The problem: The need for scalable, flexible tooling to support varied and widespread course designs
Instructors at Deakin University needed to find a suitable tool to facilitate group feedback within roughly 40 units across multiple STEM schools, with a total of around 6,000 students per year. Classes ranged from small-scale project groups of less than 10 students to large-scale courses of 700, and from first to third year bachelor's as well as master's programs.
The solution: FeedbackFruits Group Member Evaluation
With such varied and widespread course designs and pedagogical approaches came the need for scalable, flexible tooling which supported elements such as reusable rubrics, and group- and grade-synchonised LMS integration. Previously, it had been reported that group projects, especially team assessments, had not been fair and had suffered from free-riding. Group Member Evaluation was able to provide a transparent and accessible platform for both students and instructors to streamline peer assessments and bring visibility to each stage of the process.
Learning objectives varied between subjects but each unit had in common Deakin University's Graduate Learning Outcome, "Teamwork" (GLO7):
A variety of different learning methodologies such as team-based learning, project-based learning, and design-based education, were employed across the different schools and units.
The use of Group Member Evaluation:
The common usage of Group Member Evaluation centred around the evaluation of peers’ skills in group work settings, with certain features being utilized:
Team-based learning activity:
Learning activities based on the Bloom taxonomy are mainly at the level of:
own and other’s written work according to given criteria
GME was used for self and peer review of teamwork skills formatively at the mid-point of the team task as a means of ascertaining students’ individual performance and group contributions. Another check also took place as a summative assignment at the end of the course, allowing for a holistic reflection comparing the start and end of each learning experience. Following the university’s assessment policy, group work accounted for no more than 50% of the final grade in any unit.
“What I've learned over the few years being involved - you shouldn't be limited to the current technology, you should always be looking to push that boundary. If you have a need, that need can be met. You just have to voice that to someone like FeedbackFruits so they understand what it is.” - Tiffany Gunning, Team Leader Teaching and Learning Special Projects SEBE, Deakin University
Features such as synchronisation of groups and grades from the native LMS; copying existing course designs for new units; and accessing activity templates from centralised libraries, made the scaling and integration of FeedbackFruits tools simple, even across faculties and schools with distinct and unique needs. It was reported that the Group Member Evaluation tool is being considered for use in the university’s ‘Authentic Assessment Project’, whereby it would be used as a ‘touchpoint’ in every program offered in the faculty.
During the initial setups of Group Member Evaluation activities, it was decided that every peer feedback comment would be held and checked by instructors before releasing these comments to the intended recipient. This was due to concerns about quality and appropriateness of comments. However, no inappropriate remarks were encountered after a considerable period of time, leading instructors to enable the release of feedback immediately after the deadline had passed, letting students process feedback more quickly. Providing students with resources about giving and receiving constructive criticism can further help to ensure the smoothest possible feedback practices across learning setups.