So here it goes: Currently, we use "feedback" and "comments" in Mahara somewhat interchangeably, but the words can connotate different things. Feedback is more qualitative and learning oriented whereas comments can be anything.

For example: At the bottom of the page we use "Feedback", but you "Allow comments" on files and pages.

We'd like to get your opinion on what language you use with your users and whether we should unify things either towards "Feedback" or "Comments" or make the distinction between the two clearer.

Thank you



Aaron Wells's profile picture
Posts: 896

02 October 2013, 12:13

My two cents: "comments" is more self-documenting in the sense that everyone knows what comments are and how to use them on a website.

"Feedback", on the other hand, might be better for giving teachers an idea of how to use them for teaching purposes.

All in all, I lean towards "comments", because I think it enhances Mahara's usability more. Or maybe we could use a phrase, like "feedback comments" or "comments and feedback"?



Dirk Meyer's profile picture
Posts: 425

02 October 2013, 13:05

Long term, I see an advantage of having both choices.
I could see the existing feedback functionality morph into an evaluative tools with features such as rating (already exists, but could be enhanced), attaching rubrics (already exists), matching to some sort of scale or competency list as part of a certifcation pathways etc. I think feedback assumes some sort of task that was assigned to the learner and now it is being evaluated while a comment is more like something left in passing.

I like the simplicity and commonality of comments also and I think  it would improve usability and build on familiarity with other websites.

Sigi's profile picture
Posts: 102

11 October 2013, 10:56

As far as I understand, these two terms are completely different. We want students or users to showcase their achievements or document their learning or whatsoever but we as "teachers" accompany their learning process by giving them qualified feedback and by asking their peers to do the same. Qualified feedback needs to be learned and trained unlike a normal comment which anyone who feels like it can just leave without having to think of how qualified it needs to be. This is something like in facebook where we leave a comment on a posting. (I do not mean to say that Feedback cannot happen also in FB). Feedback is also needed to help and support learning and guide students through a writing process and for assessment it is absolutely crucial.

So I would leave both terms in Mahara.


Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 4770

15 October 2013, 17:01

Hello Sigi,

Thank you for your opinion. Where would you use feedback and where comments then? Currently, they are being used interchangeably.




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anonymous profile picture
Account deleted
Posts: 5

13 November 2015, 4:24

Hello everyone!

I’ve been looking for an answer relating to this but can’t seem to find it – hope you can help!

I have a teacher adding comments to Journals.  I can see that he has left a few comments on a number of students.  However, when he looks at pages Shared With Me, the comments do not appear and it seems only the feedback is displayed under “Last Comment” column.  However, he has actually left a number of comments.  His page appears similar to this.


Name                                                    Comment            Last Comment

Student A                                                            1                              well done!

Student B                                                            0                              0

Student C                                                            0                              0


Is it only Feedback (at the bottom of a page) and not Comments that appear in the list above?  And if so, why is the column titled “Last Comment” instead of “Last Feedback”?  I know Kristina’s post says comments and feedback are used interchangeably, but when the two appear to be treated differently, I thought it would be helpful to make use of the relevant term.

Also, if comments are counted, do you know why they aren’t being shown in the list above?  The journals are set to allow comments without moderation - do I just have a wrong setting somewhere?


...I'm confused...




Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 4770

13 November 2015, 5:50

Hello Ben,

To my knowledge only the number of feedback / comments that were left on the page are displayed on the "Shared with me" page and not the individual artefacts.

Comments and feedback are used very interchangeably in everything prior to Mahara 15.10. We settled on calling it "Comments" in Mahara 15.10 and most areas should have seen that change.




Aaron Wells's profile picture
Posts: 896

13 November 2015, 10:15

I just took a glance at the underlying code and can confirm, the "shared with me" screen's comment count is only comments directly on the view (or the views in a collection, in Mahara 15.10). It doesn't include comments on artefacts in the view.

That's an interesting idea, though. I suppose for pages that are mostly used to display a journal or journal entry, it's the comments on the journal that are often more important.

anonymous profile picture
Account deleted
Posts: 5

14 November 2015, 5:41

Hello both,

That's made things clear - thank you very much 


Ben :)

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