Günther Jikeli: Using Peer Assessment Technology in Liberal Arts

“If you are thinking of introducing peer assessments in your classes then this tool makes it easier when compared to any other tool.”

Professor Günther Jikeli is a historian and sociologist and holds the Erna B. Rosenfeld Professorship at the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism/Borns Jewish Studies Program at Indiana University. Currently, he teaches Liberal Arts and has used Kritik as a platform for over three semesters in two of his courses. He has received positive feedback from his students about the medium and process. 

Liberal Arts courses are subjective and give students the opportunity to gain perspective and broaden their understanding on the topic by learning from each other, thus creating a collaborative learning environment

Here’s what Dr. Günther Jikeli has to say about using Kritik in his courses. 

Q: What made you use peer assessment via Kritik in your courses?

GJ: I am a big fan of including students in the learning process as much as possible and that is why I decided to try peer assessment in my courses. The students loved it and felt more involved. I believe, giving critical feedback is an important skill to learn that also helps in improving student engagement in class. I have always used peer assessment during my courses but doing it without a platform was challenging since it involved a lot of paperwork and distribution to conduct the activity.

Kritik, as a platform, is very intuitive and easy to use without any technical obstacles. Features such as setting different types of rubrics and methods of measuring student engagement in class make the tool better compared to some of the others I have used in the past. 

Q: How do you handle grading disputes with Kritik? 

GJ: The platform provides a peer evaluation rubric that I change to my preference and set on four clear parameters keeping the course in mind. The students use these parameters to grade their peers. However, in case of a dispute, I then evaluate the assignments personally and identify if the said evaluation is fair or not. This creates an appropriate and fair evaluation process. 

Take a deep dive into Dr. Günther Jikeli’s workshop to understand more about how to set rubrics. 

Q: Could you talk about the type of assignments you used in your courses? 

GJ: Both my courses have writing-intensive assignments. Students get 30% of their grades from assignments on Kritik. My first course - White Supremacism and Antisemitism on Social Media has a long assignment of 5-6 pages where the students have to submit the first draft of the final paper.

Course 1:

The second course is Jewish-Muslim Relations from the End of the 19th Century has weekly reflection activities based on the class reading. This helps students read other points of view and discuss them in detail, keeping them more involved in the class

Course 2:

Q: What are some of your key takeaways?

GJ: Here are my thoughts:

  1. In education, students learn better from encouragement than punishment. Kritik helps encourage students through its various features that further help students in my class engage better. 
  2. With customizable rubrics, Kritik encourages students to own the learning process. It helps in being transparent and gives students a chance to learn the process of giving developmental feedback. 
  3. The anonymous feature provided by Kritik helps create a good learning environment where students learn to take on criticism and focus on improving their skills rather than paying attention to who has provided the feedback. 

Schedule a demo with Kritik today to understand how it can help in improving student engagement in your courses. 

Günther Jikeli
Günther Jikeli
Indiana University
Professor of German and Jewish Studies

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