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Journal Article

Can Online Peer Review Assignments Replace Essays in Third Year University Courses? And if so, What are the Challenges?  pp147-158

Martin Smith

© Mar 2012 Volume 10 Issue 1, ICEL 2011, Editor: Philip Balcean, pp1 - 158

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Abstract

Essays are a traditional component of the course requirements in many post‑secondary courses. However, the practical and pedagogical disadvantages of essays are significant. These include the increasing ease with which essays can be plagiarized, the lack of peer involvement in the traditional essay submission and feedback process, the usual lack of meaningful instructor‑student intellectual discourse in the essay development and feedback process, and the inability to include hyperlinks and non‑text media in essays submitted on paper. It is suggested that as instructors make the transition from traditional to blended/online instruction, they consider jettisoning the traditional essay requirement and replace it with some form of “assignment essay/peer review” system such as the one described. Contemporary Learning Management Systems facilitate peer review and peer assessment approaches in ways that were not available in traditional offline education. This paper describes and discusses an online assignment system utilizing peer commentaries that addresses many of the shortcomings of these traditional essay requirement. The system is modeled after peer commentary academic journals such as Behavioral and Brain Sciences and Current Anthropology. This system has successfully been used as a substitute for the traditional essay requirement in a number of third year psychology course sections platformed on both Moodle and Blackboard. The advantages, challenges and practicalities of instituting, managing and grading such peer‑reviewed assignments are outlined, and the benefits of the system in terms of student engagement, intellectual modeling, and learning community enhancement are discussed. The peer reviewed assignment system is discussed in the context of recent research indicating some advantages of blended learning approaches compared to traditional approaches. Criticisms of peer feedback approaches are examined, and instructors are encouraged to provide students with detailed instructions and criteria regarding the peer review process. It is hoped that the discussion will be particularly useful to instructors who are in the process of moving from traditional face‑to‑face course context to the blended/online education environment.

 

Keywords: peer assessment, peer review, blended learning, LMS, essays

 

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Journal Article

Assessment in Massive Open Online Courses  pp207-216

Wilfried Admiraal, Bart Huisman, Olga Pilli

© Apr 2015 Volume 13 Issue 4, ECEL 2014, Editor: Kim Long, pp205 - 315

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Abstract

Abstract: Open online distance learning in higher education has quickly gained popularity, expanded, and evolved, with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as the most recent development. New web technologies allow for scalable ways to deliver video lect ure content, implement social forums and track student progress in MOOCs. However, we remain limited in our ability to assess complex and open‑ended student assignments. In this paper, we present a study on various forms of assessment and their relationsh ip with the final exam score. In general, the reliability of both the self‑assessments and the peer assessments was high. Based on low correlations with final exam grades as well as with other assessment forms, we conclude that self‑assessments might not be a valid way to assess students performance in MOOCs. Yet the weekly quizzes and peer assessment significantly explained differences in students final exam scores, with one of the weekly quizzes as the strongest explanatory variable. We suggest that both self‑assessment and peer assessment would better be used as assessment for learning instead of assessment of learning. Future research on MOOCs implies a reconceptualization of education variables, including the role of assessment of students achiev ements.

 

Keywords: Keywords: MOOC, Open Online Learning, Higher education, Assessment, Peer assessment, Self-assessment, Quiz

 

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