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Peer feedback using peergrade

Subject: Prehistoric Archaeology. Course: Prehistoric Archaeology II. Study level: BA 3. Semester. Size of class: 25 to 45.

Motivation for the activity

The course examination is an overall written portfolio to be submitted at the last course session. Most students “postpone” submission of assignments rather than submitting currently, resulting in a major workload at the end of the course. The purpose of the activity is to ensure quality and progression in the written assignments and to train the students in providing feedback on the basis of a defined framework.

Brief facts about the course

The purpose of the course is to give the students an introduction to the development of the landscape and changes in the prehistoric societies of the Bronze Age and the Pre-Roman Iron Age. The significance and the particular challenges of findings and excavation sites from the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age in current museum practice are thematised. The methodical and theoretical foundations of the archaeological interpretations are discussed, and the students will work with the basic frameworks for describing, identifying, systematising and analysing archaeological sources.

The objectives of the activity

Peergrade is an electronic platform for feedback in which the students can submit their written assignments and give each other feedback using an evaluation key developed by the teacher. Peer feedback helps support the students’ cooperative learning, in that they exchange ideas and practice giving constructive criticism of each other’s products.

Description of the activity

  • The program Peergrade is an online platform which enables the students to upload their assignments to a portal. The program distributes the actual assignments among the students, allocating a given number of assignments to each student for them to give feedback on. As a point of departure, I set this number to two.
  • I also develop an evaluation key (rubrick) with five to eight questions for each submission, taking as my point of departure the learning outcome defined for the course (See example) (In danish).

  • In preparation of the submission of the portfolio assignments, I insert the link for Peergrade in Blackboard. I spend five minutes of the lecture explaining to the students how the program works. In the process, I ask the students how they experience using the program and if they find it beneficial for their learning.

  • As a teacher, I can keep track of who submits and of the feedback that is being provided.

Outcome of the activity

The students welcomed the use of Peergrade very positively in the most recent course, which was also reflected explicitly in the course evaluations. They experienced having a “free trial” and found that this improved their product before their final submission in Blackboard.

In the most recent course, using the program meant that many students experienced receiving feedback from fellow students without me, as a teacher, spending time on any other activities than providing instruction on the use of the program and on the development of rubricks. This means that a significant workload is removed from the teacher, as their primary work will be to develop evaluation keys/rubricks and to be visible in the evaluations so as to ensure a sufficient level and further motivate the students to make a committed effort in their studies.

Worth considering

  • For many students it is important that the feedback they give and receive is anonymous. A setting for this can easily be added in the program.
  • It is worth emphasising to the students that if they submit on time, they have an opportunity to receive feedback and adjust their assignments accordingly, i.e. they have a ‘free trial’.

  • It is still possible for the teacher to give the students feedback on the feedback they give their fellow students. This request has been reported to the service and is expected to be accommodated within the near future.


    Examples of practice

      Links and materials for this example of practice: