Mark Jornd: Building Critical Thinking Skills in Business Courses

Prof. Mark Jornd has taught Legal and Social Environments in Business for over 12 years and  has experimented with several methods to drive student engagement. With peer assessment on Kritik, he observed that his students learned the skill to provide constructive feedback.

Using movies as a teaching medium, he asks his students to write a reflection piece giving them an opportunity to connect course concepts to real-world applications. With peer assessment, his students evaluate each others’ work anonymously and provide feedback based on the rubric Prof. Jornd creates for the assignment. This enables students to build critical thinking skills and articulate what their peers did well and how they can improve.

“Kritik pushes students to go out and seek more material than is provided in the classroom, and 99% of my students have benefited from this not only in understanding the course better but also in how to write and review other students.”

Prof. Jornd designs his assignments on Kritik such that students get 50% of the total grade is awarded toward the assignment submitted, 40% is reserved for the peer evaluations, and 10% is for providing feedback on the evaluations. This grading process keeps students engaged throughout as they interact with the assignment in different capacities: as a student and as an evaluator. 

Having used other peer feedback systems in the past, he saw his students giving unhelpful feedback like ‘Good job’ or ‘Excellent work!'. But with an AI-driven platform like Kritik, students were penalized if they gave such feedback and were encouraged to review their peers’ work against a rubric and give written feedback of at least 150 characters.

Prof. Jornd used Canvas; check out how Kritik can enhance your LMS tool!

“When they write a mediocre paper and later read their peer's papers [on Kritik] that are better, it helps them get up to speed on their quality, and within two weeks, they are more engaged in discussions and doing their own research as well.”

Scaling Up on Bloom’s Taxonomy Ladder Using Kritik

The course Prof. Jornd teaches is offered to sophomores and freshmen year students, so they are still learning the skills to give constructive feedback. Measuring their skills with the 6 levels of Bloom's Taxonomy, his students start with building Remember (Level 1) and Understand(Level 2), but by the time they finish taking his course, they are equipped to move up to levels 3-5. This growth can be attributed to the peer assessment process on Kritik as students are able to Apply (Level 3) what they’ve learnt in class, Analyze (Level 4) the viewpoints of their peers, and Evaluate (Level 5) each others’ work critically.

“I think that peers are critical of one another, and the time frame moves pretty quickly on Kritik; the feedback turnaround is quick.”

Check out how you can transform your activities with Peer Assessment and Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Activity Type: Reflection Essays on Movies

Prof. Jornd follows up every lecture with a take-home activity where he asks his students to watch a movie, analyze the legal aspect, and write a reflection piece. With the help of a detailed rubric, students attempt their essays and evaluate their peers’ work as well. Here are some of the critical parameters that he includes in his rubrics:

  • Concept Understanding
  • Clarity of Thoughts
  • Application to Real-world
  • Grammar
  • Spelling
  • Conclusion
  • Style
  • Reasonable hypothesis and thoughtful questions raised
  • Creative and Critical thinking
  • Organization

Having used Kritik in three semesters so far, here are some metrics that spoke to how peer assessment was successfully administered in his course: 

Deliver a robust Peer Assessment process with Kritik!

While Kritik ensures student engagement throughout the semester, the Calibration feature allows for accuracy. As students get more hands-on experience with peer evaluations, the goal is to have their grading power align with the instructor.

Schedule a demo with Kritik today to administer a 360-degree feedback loop in your courses!

Mark Jornd
Mark Jornd
Rend Lake College
Business Associate Professor

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