VIU Campus

Facilitating Peer Feedback

The Discussions tool can be used for many different purposes, including as a space to allow students to review and provide feedback on each other's work.

For example, you may want to have everyone in the course be able to review and leave comments on student's final projects. Alternatively, you may want to encourage students to have their peers review a draft of their research papers and to provide suggestions on how it can be improved before they submit it to you (the instructor) for marks. 

There are two main ways you can set up a Discussion Topic to facilitate peer review. If you would like all the students in the course to be able to see and review each other's projects, you will want to set up an Open Discussion Topic. An Open Discussion Topic is best used when students should be viewing all the projects submitted by their peers and providing a few short pieces of feedback on some of them.

If you would like students to provide detailed feedback and would like to make sure that each student in the course receives feedback from their peers, you will want to set up a Group Discussion Topic. With a Group Discussion Topic, students will be broken off into smaller groups and will only be able to see and review a few of the projects that have been created by their peers. By making it so that students will only be seeing a few projects, this can help prevent students from being overwhelmed by the amount of projects available and will help encourage them to spend more time providing detailed feedback on only the few specific projects that they can see. 

  1. From the course navigation bar, select Communication and then Groups.

  2. Click the New Category button.

  3. Give your Category a name (For example Peer Feedback Groups).

  4. Underneath the Enrolment Type heading, select an enrolment type
    •   Groups of # is best if you want to randomly sort your students into groups of a specific size 
    • # of Groups is best if you want to randomly soft your students into a set number of groups 
    • # of Groups - No Auto Enrolment is best if you want to manually assign students to groups
  5. Depending on which enrolment type you chose, enter either the number of groups you want to create or the number of students you want in each group in the box provided.

  6. Under the Additional Options heading, check the box for Set up discussion area 

  7. Choose the forum where you want to place your peer feedback discussion topic or create a new forum

  8. Select Create New Topic.
  9. Click the blue Save button. 

  10. Choose whether you want to use a single topic (default) or a separate topic per group (learn more about these choices here)

  11. Give your discussion topic a title (required) and description (optional) 

  12.  Click Create and Next to create your discussion and move on, or Add Another to create a second group topic

  13.  Click Done

If you used an automatic enrolment group type, you will want to review your group enrolment to ensure that all groups have an appropriate number of students. You can check the group enrolments and manually adjust enrolments from the groups tool.

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