In each course, you will be asked to review and provide feedback on assignments written by other students. The instructors will monitor your comments and will assign grades. Peer-to-peer feedback is very important in these courses:
- It gives you a way to switch roles from creator to evaluator, which will help you more objectively evaluate your own work.
- It can help you see opportunities to improve your work, by seeing patterns of problems in the work of other students.
- It provides feedback to students from several sources, rather than from one instructor. Peer feedback is more credible to some students than instructor feedback.
- Most important, careful evaluation of the questions and comments of other students gives you another type of opportunity to step back from your work and reflect on what the course is teaching.
The following guidelines may help as you review work submitted by your peers:
- Plan to read the submitted assignment at least twice. The first reading familiarizes you with the author’s work and helps you prioritize the areas for a more careful reading and detailed feedback.
- Offer constructive feedback. This includes both compliments and criticisms. Sometimes it’s more effective to pose a question designed to get your classmate thinking about their work than it is to offer your suggestion right away. Sometimes you’ll want to do both.
- Give specific feedback. Be sure to tell your classmate why something worked well or why it didn’t work. That kind of feedback is more useful than a vague comment such as “Good job!” or “This needs work.”
- Offer comments at multiple levels when appropriate:
- Task level: Task level comments focus on how well a specific task is understood or is performed.
- Process level: In this context, process refers to the steps (often cognitive steps) one takes to solve a problem or perform a task. Process level comments draw attention to the process your peer used to understand or perform the assigned task.
- Self-regulation level: Self-regulation is the ability to track one’s own performance against a goal. Comments focused at this level offer suggestions to help your peer think about their own performance. Throughout these courses, you will learn many heuristics designed to help at this level. Remind your classmates to use these as appropriate.
Cem Kaner, BBST Learning Objectives