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Solving low feedback quality at The Wharton School

Nhi Nguyen
November 4, 2022
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Class Size
Instructor Workload
Learner Workload


About the institution

Founded in 1881 as the world’s first collegiate business school, the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania is shaping the future of business by incubating ideas, driving insights, and creating leaders who changed the world.

About the instructors

Linda J. Lee is the Director of Instructional Design, where she leads training and instructional design efforts for the Courseware Team at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Dylan Fenton is the Director of Instructional Design & Delivery at University of Pennsylvania

Course information 

  • Name: Management 198/799 (MGMT 198/799) Epidemics, Disaster, and Geopolitics: Managing Global Business and Financial Uncertainty
  • Size: 2000 undergraduates
  • Design: Weekly 3-hour synchronous class meeting
  • LMS: Canvas

Constructive alignment

Learning objectives

Learning activities

The challenge: Finding the right tool for peer feedback

Linda Lee (Director of Instructional design) and Dylan Fenton (Instructional Technology Project Leader) of Wharton School were in charge of running a large online course with over 2000 undergraduates during the 2020 Spring term. This course is, according to Linda, “by far the largest course ever taught at Wharton”. Such a huge class size is undoubtedly challenging for instructors to effectively manage and facilitate peer learning activities. However, they were committed to promoting peer learning via both group work and peer assessment.

In detail, the course involved a group project that required students to collaborate on a final team paper, and provide peer feedback on each other’s work. It was here that the need for the right tool became absolutely critical and urgent. The “right” tool, according to the instructors, should allow for automatic allocation of peer reviewers, clear deadlines tracking, customizable peer review rubric, ability to export peer feedback for grading, and ease of use with minimum student support.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The solution: Using Peer Review to facilitate effective peer feedback in large size classes

Peer Review of FeedbackFruits offered teachers the capacity to make these requirements happen, while Canvas native tool for peer assessment couldn’t. Linda remarked: 

“When Dylan showed this to me, I immediately saw that FeedbackFruits Peer Review tool offered really many advantages over Canvas native peer review tool.”

She then emphasized that Peer Review allowed them to set up multiple deadlines, present clear steps for completing peer feedback, export the submission/ peer review data, and let students revise their given feedback.

Notable outcomes

Course set up

The course curriculum was structured to cover synchronous lessons and three main assessment forms: content & tests; discussions, and team paper. The team paper accounts for 40% of the total grade, and requires students to work in groups of 3-4 on COVID-19 related topics. Using the Peer Review tool, Linda created three assignments for this team paper on Canvas across dif- ferent cohorts with customized peer review criteria and multiple deadlines. Furthermore, Linda remarked:

“The most delightful thing from my perspective was that we were able to create this assignment once and then easily copy that with all the sets of configurations for the third and second assignment.”

The outcomes: High quality peer feedback

Overall, the learning activities were successful. The quality of peer review was significantly enhanced, as learners were actively and responsibly involved in the process. While multiple deadlines encouraged students to deliver peer reviews, clear feedback rubrics acted as an effective guide to produce effective feedback. Furthermore, support for students was minimal while using the Peer Review tool - "We were delighted by the small footprint of support that students required", as remarked by Linda. A small number of students experienced load issues, yet these are resolved thanks to the “great help” from Feed- backFruits support team. First a pilot, and now a trusted partner, Wharton School has been successfully adopting FeedbackFruits tools to create meaningful learning experiences.

“I look forward to recommending and using this tool (Peer Review) again in the future.” – Linda Lee, Director of Instructional Design, The Wharton School

You can find out more about Linda and Dylan’s success story here.

Possible variation

FeedbackFruits Educators Initiative supports educators with lifelong free access to our pedagogical tools.
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