Recently Coventry University released a new plugin for Moodle around the idea of group and peer feedback. A colleague highlighted the new tool to me and at first glance I thought it looked like a promising solution to one of the requirements many academics have while running group work: the ability for students to score the contribution of individuals within the group and provide either public or anonymous feedback to group members.
Currently Moodle provides various options to support group work and peer learning, because Moodle HQ realises that these approaches hold an important place in the arsenal of many academics. Firstly, Moodle provides a generic framework for creating groups – these can then be allocated to an activity (such as discussion boards, wikis or group assignment submissions).
Secondly, and with a greater focus on the use of peer learning, Moodle provides the Workshop tool.
While groups can be added and used within the Workshop, the idea is predominantly that students add a submission. The submission is then allocated to a specified number of their peers, who then grade and provide feedback on it.
If you haven’t used the Workshop tool in anger, here is a quick overview of how to use it as a peer-assessment tool:
- All students submit their work (traditionally this will be an essay, but it could be work in some other format).
- The work is allocated to the other students. This can be scheduled and automated if required.
- Every student marks the assessments they have been given (academics can also provide feedback, although this is not a requirement).
- Each student receives a final grade for the submission and a grade for their ability to assess the work (academics can overwrite grades should they feel the process has proven unfair).
This tool provides students a fantastic opportunity to reflect on their own writing and work while comparing it to that of their peers. However, it does not allow for a group to provide anonymous feedback to their peers on projects. To do this academics currently have to find solutions outside of Moodle. The most notable option for this is TeamMates. TeamMates allows groups to feedback on the overall project work and then score the engagement of the rest of the team throughout the project.
We now have a new Moodle-based solution! Peerwork, created by Coventry University, is an integration with Moodle that provides a peer feedback option for group work. You can learn more about this approach from the video they have produced:
While working through Peermark, I was really impressed with its simplicity of set-up and use. I created the framework as an academic, but also completed the process as a student. Using multiple test accounts, I was able to understand how the process would work from both sides and see how you can adjust the overall grade given to a group though the peer reviews on the work.
The only criticism was really just my understanding of what the tool did (so not really a criticism of the system). When I uploaded a document as a student it cascaded it to each other members of the group. Each student does not need to upload a file, it is targeting the students for feedback on their peers and how the group worked throughout a project. The upload was almost a secondary consideration to the process.
Peermark is not the Workshop reimagined. They are two very different tools that serve a specific purpose.
The Workshop facilitates a student writing a piece of work, submitting it and other students provide feedback and evaluation of that work.
Peermark allows groups to discuss, rank and analyse how the entire team worked together over the course of the project. The work is created by the team for evaluation by the academic but the feedback given by the group on each other member will directly affect the shared grade of the team.
Peermark is currently on a test installation of Moodle.
If you would like a demonstration to see whether it would fit your need, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org