Building Cohesive Group Dynamics with Peer Assessment

Nada Basir (LinkedIn), Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo, teaches Social Entrepreneurship and Corporate Social Responsibility, Entrepreneurship for Social Impact, and Entrepreneurial Strategy. As a founding partner of Via Informatics (now LocationGenius), Dr. Basir knows what it takes to make it as an entrepreneur.

Dr. Basir uses Kritik to prepare her students for their entrepreneurial journey after university. Through question creation, content analysis, and pitch presentations, Dr. Basir galvanizes her students to prepare them for the rollercoaster journey that entrepreneurship entails. Her business students competitively interact within Kritik, and learn skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.

It takes one to know one. The classic adage (once spun as a childish insult) rings true of any educator's journey. The ability to explain a concept or topic is proof that you understand it, hence Kritik's motto of #LearningByTeaching. Dr. Basir takes this to the next level, as an entrepreneur turned academic leading the business students of tomorrow.

What about Kritik sparked your interest?

What I really liked about Kritik is that students can now reflect upon their own work, by seeing how their peers respond to the same material. When I think about how I learn, one of the best ways that I learn is by seeing how other people solve a problem, or write, or do their research. Seeing different approaches to tasks that I need to do allows me to critically analyze and learn from my colleagues, and now my students can do that with Kritik, which is incredibly powerful.

An entrepreneur knows the rat race quite well, especially in its startup stages. It makes perfect sense why Nada is such a firm believer in learning from others; as founding a company relies heavily on established competitors for direction. Peer to peer learning exists in several different industries, and students rarely get a refined peer learning experience in traditional pedagogy. No, getting your students to evaluate each other on a scale of 5 after an in-class presentation isn't peer-to-peer evaluation. By definition it is, but by application, it is quite the disservice to your students. Finding ways to improve upon peer evaluation is essential to developing their soft skills.

How does Kritik apply to your course?

I use Kritik for students to evaluate their peers when it comes to pitching their businesses. The students are put into groups, and they need to pitch an idea to the class. Kritik allowed each team to receive feedback from all of their classmates. In other years, students were only getting feedback from me, and students love using Kritik because they receive so much personalized feedback. The students also pick up on things that I might have missed!

A strong leader will depend on their workforce to achieve goals. Nada is reflecting upon the importance of involving students in decision making (evaluating each other), and it provides new insights to her as an instructor. Incorporating technology brings new moving parts to a process (like teaching), but once you get used to it, you cannot believe how you went about class without it.

How were you supported in your transition to Kritik?

The best part of this experience has been working with the folks at Kritik. Not only are they so quick to respond to any questions I have, but they are always asking for feedback and improving their platform. If my students or myself have any questions, their live chat option is incredibly helpful. They scheduled two sessions with me to get fully set up with Kritik, and Kritik is by far the easiest system that I’ve used as an instructor.

How did your students react to Kritik?

The students were grateful for all the feedback that they received from each other through Kritik. What I’ve noticed that students come to me after the term is over and say that they have a brand new appreciation for the work that professors put into evaluating students. After using Kritik, they are exposed to the decision making that goes into providing constructive feedback, and do not get the opportunity to do so within their other classes.

An entrepreneur turned academic, Dr. Nada Basir relies on her experience in the workplace to improve her teaching abilities. Kritik enabled Dr. Basir to reflect upon what made her a successful entrepreneur; learning from others, empowering others, and being competitive. Kritik provided Dr. Basir with the platform she needed to ensure her students got the most out of her class, but more importantly, the most out of each other.

Nada Basir
Nada Basir
University of Waterloo
Assistant Professor

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