Interactive and Collaborative Learning in an e-Learning Environment: Using the Peer Review Process to Teach Writing and Research Skills to Postgraduate Students

By Arianne Rourke and Kathryn Coleman.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Many educators have expressed the importance of providing feedback to students in higher education (Brown & Knight, 1994; Hounsell, 2003) and that formative feedback is recognized as important during the revision phase of writing (Flower, 1985; Topping, 1998). There have been many studies on the usefulness of peer review in higher education particularly for facilitating online learning (Carlson & Berry, 2003; Raadt, Toleman, & Watson, 2005). There has however, been contradictory evidence as to the reliability and validity of peer assessment (Brown, Bull & Pendlebury, 1997; Topping et al., 2000; Segers & Dochy, 2001) as it has been suggested that good students under rate their performance and less accomplished students often over rate their performance (Dochy et. al., 1999; Lejk & Wyvill, 2001). Students can misinterpret the assessment criteria (Orsmond et. al. 1996; 1997; 2000; 2002), causing confusion when comparing peer to teacher feedback. There has been a lot of focus in the literature on the process of peer review particularly as a tool for providing feedback. There has however, been less emphasis placed on the collaborative nature of the process and its value towards life-long learning. As Collins, Harkin and Nind (2001) explained “good learning is collaborative both because of the centrality of communication for learning and because thinking is, itself, a social practice” (p.110). When peer review is used in an online collaborative learning (OCL) environment, as Brunk-Chavez and Miller (2006) discussed, collaborative learning can empower the student and “encourages exploratory talk” (p.5), which is above and beyond its role as an assessment tool. Rowland (2000) sees this interchange as a form of “collaborative enquiry” where “mutual support” (p.122) is provided. This paper will explore this concept within the framework of discussing the adoption of online peer review to teach Postgraduate students how to write a research paper in Arts Administration.

Keywords: Online Collaborative Learning, Online Peer Review, Postgraduate Coursework Degrees, Use of Worked Examples in Writing, Collaborative Learning, Teaching Editing Skills, E-Learning, Writing on Art, Art Administration, Online Communities, Online Community, Calibrated Peer Review, Computer Mediated Peer Review

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp.169-182. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.488MB).

Dr. Arianne Rourke

Lecturer, The School of Art History and Art Education, College of Fine Arts, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia

My research interests are in online Learning and teaching, visual literacy and the application of Cognitive load theory to improving instructional design in higher education specifically in the area of improving the teaching of undergraduate design history and postgraduate arts administration towards the long term retention of learning.

Dr Kathryn Coleman

Student, The School of Art History and Art Education, College of Fine Arts, The University of New South Wales, Marrickville, NSW, Australia

Kathryn Coleman is Creative Arts Coordinator at St Dominic’s College and Postgraduate Research student in the School of Art History and Education at the College of Fine Arts, UNSW. Her research is in the field of eLearning in the Arts and it implications for postgraduate online learners and the Arts as a whole. She has an interest in online communication, eLearning management systems and uses of social software and its implications to teaching and learning in the future.


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