My experiment with getting students to teach each other content using MIT’s Visualizing Cultures project is coming to a close. Though some teams’ classroom presentations have been better than others by being more interactive, overall I think the experiment has been a success and I’ll use the same idea when I teach this course in the future.
One part of this experiment has been an attempt to get students to realistically evaluate their peers’ performance on a collaborative task. Here is the text of the email that I send to members of a team after it has presented its material:
Part of the evaluation process for the Visualizing Culture project is to rate the participation by members of your team. Please send me (to me only) an email that contains the following information:
A score for each member of your team, including yourself, ranging from 3 (highest) to 1 (lowest). [Each team had three members.]
You must assign a different score to each person. No repeats.
This information will be added to the participation portion of your grade for the course.
In addition to this rating system, I’ve also been using online surveys, administered through the course LMS (Canvas), to get students’ input on how well they think each team has performed. I send survey results to the students in each team after they’ve presented. The survey contains these questions:
- The team’s presentation and activity was organized and informative. [5 point Likert scale]
- Members of the team were effective. [5 point Likert scale]
- What did you learn from this team?
- What advice do you have for this team?
All of this creates a bit of extra work for me, and I’m going to try to figure out how to automate the process as much as possible. I think I’ve got one problem already solved: students were not completing the survey, despite reminders to do so from me, so in the future I will configure Canvas to assign a minimal number of points for completion of the survey. Any student who doesn’t complete the survey will damage a portion of his or her grade. That might be enough of a stick to get the extrinsically motivated students to provide their peers with feedback.
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