Enhancing Student Learning through Peer Review in a Wiki-based e-Gallery
Editor: Kovacevic, Ahmed, Ion, William, McMahon, Chris, Buck, Lyndon and Hogarth, Peter
Author: Trowsdale, Dan; McKay, Alison
Section: Design Teaching Environment 1
An important aspect of design pedagogy lies in providing students with opportunities to discuss their own and other students’ work in progress with students and tutors. Traditionally this was achieved in studio settings where each student had their own physical space and their work could be viewed and discussed on an informal ad-hoc basis. The introduction of computers to studio settings has reduced opportunities for viewing other students’ work in progress because work is hidden on the hard disc, submitted electronically and archived in places inaccessible to other learners and tutors. As a result, opportunities for learning from others in studio-based learning environments are diminishing. An e-gallery is a virtual, on-line environment within which artists and designers can display their work. In this paper we report experiences of using an e-gallery to enhance student learning in the context of a second year undergraduate product design project where students carry out user research, design solutions and then build prototypes that they evaluate with potential users. The e-gallery was built on widely available Wiki technology, embedded within a virtual learning environment, and provided an online space where students could display their work in progress through the project; the content of the e-gallery was generated entirely by student learners.
The project is designed to give students experience of a whole product design and development process. As such, the project begins with students being given a brief and participating in a user experience activity where they can gain understanding of the problems to be addressed. At a number of points in the project, students submit work in progress to the e-gallery. The work is reviewed in a small group (of approximately six students) with peer-to-peer reviews and comments. Once this review process has been completed the e-gallery is opened to all (approximately fifty) cohort members in order that they may view other students work and comments. As a result, each student has an opportunity to view up to fifty other peer projects, including peer reviews and tutors’ feedback.
Early experiences of running the project in this way have been positive. Results suggest that the opportunity for analysis and reflection upon others students’ work supports deeper learning, while the open access to all learners’ work in the gallery generates motivation to produce higher quality work from the early stages of the project. The framework of the Wiki allows for the recording of both peer-to-peer review and tutor-to-learner feedback. As this is used as a submission and feedback tool during the early stages of the project, feedback and peer reviews can be easily focused on providing formative assessment for learning as well as summative assessment of learning. Student feedback indicates that this has been a worthwhile and successful use of technology to enhance learning. A comparison of student performance with previous cohorts of students who did the same project without the e-gallery provides evidence to support our assertion that the introduction of the technology enhanced student learning.