Online peer assessment strategies can be used to enable students to give and receive constructive feedback. These techniques not only allow students to improve their own understanding of the subject content; but also distribute the workload so that students receive timely feedback on their work. NRS311 is a very large, multi-campus, multi-mode subject in the undergraduate Bachelor of Nursing program. In Session 1 2016, the academics teaching this subject bravely introduced peer assessment as part of a larger assessment item. 

What were you trying to achieve?

This initiative was part of the pilot program for CSU’s Online Learning Model. An important element of this model is “Interaction between students” which directly aligns with the focus of QLT KPI11 – peer-to-peer communication. Cathy Maginnis identified that NRS311 had very little opportunity for students to interact and communication in this subject had been dominated by emails directly to the staff member about the subject content or assessment items. This subject has >400 students, is offered across 4 campuses and has a very large DE cohort. Cathy and the NRS311 team wanted to implement an authentic assessment task where students developed a draft “Health Education Package”, they then shared this with their peers for feedback, made any necessary changes and submitted the revised package. The NRS311 team noted that the students in this subject were very task focused and that to ensure the success of this initiative it needed to be linked with assessment.

What did it look like?

Watch the screen cast to see this assessment item in action. Cathy clearly highlights some of the limitations of this tool in her recording. We would love to hear from others across the University who have used the Blackboard Peer Assessment tool – did you experience similar problems? Is there are better way to structure this type of assessment?

How can I make this happen? 

Cathy’s recording reinforces the fact that assistance from an Educational Designer is important when using this type of strategy for the first time. If you are interested in using this type of strategy in your subject please enter a Service Request with the Division of Student Learning.

Blackboard Help has information on their Self and Peer Assessment tool.


This post was originally published in the QLT (Online) blog.