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Encouraging efficient integrated group work with Peer Review | Case of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences

Class Size
Instructor Workload
Learner Workload


This 8-week course in innovative education for trainee teachers incorporates aspects of educational innovations into its pedagogy. Students work in small groups to produce a written assignment where they formulate criteria for good pedagogical practice. After uploading this and reviewing other groups’ documents, students apply the feedback they have received to produce a lesson plan, which acts as a second stage of the overall activity.

The motivation to use this course was that the instructor wanted to create an environment in which students could give and receive feedback in a structured and straightforward manner.

Constructive alignment

Learning objectives

• Students are able to construct and develop criteria related to improvements and innovations in education.

• Students take charge of their own learning by developing their feedback giving-and-receiving abilities.

Learning activities

Students work in small groups on a report centred around constructing and elaborating on criteria points relating to education in the future. After completing this report each group hands in their work and individually gives feedback to two randomly assigned groups according to a rubric. As well as selecting performance levels on the rubric, students are sometimes required to leave comments giving further explanation as part of their feedback.

After everyone has given feedback, the groups read the feedback they have received and have the chance to write a reflection on it. This is followed by a second activity in which the reviewed criteria are used to construct a lesson plan. This lesson plan and the associated criteria are also loaded back into Feedback Fruits for another round ofpeer feedback. The groups can edit their assignment  on the basis of this feedback before they submit the assignment to the teacher.

These learning activities address the following levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy:

• Apply feedback to further iterations of the assignment.

• Analyze and evaluate work of peers and feedback received, alongside the rubric.

• Create a lesson plan incorporating associated criteria.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The instructor reviews feedback comments given and received by students alongside the rubric. Metrics such as the average number of comments per student and number of comments per group act as indicators of how students are performing in the activity.

The reflection of each group on their final hand-in after receiving and incorporating feedback is taken into account by the instructor but does not contribute to the final grade. In this setup the activity within the tool was not graded.

Notable outcomes

• Using Peer Review helped the instructor tie together work inside and outside of class.

• Online learning was strengthened through using the tool: once students adapted to the new system, the tool became a fast and efficient way of combining teaching methodologies and encouraging innovative thought.

• Students reported feeling unused to having to give such elaborate feedback to each other instead of relying solely on feedback from teaching staff. As such, the activity provided an opportunity to challenge students’ thinking about the nature of teaching and learning.

Using Peer Review, students learned more from each other.

The role of the instructor

• The instructor firstly explains to the students, in class and in the instructions-step in Peer Review, what the expectations and requirements, deliverables, and hand-in dates are for the assignment.

• After students have progressed with the activity and given feedback, the instructor reviews comments made within the platform, optionally interacting with certain feedback to give more attention to particular comments.

• The instructor did not grade comments, contributions, or reflections within the platform, but had the ability to view these as an indication of student performance.

Added value of technology

• Using Peer Review allowed the instructor to keep an oversight of student participation with the activity, as well as their encounter with the feedback process.

Possible variations

Enabling grading (and explaining that this choice has been made to the students) allows instructors to have a quantitative measure of students’ performance. Points can be awarded for, e.g., leaving a certain number of comments or for handing in on time.

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