Building Term Papers Through Kritik

Dr. Kaston Anderson-Carpenter (LinkedIn), is an Assistant Professor at the Michigan State University teaching Behavioural Psychology. He is a board-certified Behaviour Analyst, aims to address the psychosocial determinants and behavioral mechanisms that influence addiction health equity in underserved communities in his research.

As an early adopter of Kritik, Dr. Kaston Anderson-Carpenter recognizes the value that peer feedback brings to the classroom. Dr. Anderson-Carpenter uses Kritik to allow students to break up their term papers into smaller sections, and they receive personalized feedback at every stage of their papers. As he mentions in the video below, the feedback they receive during their theses, bibliographies, introductions, etc., is the feedback that he would never be able to provide on his own.

Term papers are an excellent way for students to creatively demonstrate their knowledge on a specific element of a course. Educators recognize the value in term papers; an introduction to theses, dissertations, asynchronous learning, etc. However, students are often ill-prepared with dealing with these types of assignments, as they have not been trained to work independently on a project over several months. Dr. Anderson-Carpenter leverages Kritik to ensure that students work on this paper throughout the term without his constant supervision.

How does Kritik help your students with writing papers?

I use Kritik to break down the final term paper that students submit to me. I create activities that focus on each section of the paper, so students can receive plenty of personalized feedback in each stage of their paper. These activities include an annotated bibliography, an outline, an introduction, so on and so forth.

A brilliant way to ensure his students are continuously developing their papers, Dr. Anderson-Carpenter employs the scaffolding approach. Scaffolding refers to the strategy where students build upon the foundation of their papers; by having a thesis assignment, source gathering assignment, introduction assignment, etc. This type of activity is quite time consuming, as the feedback required for each student to revise upon to scaffold their paper can drown you in grading. Kritik leverages a student's ability to grade each other based upon a comprehensive rubric you provide, and your students will have stronger term papers than ever before.

How does your students' feedback compare to yours?

These students are truly giving the kind of feedback that I would give. In many cases, the students pick up on things that I missed after reviewing their work. Throughout the process, Kritik has helped me to become a better instructor.

We often believe that students are not qualified enough to provide feedback. How can students provide feedback, when traditional learning does not give them the opportunity to do so? To Dr. Anderson-Carpenter's surprise, the students performed their grading tasks to a similar level that he did. Another set of eyes is always helpful for any instructor; Kritik you can ensure several students are offering their opinions on different elements of their paper. If you do not believe that your students have the skills to evaluate at the same level as you, you can always use our Calibration feature to ensure students are on the right track as you. The calibration feature ensures students are on the right track, Professors can calibrate Kritik activities to ensure that the feedback and grades that students are as accurate to what the professor would have provided.

How do your students feel about paying to use Kritik?

Based on my conversations with the students, they are more than fine with the price of Kritik. Some of them use various platforms that are more than double the price, in addition to course fees and course books and materials. The fact that Kritik is so inexpensive, especially given the opportunities that they have to engage with their peers, the students feel the value they receive from Kritik is worth far more than the price they pay.

Student tuition increases with each day that passes. From 2008 to 2018, the average tuition at four-year public colleges increased in all 50 states. On average, tuition at these schools has increased by 37%, and net costs (including factors like scholarships and grants) have increased by 24%, according to a 2019 report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Asking your students to pay for course materials is no easy task, but think of the materials they pay for right now. Several hundred dollars for a textbook they rarely use, $50 for clickers, hundreds of dollars in other materials. Think of the value that each material brings the student, and compare the value of a skill that a student gains from a tool like Kritik, that is the same price as an Uber to and from their home on a night out.

Dr. Kaston Anderson-Carpenter knows from firsthand experience how important evaluative skills are for decision making. As the director of the Advancing Community Empowerment and Social Justice (ACES) laboratory on campus, Dr. Anderson-Carpenter makes decisions on a daily basis that impact the marginalized youth of his neighbouring communities. Kritik enables Dr. Anderson-Carpenter to introduce academic project management skills to his students, by allowing them to scaffold their papers with help from their peers. To his surprise, the feedback they provide to each other is consistent with his own. It's no surprise that his students are thankful for his innovative approaches to term papers, which is probably why he was awarded the 2019 College of Social Science Outstanding Teacher Award.

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Kaston Anderson-Carpenter
Kaston Anderson-Carpenter
Michigan State University
Assistant Professor