Professor Elliott Currie (LinkedIn) has been an Associate Professor at the University of Guelph since 1998, teaching a variety of courses related to accounting and financial technology. Professor Currie has held senior roles in numerous industries including; banking, aviation, construction, oil and gas, insurance, corrections, and primary metals.
Transitioning to online learning has proven difficult for instructors and students alike. Remote learning can be incredibly effective from accessibility and self-directed perspective, but the loss of peer interaction can detract students from wanting to succeed in class. Peer-review does wonders for academia, workplaces, and colleague evaluation, but it does not hold the same regard in undergraduate classes. We asked Elliott about this, and why it is essential for his classes.
How does peer-review develop a student's critical thinking ability?
Students need to develop their ability to conduct assessments and to provide and receive criticism. The students are getting much better at understanding criticism, by realizing that the feedback is not personal; rather it is a professional assessment.
We reserve peer feedback for the professionals; peer-reviewed papers for scholars, peer review for executives at large organizations, peer review for professors to evaluate each other's teaching. Perhaps we are ignorant to assume that students in their naivety might offer feedback that is ill-prepared, or even incorrect in some cases. We asked Elliott to shed some light on this misconception.
What is the quality of the feedback between your students?
The students put a fair amount of time and effort into their assessments. They did want to receive customized feedback, so they felt the need to put effort into their assessments. The Kritik score tracks how the students perform in their assessment, and they got better at providing feedback throughout the term. Kritik's calibration and grade dispute features allow me to ensure students are on the right track.
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. With the grade dispute feature if a student feels that all of their peers have graded them incorrectly, they can "raise their hand" to dispute their grade, and the professor has the opportunity to review and override the student's grade.
Universities have existed to primarily serve as an institution of higher learning, whereas trades, apprenticeships, colleges, etc. lend themselves to prepare students with hands-on experience. Students now believe (as they should) that universities should prepare them for their future careers through theory-based learning. Traditional pedagogy does not support this notion, as students with diverse learning styles are crammed into large classrooms and expected to learn that way. The onus of preparing students for their careers has seemingly fallen into the hands of their professors, many of which do not feel they were equipped by their schools to do so.
How does Kritik prepare your students for their future careers?
Employees need to be able to provide and receive criticism, and Kritik introduces students to that concept. At the end of the semester, you can see how the students improved in that regard. Because of Kritik, they have a sense of how to be a better manager and how to assess people, as they will be doing this in a professional setting for the rest of their lives.
What tips would you share with a new professor to Kritik?
I myself am not too afraid of this technology, this technology is very easy to use, and you can match it up with any other programs you're using. If you already have students submitting assignments to you, why not optimize that process with Kritik?
Professor Currie is retiring at the end of this semester and was very grateful to see the effect that Kritik had on his students' personal development. By having case analyses conducted through Kritik, students were able to learn more effectively, and develop managerial skills they will be using in their future careers.