Rethinking assessment: Using digital media and peer review to engage students
First year students in the Department of Education welcomed a new method of academic assessment, thanks to a project led by Gabriele Edwards and Geraldine Jones. The project explored the effects of using digital media and peer review as a method of assessing student coursework.
As part of research into using new technologies in undergraduate teaching, first year students have created digital stories using online tool, Voicethread.
Students reflected on their early experiences in Higher Education through images and narrated commentary. They later shared their work online for review by their peers and tutors.
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The project has been a great success, with students enjoying a refreshing change to traditional methods of assessment. The exercise encouraged students to further review their work, as students went back to improve their videos after seeing the work of their peers.
Feedback has been extremely positive, with students developing an appreciation and awareness for the assessment process. In reviewing the work of their peers, students have developed an awareness of assessment criteria which will help them in their future submissions.
Overcoming the challenges of peer review
The research found students were not always comfortable when giving negative feedback to their peers, with students reluctant to award marks in the lower range.
Tutors tried to overcome this issue by showing examples of critical feedback, as well as developing new criteria for assessing this kind of work.
After the success of using a new method of assessment with first year students, the Department of Education has since introduced digital media and peer review into a second year module – ‘Motivation and Cognition.’
As institutions often struggle to achieve high scores in the assessment and feedback aspect of the National Student Survey, our research could provide a stimulus for rethinking the more traditional assessment practices in Higher Education.