Peer Feedback in CDIO Courses in Organisation and Leadership

Peer Feedback in CDIO Courses in Organisation and Leadership

D. Bienkowska, E. Lovén (2017).  Peer Feedback in CDIO Courses in Organisation and Leadership. 10.

Feedback on one’s performances is central to any learning experience and can certainly be considered as a cornerstone of CDIO-based engineering education. Our students expect and crave feedback on their assignments, and it seems they never can get enough of it. At the same time, providing feedback is time-consuming and resource-intensive, so as teachers we are left with difficult decisions regarding how to work with feedback within limited means. One possibility of extending the amount of feedback provided to our students is working with peer feedback where students themselves provide feedback to each other. However, this needs to be implemented in a structured way and peer feedback activities need to be treated as learning experiences in their own right.

In this paper we will share our experiences of working with peer feedback during a large-scale first-year course of a CDIO-based engineering program. The main topics of this course are organisation, motivation, and leadership and besides these subjects a vital aspect of this course is development of skills such as analysing, critical reasoning, and written presentation. We have recently re-designed this course with inspiration from the work of Kristina Edström and Jakob Kuttenkeuler and their course development. Our new design entailed exchanging a previous group writing assignment stretched in time over an entire semester for several short individual writing assignments, ongoing for two-three weeks each.

For each assignment the students received feedback in three ways – extensive written peer feedback from a few of their classmates, points given by the teacher (0 points for incomplete submission, 1 point for “good enough” text, 2 points for excellent text), as well as group feedback from teachers where we pointed out common problems in the texts and displayed good examples. This course design has helped our students in achieving several important outcomes, namely increased learning, documented development of own writing skills, and seeing different perspectives on every assignment through reading several texts written by peers. Some of the challenges we had to struggle with included difficulties with giving peer feedback with guidelines provided by teachers as only help – this was addressed through development of “feedback forms” that gave more structure to the peer feedback. Furthermore, students found it problematic to give accurate feedback without being anonymous – they told us that they tended to hold back on their criticism when it was known who gave feedback to whom. As future leaders and engineers it is important to be able to deliver feedback in a professional and open manner so we decided we would not make peer feedback anonymous, and instead explained the significance of providing feedback as a professional skill.

In conclusion we suggest that both giving feedback and receiving/making use of feedback are vital skills that increase capability for life-long learning. Development of these skills needs to be supported, as most students have not had the opportunity to develop them in previous education. We propose that feedback-related skills should be trained and developed within CDIO-based education in a gradual and integrated way.

Proceedings of the 13th International CDIO Conference in Calgary, Canada, June 18-22 2017

Authors (New): 
Dzamila Bienkowska
Eva Lovén
Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
Peer feedback
Course design
Skills development
Active learning
CDIO Standard 8
CDIO Standard 11
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