Mohammad Zia: Enhancing Peer Learning In Computer Science Courses

As a Computer Science instructor, Prof. Mohammed Zia started using peer assessment to reduce his grading burden for his class of 300+ students. Adopting Kritik has helped him drive deeper understanding through peer assessment and feedback.

“Initially, I had a smaller class, but as it became more popular, it became hard to grade students and give personalized feedback. Students would be engaged and ask questions, but I soon realized they had missed some significant concepts. My goal was to get them [students] to understand every concept clearly, and Kritik has helped me with that.”

Teaching a programming course to a large class meant regular assessments to make sure students were getting enough practice and were able to grasp the complexity of the concepts. With peer assessment, Prof. Zia asked his students to evaluate each others’ work, which required students to engage with the course material multiple times.

Using the customizable rubrics on Kritik, he built a simple three-level rubric that was easy for students to comprehend and peer grade their classmates. Here is a look at the parameters from Prof. Zia’s course that he uses to understand if his students have comprehended the concept better.

Download the full recording of Prof. Zia’s workshop.

Activity Type: Individual Video Submissions

Prof. Zia uses video assignments in his Data Structures and Algorithms class to help students apply the concepts they were learning. By recording themselves solving problems, students could demonstrate their understanding and develop practical skills.

“They see me teach it, understand it, but take the concept and solve a problem already there, for example, lead code with several coding problems. This requires them to plan the structure and the execution of the solution, and so it helps them practice speaking, planning and using these concepts.”

Here's a peek into the success of Kritik in Prof. Zia’s class.

Through the peer feedback process on Kritik, Prof. Zia is assigning each student to evaluate three assignments anonymously. By looking at the problem from different perspectives with multiple solutions, students improve their problem-solving skills that deepen their understanding of the subject matter.

Before using Kritik, Prof. Zia would take more than a week to finish grading assignments, and by the time students received their papers back, they would be on to studying the next topic. With Kritik, once students submitted their assignments, they were immediately assigned three assignments to students grade and give feedback. Students got personalized feedback on their assignments in just 3.6 days through this peer assessment process!

Resolving Grading Disputes on Kritik

While instructors using Kritik across disciplines and class sizes see a 2-4% average grading dispute rate, Prof. Zia sees 16.82% in his courses. In the course that Prof. Zia teaches, where there are many possible solutions to a problem, students may have questions or concerns about the methods used to solve it. When students review their peers’ work, they learn new ways of solving the same problem. 

On Kritik, when students aren’t sure about why they got a certain grade, they can flag it to their instructor, who can go and review the dispute and re-evaluate the assignment. Since the instructor has the final say on the grades, once the dispute is resolved, the peer grades are overridden by the instructor’s grade.

“A more advanced programmer may answer in a way that the beginner programmer still doesn’t know, so students raise a flag because they have lower scores. That’s when I go in and explain that both the methods are correct.”

Ensuring Grading Accuracy on Kritik

Before every course, Prof. Zia sets up a calibration activity with the grading scales that helps align student grading to their own. As students do more and more peer evaluations, their grading power improves (or deteriorates) based on the quality and accuracy of the feedback given.

“With Kritik, I can create customized rubrics, and some kids did come out and say that without Kritik, they would have missed out on some smaller but important points.”

Anonymous Peer Evaluations on Kritik

Kritik enables students to provide thorough and perceptive evaluations by encouraging them to give detailed and insightful evaluations. For example, by pointing out what a student has not done well and what they have done well, as well as providing reasons for these evaluations, Kritik helps students understand the expectations for the assignment and how to improve in the future.

Since peer evaluations are anonymous, students just focus on the rubrics when giving feedback. Through continuous feedback and self-reflection, Kritik helps students enhance their work and develop their ability to give and receive feedback effectively.

Prof. Zia noticed active participation among students during the feedback stage that kept them engaged with the assignment.

Experience a 36-degree feedback loop on Kritik!

Kritik is built to enhance the peer assessment experience for instructors and students. With data-driven insights, instructors have full visibility of student progress and can intervene and tweak their assignments sooner than later. 

Schedule a demo with Kritik today to deliver an AI-driven 360-degree peer learning experience.

Mohammad Zia
Mohammad Zia
University at Buffalo
Professor, Data Science and Engineering

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