The Open UniversitySkip to content

Learning and peer feedback in shared online spaces

Thomas, Elaine; Rosewell, Jon; Kear, Karen and Donelan, Helen (2014). Learning and peer feedback in shared online spaces. In: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Networked Learning 2014, pp. 382–385.

Full text available as:
PDF (Version of Record) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (207kB) | Preview
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Peer feedback, where students evaluate and give comments on each other's work, is a valued form of learning activity. Giving and receiving peer feedback, particularly if assessed, encourages students to engage with the assessment criteria and reflect on their work, promoting a deeper understanding. This paper introduces a project to investigate approaches to using peer feedback in shared online spaces, as part of distance learning courses. One approach uses a wiki, where students each contribute their work and other students provide evaluative comments and advice. The other approach uses OpenStudio, a 'studio' environment where students upload self-produced media objects, such as photographs and presentations, and comment on each other's work. Both approaches have produced high levels of student engagement. An initial examination of peer feedback in a wiki indicates that the quality of feedback is high, but students do not make as much use of it as they might. Survey results for a course using a studio (with feedback from peers but not tutors) reveals some students who, while they enjoy the sharing activities, believe they need 'expert' opinion.

This project will evaluate these two approaches to online peer feedback in order to identify successful features in terms of (a) engaging students and (b) promoting student learning. The project will also identify areas for improvement. The first stage will map the uses of peer feedback in Computing and IT courses of the UK Open University. This stage will document: the educational objectives and intended learning outcomes of the activities; what students share and discuss in the activities; and, if the activities are assessed, how this is done. The second stage will evaluate the peer feedback activities in three courses which use online spaces for sharing and peer feedback. Data will be collected from students and tutors through focus groups and online surveys. The course forums will also be used to invite students to give their views. A qualitative analysis will be undertaken of online artefacts and interactions.

Skills in evaluating the work of others and giving constructive feedback are important, both in education and beyond. This project will help develop these skills in online learning students. It will do this by generating case studies, investigating learning designs and proposing best practice guidelines for using and assessing online peer feedback.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Copyright Holders: 2014 the Authors
ISBN: 1-86220-304-0, 978-1-86220-304-4
Keywords: peer feedback; networked learning; 'studio' learning; wikis; online learning; assessment
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Computing and Communications
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Research Group: eSTEeM
Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Item ID: 39941
Depositing User: Elaine Thomas
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2014 13:13
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 13:36
Share this page:

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU