What Is peerScholar?

Grounded in scholarly research, peerScholar is a powerful online pedagogical tool that helps develop your students’ critical- and creative-thinking skills. peerScholar facilitates this through a series of three phases: writing, evaluating, and reflecting.

Phase 1: Writing In the first phase, students log into the system and are presented with a given assignment. This assignment is created by you to fit the teaching goals of your course, and can take many forms—a written response to an open-ended question, a case evaluation, or any sort of multimedia creation. During this stage, students are also provided with a grading rubric for evaluating their peers’ assignments in Phase 2. As an instructor, you determine the timeframe during which students have access to the writing phase of the assignment.

Phase 2: Evaluating When the writing phase closes, students begin the evaluation phase. It is during this stage that students can develop their critical-thinking skills and increase their ability to perform quality-based discrimination.

The first time students log into peerScholar within Phase 2, they see their own submissions presented alongside those of a set number of their peers (the number of submissions presented is determined by you, the instructor, when setting up your assignment). These peer submissions can be anonymous, depending on your preference. The immediate juxtaposition of the students’ own work with that of their peers helps them to better understand their own strengths and weaknesses more deeply than simply receiving feedback from their instructor.

During the evaluation phase, students must review their peers’ work and provide them with an evaluation and some critical feedback.

Phase 3: Reflecting As soon as the evaluation phase closes, students can log back into peerScholar and immediately receive their peers’ evaluations and written feedback. They don’t have to wait for weeks to receive marks and feedback, at which point the opportunity for learning might be lost. Depending on your preference as an instructor, students may be given the opportunity to revise and resubmit their work based on the feedback, and submit a brief reflection piece that explains how they took their peers’ feedback into account in their revision.

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