Progress Update – Pilot Trials of the Improved Tool

The new changes proposed to the tool (see post 1 of Phase2) were all implemented.  Three modules were chosen to do the pilot trials. They were:

Level 4 modules:

CSY1043: Fundamentals of Computing Systems (Tutor: Dr Michael Opoku)

CSY1019: Software Engineering1 (Tutor: Mark Johnson)

Level 7 Module:

CSYM028: Modern Computer Architecture (Tutor: Michael Opoku)

All the above modules had group work as part of their assignment.  The modules were all set up by the tool. A list of all the groups were then imported from a csv file. This csv file could have been exported from NILE (NILE allows you to form student groups). A web link (URL) to enable peer marking was generated by the tool for each module. This link enables each student to sign in using the student id and then rate each member in their group on a scale of 0-5. 0 shows little to none of the expected contribution and 5 demonstrates a large contribution to the final piece of work. Self-assessment or rating your own self was not permitted (as opposed to Spark Plus). An announcement was placed in each of the above modules to inform the students about the link and procedure for peer marking. Most students participated in the peer marking process. A few students who did not participate were chased using NILE reminders/emails.

A group technical report and presentation were submitted by each group as the final piece of work. This is now being assessed/graded by the tutors using rubrics on NILE.  The next step would be to enter the group grade into the tool (GPM) for each group. The tool would then combine the group grade with the average peer score received by each student to calculate the individual grade for each student.

The final list of grades for each student may then be exported to a csv file. It is also possible to export only the peer scores received by each student to a csv file.



Progress Update – SparkPlus – Claire Leer Interview

An interview was conducted with Claire Leer,  Senior Lecturer in Business School in the first week of January 2020. Claire has been using SparkPlus, another group/peer assessment tool for the last 4 years for her Event Management undergraduate course. It is used in one of the modules consisting of over 100 students. The license is paid for annually by the university and costs about £1500/year. A walkthrough of the SparkPlus tool was given to me during the interview. Key points from the interview:-

– SparkPlus has been useful for Claire. She likes the functionality offered by SparkPlus. The main/unique feature of the tool that she likes is that the tool allows students  to provide textual comments in addition to ratings/scores to each other group member. These comments are moderated by Claire and then published anyonymously.

– SparkPlus provides an individual account for each student where he/she can login. The tool is used by Claire in two phases: (a) the students are asked to provide a formative assessment of their peers in the group. This assessment includes rating them using a scale and providing textual comments on their contribution. Claire then organises a meeting with each group to discuss the feedback provided by peers and resolve any issues. (b) the students are asked to provide a summative assessment of the their peers in the group. The scores are generally improved as a result of the formative assessment.

Claire finds the user interface of teh tool quite clumsy and not very intuitive. She was supportive of developing a new in-house tool within the university.