The Importance of Student-Professor Interactions

"We're having conversations that I think are meaningful for helping the students become better. And those conversations were absent before using Kritik”

Dr. Scott Johnson is a research and development leader in the chemistry department. He is an expert in organic and industrial chemistry with years of experience in the field. Besides being a highly skilled and knowledgeable professor and researcher, he is a leader in innovation management and talent development.

As an advocate for building aptitude and skills through mentoring and coaching, Dr. Johnson sees the high value of peer assessment as a way for students to guide and learn from one another. He uses Kritik to scaffold lab reports into manageable sections, which allow students to receive regular feedback and ensure final projects are of high standards. Kritik also empowers his students to interact with Dr. Johnson and have meaningful conversations on peer assessment and its importance to their academic and professional careers.

The Importance of Student-Professor Interactions
I [got to] have that conversation upfront. I [got to] let them know how [Kritik works], how it's graded, what they can do if they want to get higher scores and what they can do to help improve their evaluations. So we have that conversation right upfront and I still get questions on it [later], but I like getting questions. It's forcing us to have good conversations about peer review and why this process is important.

Given that students are accustomed only to traditional assessments like quizzes, tests, labs, etc., introducing peer evaluations in their routine peaks their curiosity, and students become interested in learning more about it. Students' unfamiliarity with the process encourages them to have conversations with their professors on peer evaluations and how it contributes to their academic and personal growth.

These student-professor interactions are not only beneficial in the short term as students realize the advantages of peer evaluations, but it also contributes to the long term success of students. (Christensen & Menzel, 1998). Research has shown that these "functional interactions" result in students having higher academic self-confidence and becoming more academically engaged, which improves their performance (Astin, 1999; Endo & Harpel, 1982; Plecha, 2002).

After Implementing Kritik - Functional Interactions
Once we introduced Kritik, now I'm having conversations with the students about how to do peer reviews, what makes peer review effective and what makes peer review useful for somebody. And those are the kinds of conversations that I want to be having. And I wasn't having those before. We weren't having conversations like that at all.

As mentioned, functional interactions serve to build meaningful student-professor relationships to help students succeed in their academic careers. Before using Kritik, Dr. Johnson has sparingly used some peer review strategies but they were not as conducive for the students' growth, and quality conversations regarding the peer review process were inevident. As such, students were not as empowered to have meaningful interactions with Dr. Johnson regarding the science behind peer review. Now, students are continually being reminded of Kritik's effective pedagogies, and these regular conversations allow students to "have a sense of purpose and competence for succeeding in university" (Martin, 2000).

After Implementing Kritik - Mentoring
Another good conversation that we had in our class this semester is that one of the things about this peer review process is [that] you've got to be humble enough and receptive to the feedback. And so, having a humble attitude and being able to receive that feedback with the idea that this is helping me to get better. That's the right attitude. If you've got that attitude, you're going to make some progress.

Along with functional interactions, Kritik also enables mentoring, which is the 4th type of student-professor interaction that develops students' academic self-concept, motivation, and achievement (Cox, 2011). This is a combination of both functional and personal interaction as conversations are academic in nature but revolve around students' or professors' interests. With Kritik, Dr. Johnson can mentor his students by assisting with their professional development and giving guidance on how to provide and receive feedback properly. Through the conversations he is having with his students on peer assessment, he is able to teach a fundamental life lesson which is receiving feedback without feeling hurt and responding appropriately.

References

Astin, A. W. (1999). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Development, 40(5), 518–529.

Christensen, L. J., & Menzel, K. E. (1998). The linear relationship between student reports of teacher immediacy behaviors and perceptions of state motivation, and of cognitive, affective, and behavioral learning. Communication Education, 47(1), 82-90. doi:10.1080/03634529809379112

Cox, B. E. (2011). A developmental typology of faculty-student interaction outside the classroom. New Directions for Institutional Research, 2011(S1), 49-66. doi:10.1002/ir.416

Endo, J. J., & Harpel, R. L. (1982). The effect of student-faculty interaction on students' educational outcomes. Research in Higher Education, 16(2), 115-138. doi:10.1007/bf00973505

Martin, L. M. (2000). The relationship of college experiences to psychosocial outcomes in students. Journal of College Student Development, 41(3), 292–301.

Plecha, M. (2002). The impact of motivation, student-peer, and student-faculty interaction on academic self-confidence. Annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, Louisiana.

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Dr. Scott Johnson
Dr. Scott Johnson
Brigham Young University-Idaho
Professor of Chemistry