Tag Archives: literature

Currently reading: The impact of content co-creation on academic achievement (Doyle et al., 2021)

One part of co-creation — letting students create learning content for each other — has always been fascinating to me. The idea is that in order to create meaningful materials for others, they have to develop a good grasp of the material themselves, figure out a sequence, fill any gaps in prior knowledge, etc.. Also the materials that are being produced might feel more relevant to peers because they come from their own peer group, might be more current in the way they are presented, … But how well does content co-creation actually work to support learning?

The impact of content co-creation on academic achievement (Doyle et al., 2021)

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Currently reading Flett et al. (2022) on “anti-mattering”

As we are continuing working on our “sense of belonging” project at UiB (read more about my thoughts on students’ sense of belonging and what we can do about it here; and the general idea behind this project is to first get a baseline of student experiences, and then figure out how to make all students feel welcome and that they are in the right place), I’ve started reading up on “mattering”. Belonging makes the assumption that students want to belong in the first place, and that’s not necessarily the case. Mattering, on the other hand, is only about how students perceive others’ reactions to themselves.

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Currently reading: “Hope dies, action begins?” The role of hope for proactive sustainability engagement among university students. (Vandaele & Stålhammar, 2022)

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve talked to many people that are in one way or other involved in teaching about sustainability at high school or university level. One thing that has struck me is how many seem to be teaching about sustainability without actually believing that we can and will “fix” the big issues like climate, biodiversity, hunger, wars. And while I don’t have a solution to them either, I found it so disheartening to see all these teachers that talk to so many young people and that seem to have no hope for the future. Surely this cannot be the way to do things. If they don’t see the point of changing things because we are all doomed anyway, how will they support their students to develop skills and strategies to deal with all the big challenges they will be faced with?

This is where the article I’m summing up below comes in:

“Hope dies, action begins?” The role of hope for proactive sustainability engagement among university students. (Vandaele & Stålhammar, 2022)

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Currently reading: “Formative assessment and self‐regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice” (Nicol & Macfarlane-Dick, 2006)

Somehow a print of the “Formative assessment and self‐regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice” (Nicol & Macfarlane-Dick, 2006) article ended up on my desk. I don’t know who wanted me to read it, but I am glad I did! See my summary below.

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Currently reading: JUTLP special issue on belonging in an anxious world (articles 1-7)

In response to my blog post about belonging, I was made aware of the current issue of the Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice (JUTLP) on “Pedagogies of belonging in an anxious world“. So now I am determined to actually read that whole issue! My short summaries of the first 7 articles below.

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Students’ sense of belonging, and what we can do about it

Last week, Sarah Hammarlund (of “Context Matters: How an Ecological-Belonging Intervention Can Reduce Inequities in STEM” by Hammarlund et al., 2022) gave a presentation here at LTH as part of a visit funded by iEarth* that led to a lot of good discussions amongst our colleagues about what we can do to increase students’ sense of belonging, and to the question “what can we, as teachers, do, to help students feel that they belong?”.

Below, I’m throwing together some ideas on the matter, from all kinds of different sources.

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Currently reading: “Bringing an entrepreneurial focus to sustainability education: A teaching framework based on content analysis” (Hermann & Bossle, 2019)

A lot of the work I am doing at LTH is related in one way or other to teaching (how to teach) sustainability, so here are my notes on an article I recently read and found interesting:

“Bringing an entrepreneurial focus to sustainability education: A teaching framework based on content analysis” (Hermann & Bossle, 2019)

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Current reading: “Syllabus Language, Teaching Style, and Instructor Self-Perception: Toward Congruence” by Richmann, Kurinec & Millsap (2020)

Yes!! People are actually responding to my “send me an article that is currently inspiring you!” request! In a comment to my blog post “Summaries of two more inspiring articles recommended by my colleagues: On educational assessment (Hager & Butler, 1996) and on variables associated with achievement in higher ed (Schneider & Preckel, 2017)“, Peggy sent me the article “Syllabus Language, Teaching Style, and Instructor Self-Perception: Toward Congruence” by Richmann, Kurinec & Millsap (2020) I am discussing below.

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Using peer feedback to improve students’ writing (Currently reading Huisman et al., 2019)

I wrote about involving students in creating assessment criteria and quality definitions for their own learning on Thursday, and today I want to think a bit about involving students also in the feedback process, based on an article by Huisman et al. (2019) on “The impact of peer feedback on university students’ academic writing: a Meta-Analysis”. In that article, the available literature on peer-feedback specifically on academic writing is brought together, and it turns out that across all studies, peer feedback does improve student writing, so this is what it might mean for our own teaching:

Peer feedback is as good as teacher feedback

Great news (actually, not so new, there are many studies showing this!): Students can give feedback to each other that is of comparable quality than what teachers give them!

Even though a teacher is likely to have more expert knowledge, which might make their feedback more credible to some students (those that have a strong trust in authorities), it also makes it more relevant to other students, and there is no systematic difference between improvement after peer feedback and feedback from teaching staff. But to alleviate fears related to the quality of peer feedback is to use peer feedback purely (or mostly) formative, whereas the teacher does the assessment themselves.

Peer feedback is good for both giver and receiver

If we as teachers “use” students to provide feedback to other students, it might seem like we are pushing part of our job on the students. But: Peer feedback improves writing both for the students giving it as well as for the ones receiving it! Giving feedback means actively engaging with the quality criteria, which might improve future own writing, and doing peer feedback actually improves future writing more than students just doing self-assessment. This might be, for example, because students, both as feedback giver and receiver, are exposed to different perspectives on and approaches towards the content. So there is actual benefit to student learning in giving peer feedback!

It doesn’t hurt to get feedback from more than one peer

Thinking about the logistics in a classroom, one question is whether students should receive feedback from one or multiple peers. Turns out, in the literature it is not (significantly) clear whether it makes a difference. But gut feeling says that getting feedback from multiple peers creates redundancies in case quality of one feedback is really low, or the feedback isn’t actually given. And since students also benefit from giving peer feedback, I see no harm in having students give feedback to multiple peers.

A combination of grading and free-text feedback is best

So what kind of feedback should students give? For students receiving peer feedback, a combination of grading/ranking and free-text comments have the maximum effect, probably because it shows how current performance relates to ideal performance, and also gives concrete advise on how to close the gap. For students giving feedback, I would speculate that a combination of both would also be the most useful, because then they need to commit to a quality assessment, give reasons for their assessment and also think about what would actually improve the piece they read.

So based on the Huisman et al. (2019) study, let’s have students do a lot of formative assessment on each other*, both rating and commenting on each other’s work! And to make it easier for the students, remember to give them good rubrics (or let them create those rubrics themselves)!

Are you using student peer feedback already? What are your experiences?

*The Huisman et al. (2019) was actually only on peer feedback on academic writing, but I’ve seen studies using peer feedback on other types of tasks with similar results, and also I don’t see why there would be other mechanisms at play when students give each other feedback on things other than their academic writing…


Bart Huisman, Nadira Saab, Paul van den Broek & Jan van Driel
(2019) The impact of formative peer feedback on higher education students’ academic writing: a Meta-Analysis, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 44:6, 863-880, DOI: 10.1080/02602938.2018.1545896