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PEER COLLABORATION THROUGH PERSONAL RESPONSE SYSTEMS

C. Kaur1, L. Macquarie1, M. Raghavan2

1Monash University (AUSTRALIA)
2University of Tasmania (AUSTRALIA)
There are several key teaching and learning challenges faced by the instructor when managing student cohorts in a traditional tutorial setting. Teaching cohorts with varying levels of literacy, numeracy and understanding of basic concepts presents facilitators with a unique set of key teaching and learning challenges. The problem is further exacerbated by low levels of interactions in class and inconsistencies in delivery across multiple tutorials. There are also inconsistencies in delivery and application of key concepts by instructors. In order to enhance peer collaboration and interactions, and to ensure consistencies in delivery, we introduced the use of a personal response system that incorporates both individuals and team-based modules. By combining the intervention of advanced technology, co-teaching and peer collaboration, we expect that this new approach will enable us to produce a better teaching and learning environment, one that is conducive to greater student achievement.

Positive group experiences shown to contribute to student learning, retention and overall success. We found that the percentage average of correct answers obtained by students are significantly higher when the tasks are performed in teams. The results are consistent across large and small class settings. Our findings indicate that the use of a personal response system can enhance student collaboration and instructor interaction. It allows for real-time feedback and is inspired by the idea that students’ diverse needs and various acquisitions of basic concepts can be addressed if there is strong synergy between content, pedagogy, and technology.

The use of technology that caters for group work allows facilitators to effectively engage with students. The overall results show that irrespective of the size of the tutorial groups, a personal response system encourages peer collaboration and fosters an active learning environment. The opportunity to work with others can provide distinct benefits. It may increase productivity and performance and one can achieve much more than when working individually. Furthermore, the adoption of a common teaching approach (group work) and the use of a common feedback tool has encouraged better interaction and communication between tutors.