Using student-student interaction to increase learning

My post is addressing pitfall #5 in the article that we read (ignoring the ways in which students learn from each other).

One of the things that we do in our online Spanish classes that we will carry over into our hybrid courses is incentivizing specific types of student-student interaction. We often do this by requiring peer reviews of important projects. This has a number of different benefits. First, it keeps students engaged in the course, and it forces them to not only view the content that their peers have created but also to comment on it in a meaningful way. I encourage students to avoid generic remarks such as “good job” or “great work” and to instead focus on specific things that the person did well and / or particular areas in which they could improve. As a result, students have to look more deeply at the work of their peers, and the feedback that students receive on their work is often more useful. In addition, when students engage more meaningfully with their peers, they inevitably learn more.

Under this model, grades are determined not only by the work that students produce but also by the authenticity and specificity of their peer reviews. Students quickly learn that they can’t receive full credit for writing a mediocre peer review, and by the end of the course, they have turned into constructive critics.

As a side note, I’ll say that this also makes our jobs easier. While peer reviews cannot take the place of instructor feedback, instructors can reference certain peer reviews in the feedback they leave for students, which often makes us more efficient graders.

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One Response to Using student-student interaction to increase learning

  1. Emily M says:

    I’d also like to start utilizing peer reviews in our fully F2F classes as well– this kind of student interaction seems really important to me.

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