VUF - Examples from practice

Example 11


Actors: Peer assessment
Type: Exercise, academic writing

Lone Hansen,
Teaching Associate Professor
Department of Law
Faculty of Business and Social Sciences


The feedback activity in brief
This is a feedback activity in which the students solve a case assignment and provide each other with feedback on it. The purpose of the assignment is to develop the students’ skills in finding issues in a case and in written communication.

Application
In the study programmes in Law and Business Administration & Commercial Law students often have difficulties expressing themselves at the exam. The students have a four-hour written exam, but often they are not able to express themselves in a clear and distinctive language. The study programmes have 120-150 students, and they have tutorials in which the students practice oral presentation, but they also need some practice in written communication. Consequently, the teacher decided to create a writing exercise, where students could receive feedback on their formulations without it being an extra task for the teacher.

The actual activity and its extent
Before the lecture the teacher uploaded a case assignment to SDU’s e-learning platform, e-learn.sdu.dk, which the students were told to prepare an answer to. Besides, the assignment had been introduced in a previous lecture, thus everyone understood what the case was about. In the lecture the assignment was introduced as support for the exam rather than a control exercise. The students were asked to switch answers with the person next to them to provide each other with feedback.

The students received a short explanation of how they were to assess the answer face-to-face by giving a grade for:

  • The ability to identify the issues in the case
  • A grade for the linguistic presentation

Furthermore, they were asked to give constructive comments in a positive spirit. They had approximately 20 minutes to assess each other’s answers.
After the students had assessed each other the teacher went over a fictive suggestion for an answer to the case. The teacher considered going over one of the students’ answers in class, but in order not to expose one of the students the teacher chose the fictive answer for critique in the class. It was discussed in plenum how this fictive answer could be improved and experiences were exchanged. They also discussed technical issues relevant to the answers.
This is not a particularly comprehensive activity for a teacher to do. Some time was used to find a case that was uploaded to e-learn.sdu.dk, but then only one hour was used to do the actual teaching activity.

Experiences and assessment
It is very important for the teacher to make it clear to the students what the assignment is about and what the purpose is. The students should be notified in advance in order for them not to be daunted by this new method, and it is important that everyone understands what it can do for them. It takes some time to learn how to express oneself clearly, therefore the teacher is considering using the activity in other classes and several times during a semester.

The students have acknowledged that they need this feedback and the writing exercise to perform well in the course. Thus, they were very positive towards the exercise, and they were very engaged. They wanted more of these exercises and they were devoted to give each other constructive feedback. However, a few students in the class chose to leave the class, primarily because they had not prepared any answer to the case.

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

Suitable for classes of: All
Suitable for level: All
Suitable for offline, online or both:

Offline – but case handed out online

Other possible actors: Teacher
Is the activity part of an assessment method? No
Is the activity part of the curriculum? No – but is considered to be
References: No

 

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: 
Lone Hansen - lha@sam.sdu.dk