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Collaborative Research: Scaling Design Critique Through Novel Interactive Systems for In-Class Peer Feedback: 1821590

Principal Investigator: Jessica Hammer
CoPrincipal Investigator(s):
Organization: Carnegie-Mellon University

With funding from the NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) program, this project will investigate how digital, in-class peer feedback systems can improve project-based learning in technical fields. It will also investigate how such feedback systems scale to various class sizes. This project focuses on the growing need to train American workers for jobs that need problem-solving abilities. It also addresses the need to actively engage students who avoid participation, due to social barriers such as discomfort with public speaking. Effective feedback is an important part of project-based learning. This award will support feedback activities in the classroom, where students can learn from the shared environment. In the feedback system being used, both the author and the reviewers are anonymous. This feature may mitigate social barriers to participation and promote unbiased evaluation. This project aims to enhance an existing web-based, in-class peer feedback system. Specifically, it plans add functionality to enable the author of a project to ?review the reviewer,? i.e. to provide the reviewer with feedback about the quality or usefulness of the review. Initial studies will occur at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of California San Diego.

The goal of this project is to explore several unanswered questions about in-class peer feedback: how to improve the quality of in-class peer feedback using reflection activities; how to increase engagement with the peer feedback process using social factors such as emotional expressiveness and a sense of connection to peers; how data logs generated by a digital feedback application (PeerPresents) can help instructors with assessment and with implementing new class activities or pedagogies; and how in-class peer feedback might work differently in classes of different size. PeerPresents will be used as a platform to develop interventions, and to study student engagement in and the effectiveness of reciprocal peer feedback. Activities include deploying the system in classrooms, interviewing students and instructors, evaluating the quality of feedback provided, and analyzing system logs. The work has the potential to inform the design of future peer feedback systems, as well as to improve peer feedback practices within college classrooms.

This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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