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Peer feedback: Guided peer feedback

Brief description

Guided peer feedback may be given in for instance collaboration scripts, which are short manuscripts that communicate what the students should do at what time in a collaboration process. Using these scripts has turned out to result in increased learning outcome in the students when collaborating by means of digital tools. The collaboration scripts provide the students with explicit details as to what they should do when working on their assignments, as well as how and when they should submit what they have prepared.

Motivation for the exercise and required outcome

Activities with peer feedback reduce the need for feedback from the teacher as the exercise provides the students with guided feedback from their fellow students. Peer feedback activities must be organised in a way which makes it clear to the students what is expected of them; this may be done in, for instance, collaboration scripts or explicit descriptions of the activity.

Performing the exercise

  • As a teacher you must produce a collaboration script (manuscript) which communicates to the students what to do in the task assigned by you. A script consists of the following elements:
    • Why participate in the activity?
    • Which sub-activities should take place?
    • ​Where and when should they take place?
    • ​Should the students undertake specific roles in the process?
  • In case of a major assignment, make assessment criteria explicit.
  • Be specific about submission medium, scope of assignment and submission deadline. An example of a minor assignment:
    • “Choose a definition of culture (see list of definitions) with which you disagree, based on the literature you have read. Then write a blog post in the course in Feedbackfruits in which you give your arguments as to why this definition is not adequate, max. 300 words (deadline 5 September)”.
  • Write an instruction to the students who are to give feedback.
    • Are there specific issues the students should consider and remember when giving their feedback? It may be helpful to combine your instruction with a more general text explaining what you understand by good feedback (specific, constructive, includes questions and proposals, non-criticising).
  • Write an instruction to the students who are to receive feedback.
    • Is there specific action the students should take? Example of wording: “Write a comment to the fellow students who have given you feedback; what did you find useful, what have you incorporated and how? (deadline 15 September)”
  • Monitor the process. You must currently monitor the keeping of deadlines and the quality of texts and feedback comments.

Options

  • You may assign group tasks and let the students give feedback as groups.
  • You may choose a digital platform in which students may provide feedback anonymously. This may cause students who feel apprehensive about giving critical feedback to be more comfortable with this.
  • You may consider planning a final activity in class where the students discuss the assignment in a plenary session. In this case, it is advisable to moderate the discussion in the same way as you have instructed and guided the students in other elements of their working process. You are also advised to ask the students to read the work of their fellow students before they meet and discuss in class. 

Activities

    Examples of practice


      You will need:

      Worth considering:

      • Which digital tools should the students use?
      • How do you best make sure that the students know what is expected of them?
      • What do you as a teacher understand by good feedback, and how do you communicate this to your students?

      Background and considerations

      A number of learning advantages are associated with the use of peer feedback activities in teaching. The literature points out, for instance, that students increase the quality of their own products, improve their ability to evaluate their own work, and find it easier to give and receive criticism. Surprisingly, it also appears that the feedback provider learns the most from the activity.

      Organising the peer feedback activity so that students receive feedback from a number of fellow students, and possibly in an anonymised form, will accommodate a number of potential challenges: varying feedback quality, apprehension about showing own products to fellow students, reluctance to criticise the work of fellow students.