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Magis Podcast Episode 5

Students in Barbara Irwin, PhD and Jamie O’Neil’s communication classes are teaming up this semester to create episodes of “The Magis Podcast,” featuring student-faculty dialogues at Canisius College.

In this week’s episode, student Carrie Rizzuto (DMA ‘21) and Associate Professor of History Julie Gibert, PhD, discusses the history of food and how the past has influenced the present. Students involved in the production are Bailey Blair (COM & DMA ‘21), Shania Clarke (COM & DMA ‘22), Carrie Rizzuto, Alex Rozbicki (DMA ‘24), and Gabrielle Guzinski (DMA & IMC ‘23).

The podcast is NOW AVAILABLE to listen to on Spotify!

Watch the Trailer:

Listen to the Podcast:

Submitted by: Katie McMahon, graduate assistant, Communication Studies Department


Fundraising for Afghan Families


Canisius students taking the Identity and Power (HON 236) class are leading a Venmo fundraiser to purchase coats for the Afghan refugees who will stay in the Delavan Townhouse complex at Canisius.

Our students are in the process of creating a warm welcoming atmosphere for our guests who were forced to leave their homes due to unfortunate conditions in their country. Lightly-used coats are also accepted forms of donation. Please contact Hawa Saleh (

Campus Ministry is also accepting checks for this project.  Please see the attached flyer for QR codes for the Venmo account and a video created by the group.
Anything helps!

This effort is a part of the social action projects for HON 236: Identity and Power.

Submitted by: Secil Ertorer, associate professor, Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice and Environmental Studies

Better Feedback on Student Work

A chronic complaint among college faculty is that students do not read or act upon the feedback professors provide on student work. But properly conceived feedback to individual students can be as much or more important than anything you present in lecture or have students do in other activities. Here are some tips to make feedback more efficient and effective.

When grading exams, homework, papers or essays, reports, and other student work, professors work hard to provide comprehensive feedback. “Grading” is often spending time describing to students, via red pen or keyboard, how they can do better either on a specific subsequent assignment, or in the future generally. After all that time and effort assessing student work it is disheartening to discover that a student subsequently made halfhearted improvements, or ignored the feedback altogether.

Feedback as Next Steps

Instead of attempting to comment on every issue you find in a student’s work, consider this: If you could only pick a few, what are the next actions on which the student should focus their reflection, time, effort, and courage?

How many next actions or steps depends on assignment design, length, scale, scope, frequency, and so on. But generally, for a short writing assignment you may need to supply only one direction for a next step. For a longer or larger assignment, you might pick several. Likely, these are issues

  • that are fundamentals in your course subject, disciplinary content or style of communication.
  • that are more urgent. For example, if a student has not mastered a particular concept, they may not be able to advance in the course.
  • for which you can quickly highlight numerous instances. That is, a more common problem in their work.

However you choose next actions for each student, you are directing them to focus on a few important issues rather than itemizing every flaw in their assignment submission.

Actionable Feedback

It is possible for faculty provide too much feedback. When students see a carpet of red ink down the margins of their paper, or an essay almost as long as that which they submitted detailing all large and small problems with their work, they can easily become discouraged. They might reason: Is all this worth it, or can I just live with a C? A C grade might not derail their future career plans, but their resignation stops their learning or developing as writers, researchers or creators.

Plus, even if they are willing to consider their professor’s feedback, where do they begin? Where should they spend more time: improving their argument? Improving visual aids? Revisiting their organization? All those sentence construction problems?

Instead, if a student is handed just two or three things to focus on when improving a draft, this seems manageable and realistic. They have time to properly reflect on each issue, experiment with their ideas, seek further advice, revisit the library, and take more thorough action toward those few, specific goals.

After they complete that next draft or assignment, a student will still have other problems in their work. Sure, but if they sincerely worked along your proposed improvements, they have advanced as learners and creators, rather than just got another assignment out of the way.

Efficient Feedback

It is possible for faculty to spend too much of their time grading or providing feedback. If the above is true it becomes counterproductive to pile on with commentary when grading.

By choosing a few action items for each student, you avoid spending time itemizing and commenting on every issue in every student paper, or fall short of that through predictable exhaustion. Plus, if you are asking students to revise a draft or complete a series of similar assignments, you can revisit what directions you gave to each student, when next you assess their work.

Growth as a Course Feature

If the above makes sense to you, then you might consider adopting a multi-stage development assignment, or a series of smaller, similar assignments in your course. Designed to teach as well as assess a set of research, analysis, writing or creative skills, such assignments can help your students systematically learn better scholarship and composition as well as help you understand how students learn, and where they typically suffer setbacks or snags. As students overcome one challenge, you can pose others to them in subsequent assignments, and by the end of the semester they should be demonstrably better at whatever is described in your learning goals and objectives for the course.

Focused, action-item feedback can help students focus on improving their skills and abilities, while saving you time (and aggravation!) as you teach.

Teaching Online: Updates Workshop

You may teach online courses but completed online teaching training years ago. It can be challenging to keep up with developments in online teaching. COLI offers a workshop, Online Teaching and Learning: Updates, where we cover new methods, tools, and other concerns for online teaching faculty.

We also offer a workshop focused specifically on recent additions to D2L.

See and sign up for either of these workshops at our COLI Faculty Development Opportunities page!