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J. Arciuli1, N. Kemp2, D. Evans1

1University of Sydney (AUSTRALIA)
2University of Tasmania (AUSTRALIA)
One of the most powerful influences on learning is feedback (Hattie & Timperley, 2007). Feedback has been defined as “… information with which the learner can confirm, add to, overwrite, tune, or restructure information in memory, whether that information is domain knowledge, meta-cognitive knowledge, beliefs about self and tasks, or cognitive tactics and strategies” (Winne & Butler, 1994, p.5740). Peer feedback is a unique resource for students and instructors. It facilitates active, student-centred learning and promotes the acquisition of lifelong skills including critical appraisal of the self and others. However, the implementation of peer feedback activities in university curricula is not straightforward. From the student’s perspective, open judgement of peers can be an emotionally laden task (Liu & Carless, 2006). Additionally, students may be asked to spend considerable time providing feedback while experiencing a concomitant delay in receiving peer evaluation of their own work (Ballantyne, Hughes, & Mylonas, 2002). Engaging, time-effective technology for eliciting, analysing and disseminating anonymous peer feedback in a timely fashion for large groups is not readily available.

We are proposing innovative technology for the collation and analysis of peer feedback provided by students via mobile phone text messages. A key feature will be automated and immediate delivery of a personalised summary of this peer feedback sent to students’ phones via text message. The project will break new ground in peer feedback activities for large groups by transforming the utility of a portable and inexpensive device for bi-directional electronic communication, one that most students already own and enjoy using.

This project aims to:
1. Create an automated open source technology that will elicit and disseminate anonymous peer feedback via text messaging – a system that is scalable (from 1 to 1000 students at a time) and flexible (instructor can set a number of parameters).
2. Implement this technology within a pedagogically sound student-centred framework across a variety of learning activities, in a range of disciplines, and at different institutions.
3. Evaluate whether this technology enhances learning and teaching by examining the appeal and effectiveness of this technology from the perspective of both students and instructors.