Friday, June 28, 2013

Information literacy as discourse between peers #i3rgu

I'm catching up on sessions I didn't blog yesterday at at the i3 #i3rgu conference in Aberdeen, Scotland. Geoff Walton presented on Online conversation: information literacy as discourse between peers. The context was an exercise where new undergraduate students had to draft an essay, then give each other written online feedback, and then the students could redraft the essay for submission. Earlier articles on this intervention include Cleland and Walton (2012).
In this presentation he was concentrating on an analysis of the students' comments on each others' work. He found that they were most often talking about referencing, and so he analysed these comments specifically and identified five levels of discernment, ranging from comments which were talking about the quantity of references (e.g. that there were not enough) through to comments which were talking about the use of the references in context (so engaging in a higher-order way with the meaning of the source and the essay). Afterwards it occurred to me that this might correlate with some of the categorisations of reflective writing, but I didn't think of this in time to ask Geoff about it.
In their reflections on the peer feedback, some students said that they had found the exercise valuable in reflecting on their own work, and in understanding and giving citical feedback (about 10% said they didn't like the peer feedback element, which is relatively low). In the question time after Geoff's talk there was discussion about why students may respond positively or negatively to peer review. Possible elements included: whether or not it was a mark-bearing activity/task; the discipline; the attitude and perceptions of the tutor; the extent to which the peer-assessment was supported with guidance/training; whether the students had helped to develop the assessment criteria.

There is an article from one of the students:
Nixon, G. (2011) Online Peer Assessment: A Student Reflection. Innovative practice in higher education. 1 (1).

An article about the exercise (but not the analysis that was presented here) is:
Cleland, J. and Walton, G. (2012) Online peer assessment: helping to facilitate learning through participation. Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, (4).[]=124&path[]=100
Photo by Sheila Webber: Aberdeen University library entrance; they hosted a reception on Wednesday

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