Using a web-based peer evaluation tool for engineering technology team projects

Authors: Balascio, C, B Kinney
Description: Student group work is a proven instructional model, but the time-consuming evaluation component can reduce its effectiveness1. The University of Delaware has developed a web-based software program to improve the evaluation of student groups. Three objectives of the project were: ? create a more meaningful evaluation process for students, ? reduce the administrative time for faculty, and ? build an evaluation mechanism that promotes broader faculty consideration of student group activities as a pedagogical tool. University of Delaware developers in Academic Technology Services (ATS) worked closely with interested faculty from a variety of disciplines to create an online peer evaluation system. The system accommodates numerical grading schemes in which student team members can use instructor-defined rubrics or other criteria to evaluate or rate contributions to the team effort of themselves and fellow team members. To provide beneficial feedback to the students, the system encourages essay response commentary that students can write about themselves and other team members. The comments can be compiled by the system and forwarded to the instructor. To insure anonymity and that comments released to students are constructive, the system gives the instructor the ability to examine all comments and provide appropriate editing before the comments are anonymously forwarded to the individuals for whom they were written. The system was piloted during the fall semester of 2011 in a variety of courses ranging from philosophy to math and science to engineering and engineering technology. Two surveys were developed, one for students and the other for faculty, to examine the effectiveness of the system in meeting the goals of the project. The student response rate was about 15% (56 out of 368) while faculty response rate was 70% (7 out of 10). Overall, a majority of the students and faculty found the system to be beneficial. For the majority of faculty, the system saved time over previous methods of peer evaluation they had used. This paper examines the features of the system and discusses its use in a junior-level engineering technology course, storm-water management.
Keywords: team projects, peer evaluation, grading
Technical field: technical_fields_app7
Session name: Soil and water
Date: 2012
Identifier: CSBE12027

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