Project introduction and background information
Feedback is an inherent part of student learning. Especially the feedback by peers is known to be an effective educational tool. Although peers are no domain experts and are usually not regarded as a “knowledge authority” (Gielen et al., 2010: 305), we know from recent research that formative peer assessment and feedback result in higher levels of student performance, academic writing performance, and student learning. Feedback from multiple peers, seems to have even higher effects on students’ academic performance. Feedback from various sources and perspectives, can also help students to take control of their own learning. Since the literature only concentrates on self-, peer and teacher feedback and not on feedback that business partners can provide, I propose a university-business cooperation. To actively involve students in the delivery of their curriculum and to benefit from the diverse backgrounds, I design and test the effectiveness of a co-created 360 degree peer feedback process for student learning.
Objective and expected outcomes
According to Tee and Ahmed (2014: 579), existing pedagogical approaches in feedback are often “fragmented and ad hoc in nature”. This is why they suggest an integrated, holistic 360 degree feedback system that showcases the interplay between self-, peer and teacher assessment to enhance student learning. I build on this holistic 360 degree feedback system by adding an important though currently neglected stakeholder to the 360 degree feedback: business partners. Involving business partners in the provision of feedback to students has several advantages as indicated by the UBC literature above. Adding business cooperation in curriculum delivery to the multisource feedback provides students with the opportunity to gain immediate feedback on the adequacy and relevance of their developed solution and develop intrinsic real-life experiences. As such, a co-created 360 degree peer feedback process is established.
Results and learnings
A 360 degree peer feedback process is designed to actively involve students in a research experience by providing a positive learning experience that helps students to enhance their learning process. Students co-create their curriculum by engaging in the development of assessment criteria and a rubric for their research assignment and by asking for and proving their peers with feedback. The 360 degree peer feedback process incorporates three rounds of feedback by four raters as well as regular consultation and teacher advice according to a three-stage model that is based on the dialog feedback cycle in higher education by Beaumont, O’Doherty and Shannon (2011).
Students were very satisfied with the design of the online 360 degree peer feedback process and perceived it as valuable for their learning process. They were satisfied with the feedback process and took the process seriously because they put a lot of effort into providing peer feedback. The online format of the process provided students with flexibility about when and where to provide and receive feedback. The feedback from the various stakeholders was bundled in the online Peergrade tool and could be used by students in the various re-writing efforts.
The design of the co-created 360 degree peer feedback process was positively evaluated by students and was tested as effective in this research. This means that I recommend the design of this process to my peers. However, I would have the following suggestions for teachers who want to implement the co-created 360 degree peer feedback process without having any previous experience with peer feedback:
Start small: I would recommend to start with using feedback from maximum two stakeholders at the same time to limit the coordination efforts of the teacher. Teacher feedback is quite a common form of feedback and for those teachers who do not have any experience with peer feedback yet, I would recommend to use peer feedback next to teacher feedback.
Create criteria: What I consider one of the most crucial elements of effective peer feedback is the provision of good criteria for the evaluation of a peer’s work. If possible, these criteria could be co-created with the students but only when the teacher has quite a good idea of what an excellent assignment should look like. It may be also advisable to develop SMART assessment criteria. Once business partners are involved in the peer feedback process, the criteria also need to be shared with them.
Provide preparations: Students are seldom able to provide and receive effective feedback without adequate instructions. It is essential to clarify the purpose and expectations of peer feedback and to set clear rules and guidelines. Students first need to learn to distinguish how to give and feedback and develop rules on peer feedback practice used in the course. When business partners are involved in the peer feedback process, other preparations are needed: specify the role of the business partner in the course, set dates for involvement of business partners in the course and the peer feedback process and remind them of the dates, manage expectations of the time invested and the benefits provided for the business partners and get acquainted with the case company so that you can also help students with practical implications and analyses.
Stay engaged: Although some scholars indicated that using peer feedback could reduce the time of teachers for providing feedback (e.g. Falchikov, 2001), Topping (2009) explained that if peer feedback is used supplementary rather than substitutional to teacher feedback time savings may not need to be expected. Teachers need to coach students in the feedback process, monitor that every student plays according to the same rules and sticks to deadlines, examine the quality of peer feedback, match the feedback of different assessors against each other (and against teacher feedback), and evaluate and provide feedback of the provided peer feedback.
Bos-Nehles, A (2021). Design of a 360 Degree Peer Feedback Process: An Online Assessment Approach. Paper presented at the 49th SEFI Annual Conference, Berlin, 13-16 September 2021: 360-Degree Peer Feedback Process: Design and Evaluation of an Online Assessment Tool — University of Twente Research Information (utwente.nl)