March 13th we hosted the first Peergrade Conference, aptly named PeergradeCon. We decided to host PeergradeCon because we wanted to get us Peergraders out from behind our desks and meeting all our users. And to get our users meeting each other!
Of course, we invited all our users and also opened up the invite to anyone that has a passion for education, peer learning, and feedback! We ended up with a great turnout of educators, researchers, and students!
We hope the day inspired everyone that attended as much as it inspired us! If you weren’t able to attend, learn a bit about the different themes of the day and also about the presenters below, including links to their presentations.
The Future of Education
The opening keynote of PeergradeCon delivered by Hampus Jakobson touched on the future of education and specifically the skills that we need to be touching upon. Hampus highlighted leadership, proximity (jobs that require us to be in close proximity with people like a dentist) and nerds (passionate people) as the ‘skills’ that won’t be replaced by automation or robots.
Building skillsets through peer feedback
Probably our most diverse theme from the day was how peer feedback can enable crafting and perfecting different skillsets. It was a broad topic area because this area saw speakers from 3 different countries and 3 different areas of expertise!
Morten Nyboe Tabor has won awards for the way he restructured and taught his Econometrics course at the University of Copenhagen. His course relied on a flipped model and using peer feedback, you can read more about how he structured his course in our story here. At PeergradeCon, we got a live version of the story where Morten explained how he implemented peer feedback and how it improved student performance and experience in his class. See Morten’s slides.
Erik Jentges is an educational developer from ETH Zurich and came to PeergradeCon to discuss how peer feedback has been implemented at ETH and the benefits they’ve seen. Erik highlighted how anonymous peer review can help courses with a diverse student body can learn from one another. Courses at ETH Zurich could include a professional with 15 years experience or a student straight from a bachelor’s degree. No matter the experience or background, each student has something to offer and anonymous peer review can break down those barriers. See Erik’s slides.
Dr. Victor Sampson ventured all the way from the University of Texas Austin to discuss his experience incorporating peer review into science courses to build student proficiency in science. By building science classes around discourse and writing arguments for an audience (their peers) students start to understand the content better. Learn more about Victor’s Research!
Implementing peer feedback on a large scale
A common challenge universities and schools face is how to roll out new technology or pedagogy en masse. Luckily, we had some experts in the house to discuss how they have found success in implementing peer feedback across a university or large class.
Alex Lodder from Utrecht University and got everyone excited about how Utrecht the Educate-It program embraces innovation! He discussed the importance of early adopters of technology at the university and new ways that innovations can be introduced to the rest of the faculty. See Alex’s slides.
Olaug Gardener, Haley Threlkeld, and Vergard Skipnes from BI Norway gave the step by step process of how they introduced Peergrade to a class of nearly 4,000 students, the largest class on Peergrade! They got into how such a large class came about and the trials and tribulations of running such a large course. In the end, the success of their course all came down to their meticulous planning! See slides from the BI Norway team.
Research on peer feedback
The day also saw researchers in the realm of peer feedback presenting on their own research. It was exciting to hear and see some of the results from educators that have used Peergrade as part of their research!
Anne van den Bos presented her research on anonymity in peer feedback. As a teacher of ESL (English as a second language), Anne used her classes as a data set for understanding how the feedback peers give differs when anonymous. When giving and receiving feedback anonymously students tended to perform better and process the feedback more in Anne’s class. Get more details on Anne’s research here.
Diving into more research, Jens Dolin and Jesper Bruun discussed their work with the formative and summative assessment with AssistMe at the University of Copenhagen. They connected experiences in using peer feedback with existing research. See slides from Jens and Jesper.
Kamila Misiejuk from the University of Bergen also presented her own research into the use and potential use of learning analytics for peer assessment. Her research looked at 7,720 feedback comments to determine how students perceive and react to the feedback they are given. See more of Kamila’s research here.
Thank you for everyone that came out and we can’t wait for next year!