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ABS386 - Is your peer wiser than a lecturer? Use of peer-wise software as an engaging learning community environment for students to construct knowledge

2.1 Learning and development in onsite communities and online spaces
3:50 PM, Wednesday 30 Aug 2017 (20 minutes)
This study aims to explore how students use online community environment - Peer-Wise software to construct knowledge about research methods concepts. It is based on the principles of the social constructivist approach (Vygotsky, 1978) and offers Peer-Wise as the environment, which mediates learning. It also is based on the principle that students facilitate each others' learning providing support and guidance at a necessary level (ZPD concept).
The paper covers projects (supported by internal Students Engagement in Educational Development (SEED) grant, 2015-2016 and 2016-2017) to increase students’ motivation to engage with a Health and Social Care Research Methods module by redesigning current curriculum and assessment delivery and enhancing their learning experience. This was achieved by creating opportunities for students to engage in self-assessment and peer-assessment using the PeerWise software.

Research methods modules often create challenges for students in engaging with the material, particularly on practice-orientated courses, where research design and its use of technical terminology seem less relevant to careers than more immediate applicable skills-based learning. Based on the pilot work in the 2014-2015 academic year; it was identified that both staff and students found peer assessment and peer feedback a valuable and useful method of teaching and learning.  However, students’ online participation (via Blackboard) was much lower compared to overall participation in the project. Therefore PeerWise software was introduced to the students to support their peer assessment experience.
Results of this study will be presented at the Congress and in the following paper.
Lincoln University, United Kingdom
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