Active learning and student peer assessment in a web development course
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Active learning is a family of instructional practises that requires students to participate in learning activities and engages students in the learning process. For larger groups, however, this it is often challenging to implement. Peer assessment, where students or groups of students evaluate and give feedback to each other, complements many traditional learning activities very well and combined this is promising active learning method that potentially is independent of the cohort size. In this paper, we present an active learning approach that is implemented in a web development course at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology where we combine project based activities and use peer assessment to engage students in the learning. Reference group meetings and the annual survey at the department is used for evaluating the peer assessment method, and we present an analysis comparing the scores given by fellow students with the grades given by faculty for the exam. Our findings include the observation that students are willing to put a lot of effort into activities they know count towards a grade, including peer assessments. However, when assessing each other they tend to give scores in the high range, which makes it hard to differentiate between students. Students also tend to believe that the assessments they get from other students are less reliable and fair, although the analysis shows that the scores they get in the peer assessments of projects corresponds with the evaluation given by the teacher for the exam.