We talked to Candalyn B. Rade, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology, about her use of PeerMark, a component of TurnItIn, to use peer review in research paper assignments.
I’m teaching Psychology 301, which is the first of two research methods courses in a sequence. In these courses we have students write four research papers throughout the semester. Right now, the first three papers are scaffolded, so they do one section and then revise it while adding the next section, and revise it again adding the last section all together.
So I always build in structured peer review sessions for at least some of the writing assignments, maybe not every paper, but we have multiple peer review points during the semester. In the past, I’ve had students use physical print out copies of their papers for the reviews; they pass the print outs around in groups and write on it directly. This semester to avoid using printed copies, we tried using Google Drive shared documents at first and it got kind of messy. So I used PeerMark instead for the second part of the semester.
I created the review groups and PeerMark automatically assigned students the papers for the groups I wanted them to be in, about three to four students in each group. After students submitted their work, I used class time to conduct the peer reviews. I was able to circulate through the class, answer questions, and guide the review process as it went along. At the end of class, they discussed the peer reviews with their group. So, it’s not just getting the written feedback, but they also talk about it and explain it to each other.
The feedback I got from the students is that PeerMark worked really well for them. They liked it because I was able to insert a built-in rubric, so they could use that to structure their peer review versus something like Google Drive where it’s not built in and they then have to manage two different documents. In general, they found PeerMark was easier for them to work with because they weren’t having to manage multiple documents. It was all contained in one place.
The only problem that I ran into was I had a couple of students who didn’t turn in a draft for review by the designated start time and because I had pre-assigned students to groups I couldn’t figure out how to then shuffle the groups to make up for the people who didn’t turn one in. I was able to create a workaround that I can share with anyone who wants to use PeerMark.
But otherwise PeerMark seemed to work really well. I’m going to use it again in the spring semester and building it into multiple courses this time. Other Meredith faculty are welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if they have questions about using PeerMark in their courses.
Faculty can also contact Paul Keys with IDAT at email@example.com for more information.