Ertmer, P., Richardson, J., Belland, B., Camin, D., Connolly, P., Coulthard, G., . . . Mong, C.
(2007). Using Peer Feedback to Enhance the Quality of Student Online Postings: An
Exploratory Study. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication, 12(2), 412-433.
This study focuses on the use of peer feedback in an online learning environment. The authors wanted to see if students would benefit from peer feedback to relieve the demands placed on the instructor for timely feedback for discussion postings. To do this, students were provided feedback from the instructor for the first 6 weeks of the course. This gave students a model to follow when they became the ones providing the feedback. For the last 6 weeks of the course, students were only required to answer one discussion question but were asked to give feedback to two of their peers.
To ensure the validity of the study, two researchers also blindly rated the discussion questions to ensure a consistent method of scoring from the beginning to the end of the course. This would allow the researchers to determine if students posts were becoming better as they received the feedback from their peers. According to the results, feedback from the instructor was and continued to be more valued by the students, but students did see a benefit from having a variety of perspectives from their classmates. Students’ scores did suffer nor did they get better when the peer feedback was used meaning that this may be an effective method for providing feedback once students have reached optimal writing performance.
Peer feedback, implemented as it is outlined in this study, can help instructors to lighten the load of providing timely feedback to students. By starting with some time to model appropriate feedback methods and providing a rubric, instructors can provide a structure for students to give effective feedback to their classmates which will, according to this study, keep students writing at the level they have already achieved. It is mentioned that providing a rubric that allows for more growth may offer different results, but for the purposes of classroom implementation, this study offers a framework that can be beneficial for both students and instructors.