We wanted to share with you a valuable tool that we recently implemented called iPeer.
iPeer is an open source web application application that allows instructors to develop and deliver rubric-based peer evaluations, to review and release student comments, to build progress report forms online, and to analyze evaluation results.
During our plans to move from self-hosting to managed-hosting last year, we needed to find a replacement for our in-house-developed peer-evaluation system.
About Peer Evaluation
Many courses often have a group-assignment component and groups are formed within classes and students collaborate on completing them. Usually for the purposes of formative assessment, after the group-assignment is completed, students were to evaluate each other based on various performance attributes: quality of work, quantity of work, attitude, punctuality, etc. In the past, instructors would create evaluations and hand them to students who are expected to complete their peer assessments and return them to the instructor. The instructor can use the data to judge whether a group is functional or not and make corrections if needed.
Traditionally, hundreds of paper-copies were delivered to students and someone would have to collate and tabulate the results. In class sizes of thirty or less, the work is somewhat tolerable. In our case, we have one course with approximately 400 enrolled. You can probably imagine the severe drain in resources for collating that number of evaluations... Instructors and admin staff were in need of an automated solution.
To our surprise, there aren't actually any solutions like this on the market - even paid ones. Fortunately, we came across this iPeer system that was developed by the University of British Columbia (UBC). With a little help from them, we were able to set this up on our system. As an added bonus, UBC is a Blackboard shop and also developed a Building Block that allows iPeer and Learn to exchange grade/group/student data.
We have had success with piloting iPeer and wanted to share this amongst the Blackboard Community. Aside from being used at UBC and at our institution, a quick Google search showed that Ohio State University (College of Nursing) uses this as well.
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