This open-enrollment course aims to provide “a new perspective for design and operational decision making at all levels of manufacturing” (1). Students may participate for free, however, to earn a MITx certificate, they need to verify and pay the course fee. The course uses blended learning and is mainly targeted towards graduate-level engineers. It runs for (up to) 12 months.
The instructors used open ended learning activities to sharpen students’ thinking through debate (discussion), peer review and self reflection. Using the Discussion on Work tool allows students to upload their work and comment on each other’s according to a rubric. This aligns with the course goals: inviting collaborative knowledge formation and the assessment of students’ understanding. By using a more student-centred approach, instructors also aimed to cultivate communication and analysis skills in students by triggering deeper thinking and metacognitive skills.
At the same time they wished to stimulate more robust student interactions to mimic physical classroom interactions by making use of the features within the Discussion tool interface.
Students produce a report based on material covered in face-to-tace sessions, that represents major concepts they have learned within the topic. Using evaluation criteria provided by the teacher in the instructions, learners carry out a peer review which provides input for online discussion.
Learners then participate in an open discussion, providing feedback to each others reports (in line with a rubric included by the instructor), either by commenting on the entire submission or by using in-line comments to highlight certain parts of the submission.
After learners have inserted enough discussion points, the instructor moves to the guidance stage. The instructor looks at the comment activity and guides students to the most commented on or upvoted discussion points and invites students to elaborate further on these points keeping a rubric in mind. In doing this they initiate further debate and trigger deeper thinking.
Lastly, using the input from both the peer feedback phase and the discussion phase, students reflect on what they have learned. All this takes place within the FeedbackFruits tool environment.
The students are evaluated on their participation in discussions, the quality of written feedback given to their peers, their final report submission, and their written reflection on the feedback they received from peers and the instructor.
"With this tool, we've taken a big step towards using class interactions as a way of assessing the students." - Matthew Waterman, Instructor
"Initially I was thinking one-dimensionally but while interacting with my fellow colleagues and teacher my perspective changed dramatically." - Matthew Waterman, Instructor
Measuring the amount of upvotes on particular comments provides an alternative way of evaluating students’ contributions. If choosing to do this, instructors should make clear to students that they intend to pay attention to this (1). Instructors could also prompt learners to cite their peers who positively impacted their learning the most in the reflection. This further enhances the collaborative learning process.
Dr. Andreas Osterroth at University of Koblenz and Landau faciliated a rigorous feedback process that stimulated active engagement and critical thinking, using FeedbackFruits tools.
The University of Delaware minimized time spent on group work facilitation, while maximizing students' performance and collaboration skills.
For his language course, Dr. Yasuhisa Watanabe at The University of Melbourne utilized several FeedbackFruits to encourage deeper understanding, while saving time working with manual set-up tasks.