Brandi Moody: Enhancing Online Learning through Peer Assessment

Prof. Brandy Moody at Georgia Southern University incorporates Kritik in her online English Composition course. Through Kritik, she enhanced student engagement, which was always a challenge in her online class.  Peer assessment enabled students to  improve and hone their  writing skills while also creating a learning atmosphere that nurtures collaborative and interactive engagement.

"Peer assessment, especially doing it through Kritik, helps us better manage the larger loads of students. I think peer review is so helpful, and having a formalized process for peer review, the way Kritik sets it up is fantastic."

In this story, we will explore Prof. Moody’s best practices for implementing peer assessment in an online setting and get a sneak peek into her assignments and rubrics.

Download the deck and the full recording of Prof. Moody’s workshop.

5 Elements of an Effective Online Activity 

Prof. Moody skillfully identified five key elements for effective online activities in her English Composition course. These elements, which will be explored in depth, serve as a blueprint for enhancing online education.

1. A Regular and Predictable Schedule 

In addressing the challenge of connecting with students in increasingly large classes, Prof. Brandy Moody underscores the significance of a regular and predictable schedule in her online courses. She observed a marked increase in student participation when activities were consistently scheduled, as students knew exactly what to expect and when to engage with the course materials. This approach of aligning activities with specific days of the week not only streamlined the learning process but also provided students with a clear framework, enhancing their overall engagement and involvement in the course.

2. Varying Types of Activities and Instructional Materials

Maintaining a diverse range of activities and instructional materials is crucial for student engagement in online courses. Despite a consistent schedule, she ensured that the types of activities varied, moving beyond traditional forum-based tasks. By integrating peer assessment within her course, she offers a range of interactive options, such as a discussion post for diverse activities and more dynamic peer reviews. This variety not only breaks the monotony of expected tasks but also encourages active participation and engagement as students explore different formats and approaches to learning within the course structure.

3. Easily Accessible Lines of Communication

Prof. Moody prioritizes accessible communication in her courses, highlighting the Live Chat Support on Kritik, which is available for professors and students 24/7. This approach effectively addresses student inquiries, maintaining continuous engagement in her online classes.

4. Activities that Encourage Students to Build a Learning Community

Fostering a learning community within online courses is a key aspect of Prof. Moody's teaching strategy. She employs Kritik to create learning groups, encouraging students to engage in peer interaction and collaborative learning. Initially, students may show resistance to group work, preferring individual tasks. However, Prof. Moody observes that through structured group activities, particularly those involving peer feedback, students become more involved and engaged. This method not only enhances their learning experience but also clearly outlines their roles and responsibilities within the group, leading to a more cohesive and interactive educational environment.

5. Student-centred and Accessible Design

Prof. Moody prioritizes accessible, student-centred, accessible design in her online course, focusing on clear instructions and visuals for inclusivity. Her approach involves clear, plain language instructions and distinct visual phases to enhance accessibility. Using peer assessment, which adheres to WCAG 2.0 guidelines, meets all accessibility requirements for students, including those with learning disabilities. This commitment ensures equal learning opportunities for all students, continuously improving the platform to meet diverse accessibility requirements and uphold inclusive education principles.

How to Incorporate Peer Assessment in Online Courses

Prof. Moody incorporates peer assessment into her English Composition course through Kritik, aiming to provide effective assignments to enhance her students’ writing. This method facilitates structured feedback among students, improving their critical thinking and understanding of the material. Active engagement in peer evaluation contributes to better writing abilities and prepares students for professional feedback scenarios across various fields.

Take a look at the assignment information and instructions she provided her students for the Create stage:

Prof. Moody's instructions for the literacy narrative peer review activity were concise and clear, guiding students through the initial stages of the assignment. This straightforward approach enabled students to effectively engage in and understand the peer review process, fostering active participation and critical analysis.

Prof. Moody utilized the customizable rubric builder in the peer assessment platform to design a rubric that provided clear guidance for her students. This tailored rubric outlined specific expectations for the literacy narrative peer review assignment, ensuring that students could fully grasp and derive maximum benefit from the activity.

Here is a look into how the rubric played a role in the Evaluate stage for this activity:

In this evaluation, it's clear that evaluators employed the rubric criteria associated with the assignment to assess their peers' work. Students use the rubric to score Creations and leave constructive written feedback, both qualitative and quantitative, to provide more detailed suggestions. 

The Feedback stage allows students to see the written evaluations of their work received from their peers. These three phases, along with their anonymous framework, play a crucial role in the practical implementation of the course, as envisioned by Prof. Moody. The reciprocal process of giving and receiving feedback on work and responses cultivates a growth-focused learning environment, encouraging the practical application of course material.

Here is a look into this process:

In this feedback example, students use a Likert scale to gauge the effectiveness of evaluators' remarks, thereby enhancing peer learning and the exchange of knowledge.

Prof. Brandi Moody is able to administer the 360-degree feedback loop on Kritik within three days. With a quick turnaround in feedback, there's a significant improvement in students' writing skills and enhanced engagement.

“Writing is a recursive process, we look at it, get feedback, revise, we get feedback again, that's part of it, so peer review is really integral to my discipline. Getting feedback in implementing that feedback is absolutely critical but I also make sure I tell them, you know you're going to be doing this or this kind of thinking, these soft or transferable skills that you get from peer review, you're going to be taking those with you everywhere you go. Peer review is so incredibly important and I think it can be done you know in any sort of field it might not always be on a paper necessarily.”

3 Key Takeaways from using Kritik

Prof. Moody was surprised at how well Kritik worked in her class. She highlights the following three takeaways that make her a repeat user of Kritik with every successive semester:

1. Students love writing Peer Feedback 

Students in Prof. Moody's course developed a strong affinity for writing peer feedback, fostered by structured activities and a focus on positive, constructive criticism. This approach enhanced their confidence and effectiveness in providing constructive feedback.

"There's always a point in which we can use other people's feedback and peer review helps prepares for that so that's why I really like the way Kritik formalizes this and they get to give feedback on the feedback they've gotten. I love that feature, especially because when they sort of do it face-to-face, they're never going to look at the person across the table and go, 'that was not helpful, they won't do it’. You could not drag that out of them with wild horses. But Kritik gives them an automated space to do that.”

2. Streamlining Peer Feedback Administration

By adopting peer assessment, Prof. Moody enhances the efficiency of the peer review process for asynchronous learning. The platform's adaptability and user-friendly interface significantly streamline managing and administering student feedback.

3. Better Use of Time and Effort

Recognizing the constraints of time and energy, Prof. Moody strategically focuses on areas most needing her intervention, such as grading disputes and content concerns. This strategy, coupled with encouraging students to independently resolve issues, streamlines course management and fosters a proactive learning environment.

Leverage Peer Assessment in Online Courses

With Kritik, Prof. Moody successfully integrated peer assessment into an online setting, significantly boosting student engagement and refining their writing skills. Her adept use of peer assessment has transformed the dynamics of online learning in her courses, ensuring a more interactive and productive educational experience for her students.

Want to learn more about enhancing online courses? Discover how implementing the flipped classroom approach can significantly improve engagement and learning outcomes.

Brandi Moody
Brandi Moody
Georgia Southern University

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