VUF - Examples from practice

Example 3


Actors: Peer assessment and lecturer
Type: Academic writing, (seminar) 

Jens Smed Rasmussen,
Teaching Assistant Professor
Department of Entrepreneurship and Relationship Management, Faculty of Business and Social Sciences, SDU


The feedback activity in brief
Seminars with peer review (feedback) and supervision from the teacher. The curriculum and the teaching activities are constructed to make the work with seminars and peer review the focal point in handling the curriculum. In this way the students can practice working with research related approaches to the subject and the curriculum. The whole process is similar to a research related publication process.

Application
On BSc in Economics and Business Administration, the 4th semester course Business Economics (management tools, organisation and financial management) applies several feedback activities.  Each class has 30-40 students, who are divided into 10 seminar groups.

The course is taught as a combination of lectures, dialogues, student presentations, guest lectures with external consultants, and cases from the business world. The students are also challenged with tasks that are to make them problematize the curriculum and course content.

The actual activity and its extent
The course has four stages: 4 weeks of seminar writing, approximately 2 weeks for peer review and sub-seminar, 5 weeks of seminar writing, and at the end approximately 2 weeks for peer review and sub-seminar. 

Every peer review sub-seminar is conducted in the following way:

  • Each seminar group hand in their preliminary written seminar electronically.
  • The teacher distributes the seminars between the groups for peer review (normally academic and written seminar review).
  • The opponent group write their review and insert their comments into the electronic document from the author group, who will receive it after the review. All of this happens on SDU’s e-learning platform e-learn.sdu.dk.
  • In a seminar meeting of approximately 40 minutes the author group and opponent group have a dialogue that is lead by the opponent group. In this way everybody benefits from the seminar activities.
  • The teacher ends the seminar with feedback for each group and gives them advice regarding improvements.

At the exam the seminars are treated in the same way. The teacher assesses the seminar work and the academic results.

The feedback concerns how far the students have come in regards to formulating, substantiating, carrying out and assessing scientific work within the discipline, while also complying with the rules for academic writing. Peer review (assessment) from fellow students facilitates a more natural scientific way of thinking. The feedback also focuses on the student’s understanding of the academic curriculum, both the contents of the subject and the research related approach together with literature that students find themselves.

Experiences and assessment
My experience with the course and the particular feedback activity is very good. All the students showed up for the meeting at sub-seminar 2 even though the meeting was on a Friday between a holiday and a weekend. To me it is clear that many of the students in this class changed their ways of thinking significantly in the direction of thinking as researchers in the specific discipline. That is at least how they put it themselves. Experience indicates that the students feel that participation in the sub-seminars is a necessity to accomplish a seminar satisfactory.

It is important that the teacher is present and available for a meeting if the students need some extra feedback. It is also important for the feedback that the fellow students’ reactions and understandings are clear to the opponent- and author groups.

Evaluation: in which contexts will you recommend this feedback activity?

Suitable for classes of: <40 students, since there has to be room for everyone. Ideally: 10 groups of 3 members
Suitable for level: Especially 4th semester and later
Suitable for offline, online or both: Both
Other possible actors: Maybe
Is the activity part of an assessment method? Yes and no – the sub-seminars are not mandatory for the exam, but the seminar assignment in groups with opponent group and defence is mandatory
Is the activity part of the curriculum? Not as a feedback activity but the seminars are described as an assessment activity
References: The activity is based on personal experiences and education


For more information about VUF please contact:

Centre for Teaching and Learning - Inger-Marie F. Christensen - imc@sdu.dk or Rie Troelsen - riet@sdu.dk

For more information about this feedback activity please contact: 
Jens Smed Rasmussen - jsr@sam.sdu.dk