Increasing the effect of peer review

Johannetta Gordijn, Bertien Broekhans, Kevin Dunn, Jolien Ubacht

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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Peer review is increasingly used in higher education, also at Delft University of Technology. Unfortunately, the potential of student-student feedback often appears to be undervalued, making it less effective. The quality of the reviews is not as good and they are less constructive than expected. Moreover, not all students take giving and or receiving feedback serious. Since 2005 the peer review process in the course Preparation Master Thesis has been continuously developing with the aim to increase the contribution of constructive feedback to the learning process. In the course students learn the essential academic skills to write a research proposal. More than 1200 students have participated so far. Our objective is to support students in developing a suitable and feasible research design. For intermediary feedback on drafts and formative assessment, peer review (PR) is an essential element of this course. In the first years of the course the PR procedure was similar as well known in academic and other professional circles: students received collegial informal peer review of their ideas in class, and a more formal written peer review of the full draft of the deliverable. From 2012 the course was also offered fully online. Without class meetings, and far less student-teacher interaction the peer review procedure became more critical for the students’ learning experience, since informal interaction was hardly arranged. Continuous evaluation led to adaptation of the peer review process in the course. In this paper we reflect on the improvements that we have made over the years: - to consider feedback seriously: rebut and asses the reviews - to learn how to give constructive feedback: introduce a repeated review process, evaluating the reviews and assessing the rebuttal - to structure feedback: using an assessment form, later a rubric - to reduce peer pressure: using an anonymous review - to improve trust, confidence and comfort: experiments with peer groups Based on the most recent lessons learned we will discuss our latest project integrating the peer review process in a game-based learning environment. Based on the data and experience from the previous course runs we assume that game incentives will improve learning results as students are encouraged to engage in the interactive peer review process and further their professional behaviour giving constructive feedback. We aim to make this into an adaptable learning format for any programme that wishes to adopt a similar approach to increase the learning experience and effect of peer review.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of ICERI2018
Subtitle of host publication11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
PublisherInternational Association of Technology, Education and Development (IATED)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)978-84-09-05948-5
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventICERI 2018: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation - Sevilla, Spain
Duration: 12 Nov 201814 Nov 2018
Conference number: 11


ConferenceICERI 2018


  • peer review
  • peer feedback
  • game-based learning
  • higher education


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