[Live webinar] Leveraging AI for inclusive learning
chevron_right

Transforming collaboration with technology-enhanced peer learning

Nhi Nguyen
|
June 28, 2024
Using
DOMAIN
Business & Management
Class Size
30-300
Instructor Workload
Learner Workload
ABOUT THE INSTITUTION

The UCI Paul Merage School of Business develops and equips agile leaders for the digitally driven world with critical business and leadership skills needed to succeed. Their programs are continually adapted to address the ever-changing social, technological, and economic opportunities and challenges.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR(S)

Caryn Neiwender is the Associate Director, Learning Experience Design, UCI Paul Merage School of Business. Here she supports the development of courses and instructional materials by directly working with faculty to develop courses and managing the Learning Experience Design team.

Amber Parker is the Associate Director, eLearning Support Services, Digital Learning at Paul Merage School of Business and the University of California, Irvine. She contributes to the school’s highly personalized environment with her commitment to be responsive and respectful to everyone in the Merage School Family, from prospective students to the business community at large.

ABOUT THE INSTITUTION

The UCI Paul Merage School of Business develops and equips agile leaders for the digitally driven world with critical business and leadership skills needed to succeed. Their programs are continually adapted to address the ever-changing social, technological, and economic opportunities and challenges.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR(S)

Caryn Neiwender is the Associate Director, Learning Experience Design, UCI Paul Merage School of Business. Here she supports the development of courses and instructional materials by directly working with faculty to develop courses and managing the Learning Experience Design team.

Amber Parker is the Associate Director, eLearning Support Services, Digital Learning at Paul Merage School of Business and the University of California, Irvine. She contributes to the school’s highly personalized environment with her commitment to be responsive and respectful to everyone in the Merage School Family, from prospective students to the business community at large.

Context

This use case dives into a conversation with Caryn Neiswender, exploring the strategies, tools, and lessons learned from the Paul Merage School of Business's journey to successfully integrate peer learning into its curriculum using FeedbackFruits solutions. 

Constructive alignment

Seeking the Tools to Support Peer Learning at UC Irvine's Paul Merage School of Business

The Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine, is recognized for its innovative and impactful approach to business education. With approximately 1,200 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled annually, the Merage School offers a variety of programs and modalities for interacting with students, ranging from in-person to online and hybrid formats. 

The School’s curriculum is supported by seven Centers of Excellence and a strong network of corporate partners, including companies like IBM, Deloitte, and Disney. These partnerships provide students with real-world business challenges and opportunities for experiential learning, enhancing their readiness for leadership roles in a digitally-driven world.

Recognizing the importance of collaborative learning and its potential to enrich students' academic and professional development, the school embarked on a mission to integrate peer learning into its curriculum. This initiative aimed to foster a more interactive and engaging educational environment, enabling students to learn from each other's diverse perspectives and experiences. 

However, instructional designers faced several challenges in implementing peer learning. These included maintaining oversight of student progress and group dynamics, facilitating peer and instructor feedback in large cohorts, ensuring accountability and satisfaction in group work, and integrating new learning tools into existing tech stacks.

After evaluating various options for peer learning, the Merage School found FeedbackFruits to be an ideal education technology partner. Commenting on the decision to partner with FeedbackFruits, Caryn Neiswender, Associate Director of Learning Experience Design at UCI Paul Merage School of Business said:

"Oftentimes, working with vendors in higher education can be challenging, but FeedbackFruits has been a fantastic partner. They have been excellent at answering questions and helping us successfully launch and manage our projects here at the school.”

This use case dives into a conversation with Caryn Neiswender, exploring the strategies, tools, and lessons learned from the Paul Merage School of Business's journey to successfully integrate peer learning into its curriculum using FeedbackFruits solutions. 

Addressing Challenges with Engagement at the Paul Merage School of Business

Before implementing FeedbackFruits, the peer learning process at the Paul Merage School of Business involved students interacting with instructor-provided content, creating deliverables, and submitting them directly into the Canvas learning management system (LMS). Feedback from the instructor or TA was then provided through Canvas, which students used to make iterative improvements.

Screenshot: Peer review process before using FeedbackFruits at UCI Paul Merage
Peer review process before using FeedbackFruits at UCI Paul Merage

These limitations created a less interactive and engaging learning environment, with minimal peer interaction and feedback. Canvas allowed only one assignment due date, used a single rubric for all assignments, required students to provide only text responses, and supported only individual assignments. Caryn explained: 

“It can feel isolating for students because their whole experience is with the material, the technology, and the instructor and it's less about making those social and learning connections with other students.”

Caryn described several challenges that were inherent in their traditional peer learning process. 

  • Confusion about when to submit the original deliverable, peer feedback, and revised deliverable.
  • Instructors had to choose between using a comprehensive rubric or a simplified version for students, directly affecting the students' experience.
  • The Peer Review process required only a text response from students, leading to minimal engagement, especially during busy weeks.
  • The process supported only individual assignments, limiting the scope and effectiveness of peer learning.

Enhanced Engagement and Richer Feedback with Peer Review 

After implementing FeedbackFruits, the Paul Merage School of Business saw significant improvements in their peer learning process. Commenting on the success of their Peer Review process, Caryn noted:  

"The first thing to understand is that FeedbackFruits is built and designed specifically for peer-to-peer learning, and the Peer Review tool is designed specifically for Peer Reviews. They understand that you're going to need a couple of different dates on an assignment. They understand, for example, that there are going to be students who hand things in late and how that affects how Peer Reviews are assigned. They understand that there might be situations where a student isn't going to submit that deliverable, but you still want them to have the experience of reading the work of their peers and providing feedback on their peers. So they're very thoughtful about the different options that are available within an individual assignment, and they are practical in terms of what's actually going to be experienced when you get into a course."

Caryn also appreciated that the Peer Review tool provides multiple points of contact, giving students various perspectives on their work. This richer feedback experience enables students to incorporate diverse viewpoints, not just from instructors or TAs, but from peers who are at a similar stage in their learning journey and grappling with the same concepts. 

Screenshot: Multi-layer feedback in Peer Review: AI-powered personalized feedback, feedback from peers, and self-reflection
Multi-layer feedback in Peer Review: AI-powered personalized feedback, feedback from peers, and self-reflection

Streamlining Peer Reviews with Automated Grading 

Another significant benefit, as Caryn explained, is the simplification of the grading process. This automation not only saves time for instructors but also ensures accuracy and consistency in grading. She highlighted how FeedbackFruits handles the complexities of Peer Review data effortlessly:

"Because Peer Review by its very nature is complicated, FeedbackFruits says, 'Let us do the math for you.' So, what you do when setting up your Peer Review assignment is give specific criteria […] FeedbackFruits will then collect all of the data from the students in the assignment and actually calculate that score for you. Those scores are automatically sent to the grade book, making the grading process much more streamlined."
Screenshot: Instructors can decide on the grade weighting for each step in the peer review activity, the grades are then automatically recorded within the Peer Review tool
Instructors can decide on the grade weighting for each step in the peer review activity, the grades are then automatically recorded within the Peer Review tool

Overcoming Barriers to Group Evaluations 

For Group Member Evaluations, Caryn Neiswender explained the significant challenges the Paul Merage School of Business faced before implementing FeedbackFruits. At or near the beginning of the course, they set expectations for how students should work together and provided opportunities for collaboration on projects. They also collect structured feedback on how peers contribute to group work, allowing faculty to review students' comments on their colleagues' contributions. She described the situation before FeedbackFruits as "data ugly,” explaining that: 

"We used a lot of surveys that had a lot of manual programming. There was logic that we included in the surveys. The surveys had to be rebuilt every quarter because we needed to put group information in there. Before we put the group information in, we actually asked students to spell the names of their group members. You'd be surprised how many different ways there are to spell a name like Karen, for example, which makes consolidating and analyzing that data very challenging."

What the school was creating within these survey tools were student records and with student privacy in the States being a significant concern, they had to be careful with data storage and handling. The data was messy and required additional staff to help faculty make sense of it.

With the Group Member Evaluation via FeedbackFruits, the school has an easy-to-use interface that faculty can completely configure and get up and running on their own. One of the ways FeedbackFruits helps facilitate that is through “notes in the process.” Caryn stated: 

“An example of this is setting up instructions videos so in addition to text feedback they also provide video feedback. There’s no manual programming and the tool itself connects directly into canvas.”
Screenshot: Instructors can easily add instructions in the form of document, audio, or video file within FeedbackFruits solutions
Instructors can easily add instructions in the form of document, audio, or video file within FeedbackFruits solutions

Leveraging the Power of AI Technology

Another standout feature of FeedbackFruits that Caryn touched on is its use of AI to provide Automated Feedback on student submissions. This functionality is particularly beneficial in large cohorts where personalized instructor feedback on every assignment may not be feasible. The AI-driven feedback tool analyzes student work and offers constructive comments on various aspects, such as writing quality, coherence, and adherence to assignment guidelines. This immediate, Automated Feedback helps students identify areas for improvement more quickly and allows them to make necessary revisions before final submission. 

The Automated Feedback tool generates instant, formative feedback on technical aspects of students’ writing such as grammar, spelling, citation, etc.
The Automated Feedback tool generates instant, formative feedback on technical aspects of students’ writing such as grammar, spelling, citation, etc.

Achieving Positive Outcomes

At the Paul Merage School of Business, some courses use only the Group Member Evaluation, some use a combination of Group Member Evaluation and Peer Review, and others use only Peer Review. This results in a wide range of assignment types being utilized.

On average, students in courses receive about 47 ratings and 33 comments, resulting in a significant amount of feedback provided through FeedbackFruits. Approximately 90% of students read the work of their peers and provide feedback, offering a valuable opportunity to not only complete their work but also see how others in the course processed the same information and assignment instructions. This positive outcome reflects the school's commitment to innovative and impactful business education, fulfilling its mission to foster collaborative learning environments that prepare students for leadership roles in a digitally driven world.

Student adoption of FeedbackFruits solutions
Student adoption of FeedbackFruits solutions

Key Takeaways

The Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine has seen significant improvements in student engagement and collaboration thanks to FeedbackFruits. This integration has made learning more interactive and impactful.

Enhanced Engagement and Feedback: FeedbackFruits' Peer Review tool offers multiple points of feedback and richer interaction, fostering a collaborative learning environment with diverse perspectives.

Streamlined Grading: Automated grading features save time and ensure consistency, allowing instructors to focus on facilitating meaningful learning experiences.

Addressing Challenges: FeedbackFruits effectively handles challenges like maintaining student progress oversight, facilitating feedback in large cohorts, ensuring accountability, and integrating with existing systems.

Leveraging AI: AI-driven Automated Feedback on student submissions helps them quickly identify areas for improvement, allowing timely revisions.

Commenting on the school’s ongoing partnership with FeedbackFruits as their educational technology partner, Caryn said:

“Being able to launch templates that our faculty can easily adopt in their courses is one area we're excited about exploring. The learning analytics in FeedbackFruits are quite extensive and they are extremely useful. It's a matter of making sure that our faculty knows where to find those learning analytics and how to use them. This is one area where again our partnership is going to be very helpful.”

A Future-Proof Partnership for Success

Reflecting on the Paul Merage School of Business collaboration with FeedbackFruits, Caryn remarked:

“The partnership that we've had with FeedbackFruits has really been great because we have a like mind in this. It’s not about the whizbang of the technology; it's about the learning and the technology helps facilitate that so that is the strongest lesson that that we've learned or that has been reinforced for us.”

We at FeedbackFruits are honored to be a collaborative partner of the Paul Merage School of Business, an institution dedicated to preparing students for real-world work experiences through innovative pedagogy. 

We anticipate great outcomes from this partnership and are eager to continue supporting the school’s mission. Thank you so much for sharing your insights with us, Caryn and Amber. We appreciated learning about the thoughtful implementation of peer learning and your deep insights on technology evaluation and adoption.

Nice to check

Caryn and Amber’s full presentation on enhancing the peer and group assessment process can be found here

Webinar banner: Unlock the power of group work at UCI Paul Merage

Assessment of learning outcomes

Notable outcomes

Possible variation

Share on social media

Recommended use cases

Discover how the University of Akron is navigating AI with FeedbackFruits to enhance personalized learning in online and hybrid courses.

The University of California, Irvine's Paul Merage School of Business uses FeedbackFruits to enhance peer learning and collaboration.

A story of how a faculty enhance engagement with technology-enhanced interactive study materials and peer assessment

We gather the most valuable resources and learnings on pedagogy and email them to you every month.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Filling out this form means you agree to our Privacy Policy.