Engaging Students in Peerwise: An Innovative Online Learning Approach

Grosset, A. et al. (2013) Engaging Students in Peerwise: An Innovative Online Learning Approach. 6th Annual University of Glasgow Learning and Teaching Conference, Glasgow, UK, 19 Apr 2013.

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Introduction: PeerWise is a free piece of online software developed by Mr Paul Denny from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. It provides an online platform for a cohort of students from any discipline to write, answer, comment on and rate the quality of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) created by their peers, creating an opportunity for formative assessment that is peer-controlled. PeerWise has little staff involvement and is aesthetically similar to popular social networking sites, making it more acceptable to the student population. PeerWise was implemented into the first year undergraduate curriculum in the medical, dental and veterinary science cohorts for the academic year 2011/12. Different methods of engagement were organized for the three cohorts to include voluntary, use as a coursework exercise and use as summative assessment respectively. Methods: Comparative usage data of PeerWise from the software itself was compiled. This included timing, questions written in each cohort and general descriptive statistics. Additionally, a 5 point Likert questionnaire with space for free text comments was issued to students and focus groups were conducted. Results and Discussion: Between the three cohorts there were 481 students, on average writing 3.9 questions creating a total of 1650. Students answered a total of 89,870 questions, an average of 190 each, though this varied widely between the cohorts. In terms of questionnaire and focus group data; those participating voluntarily were less likely to write questions, though equally likely to answer. All cohorts used the software most in the run up to formative and summative assessments and reported similar strengths and weaknesses of the software, with minor differences between cohorts. Students valued the software for revision, but raised concern around the lack of input from staff. Conclusion: Cohorts who used PeerWise on a compulsory basis engaged with the software more than others. Many students rated PeerWise positively and stated they would use it again in their future studies. Students would prefer staff involvement on a variety of grounds and there were some issues identified which will need to be considered for future use.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Additional Information:Oral Presentation
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Purchase, Dr Helen and Flynn, Dr Margaret-Ann and Cameron, Dr Donald and Hammond, Mrs Jennifer and Field, Dr Max and Burke, Dr Joanne and Hamer, Dr John and Binnie, Dr Vivian and Sykes, Dr Amanda and Ditchfield, Dr Carol and Nicolson, Dr Lesley
Authors: Grosset, A., Cameron, K., Burke, J., Field, M., Flynn, M.-A., Ditchfield, C., Cameron, D., Binnie, V., Nicolson, L., Hammond, J., Hamer, J., Purchase, H., and Sykes, A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Dental School
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine
College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science
University Services > Learning and Teaching Services Division
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