Collaborative Learning in Literature Courses

"I am looking forward to building peer review into more activities in all my literature courses." 

What about your teaching practice and classroom experiences drew you to Kritik? 

I have used Kritik for multiple courses in the last academic year, from introductory courses to honours seminars. I generally wanted to shake things up, and I was in the pool of faculty with hybrid classes. Kritik gave me the opportunity to foster communication, engagement and conversation between students, which was far less possible in those hybrid courses. 

Kritik has helped instructors change their perspectives on what ‘student engagement’ means in their classroom. Incorporating some asynchronous elements outside of the classroom can provide students with the flexibility they need to be successful. Instructors, like Jennifer, have introduced an instructional design with both synchronous and asynchronous elements and have seen a large increase in student engagement and student success.

How has Kritik made a difference in your classroom? 

Kritik allowed me to shift my focus on the kinds of assessments I do, particularly with regard to writing. I introduced more low-stakes writing tasks, giving students the opportunity to connect and actually talk about the text itself. It helped me tease out some of the ideas and themes of the course and give them a chance to apply them. 
I also began to include prompts asking students to talk about their own experiences. It is something I have actually avoided in my career, but I am realizing that it is part of the literature; talking about a written work and thinking about it relative to our own lives encourages understanding. 

Kritik works to optimize current course processes through peer review. This decreases the workload for instructors while bringing in new formative assessment mechanisms that give students more opportunities to engage with course content and each other. The benefits of peer evaluation are endless, for instructors and students alike. 

How have you seen your students' work change since using Kritik? 

The quality of students’ comments improved as time went on. I understood how and when to interject to best support them; after explaining to the students how things worked, they knew what needed to be done. I was able to guide them with providing meaningful evaluations, by prompting them to relate to the star-ranking system in their comments section. Students really put in the effort with their evaluations.

At Kritik, we know that rubrics is an effective tool for increasing student success in peer evaluation schemes. Our repository of customizable rubrics will increase the quality and accuracy of peer feedback while decreasing time spent grading. Choose from our customizable rubrics, suitable for all disciplines, class sizes and grade levels, or create your own and save it as a template for your future activities. 

I am a control freak, so I was skeptical and a little worried at first. I still go in and adjust at times, but if I adjust at all, it was pretty nominal. For the most part, adjustment tended to be just a 1/3rd of a letter grade, but I was okay with that discrepancy. It actually gave me confidence seeing these outcomes; grades were in line with my rubric.

Kritik ensures a fair and accurate peer-to-peer learning scheme through our advanced AI system. Our Calibration feature helps align student grading with how you would grade, improving your student's grading accuracy.‍ Grade accuracy is reflected in their Grading Power, Kritik's gamification incentive, which allows students evaluations to have a proportional impact based on the accuracy of their grading.

What are some of your favourite features within Kritik? 

One of the nice things about Kritik is you guys over there in Toronto. You are willing to take on the sorts of problems for students and Instructors. I don’t feel the need to reframe [students’] question[s] and send it in a chain. There is great responsiveness; the online chat has a really quick turnaround time that I have found super helpful for both myself and students. 
The platform itself has proven pretty intuitive. It lets me focus on the ways that I can continue to improve my involvement with them or the degree to which I am being hands-on. It is an enormous reduction of how often I am needing to engage one-on-one with my literature students, but they are receiving an increased amount of valuable feedback.

Kritik has made implementing our platform simple. Our Help Centre is an exhaustive bank of instructional resources and video tutorials, for students and instructors. Still needing support? Our LiveChat function is available to you and your students, should you need further assistance, at any stage of your Kritik course.

Another one of the things I have really been loving is the group assessment. I had an activity where they assessed each other, giving feedback about their role working on a team project. I love that feature, and [students] seemed to really like to cheer for each other and give each other props for the work that they had done on the team. [Students] were also constructive in their criticism, where things could have been better. I found [the group activity feature] to be a really terrific tool. 

Our Team-Based Learning feature moves beyond the essay or presentation format. Students are able to collaborate with peers, at various capacities, to discuss a course topics and solve problems. Kritik provides a structured and flexible Team-Based Learning scheme, adaptive for your activity needs.

Dr. Jennifer Young
Dr. Jennifer Young
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Assistant Professor of English

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