[A report from Iain Darby, Lecturer in Paramedic Science]
David Biggins came to the Paramedic Science team away day during the summer to talk to us about Peerwise. Peerwise is a website that allows students to compose questions for their course peers and answer questions that their peers have written.
Following this session we decided to introduce Peerwise in a Level 5 Pathophysiology Unit which is assessed by written examination. This is the first time the unit has run and was designed as a blended learning, flipped classroom approach. At the session with David we discussed the relative pros and cons of assigning summative marks to engagement with Peerwise, however for this unit we decided against this and hoped that the students would engage with Peerwise as a tool for learning.
We carefully considered how to set up the unit on Peerwise to allow students to get the most from it, and to encourage them to participate in a meaningful way. Similarly, students were signposted after each session to create questions on Peerwise based on the topic they had just covered.
We were very pleased with the overall engagement in Peerwise as a peer learning tool. There were 180 questions that students had set (28 students in the cohort). This also acted as a ‘mock exam’ for the students, with a lot of questions that were very similar to exam questions.
Most students evaluated Peerwise positively. Some didn’t engage very much but still scored well on the exam. Exam results ranged from 59% to 85% which were quite remarkable results.
What were the key learning points?
- Students need to be reminded to contribute (both set and answer questions)
- It was useful to keep an eye on the questions being produced and provide feedback to the students, as they were unsure if they were producing questions at the right level
- Questions were added by the unit lead and the tag ‘exam’ was used in order to demonstrate the correct depth of question required for the exam