Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

Can Learners Become Teachers? Evaluating the Merits of Student Generated Content and Peer Assessment

Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

Can Learners Become Teachers? Evaluating the Merits of Student Generated Content and Peer Assessment

Article excerpt


Students today have had broad exposure to multimedia learning resources such as those available from YouTube and the Khan Academy. We believe that students may be effective at producing such content and find the process engaging, and that it facilitates their learning. Highlighting exemplary student content and making it available to other students as a study resource can possibly add further value. Over a decade ago it would have been financially difficult for large numbers of students to have individual access to recording and video editing facilities, unless in a film or media course. Today the required technology is relatively ubiquitous and students can easily both create and assess short video presentations.

The use of student generated content and peer assessment is not new, and has been previously discussed in the literature (e.g., Basheti, Ryan, Woulfe, & Bartimote-Aufflick, 2010; Dochy, Segers, & Sluijsman, 1999; Zhang, 2012). Many academics integrate peer assessed presentations into their teaching (e.g., Langan et al., 2008) and peer review of written work also occurs (e.g., Lundstrom & Baker, 2009). When used appropriately, peer review of assessment is seen to be sound pedagogical practice (e.g., Biggs, 2003; Van Zundert, Sluijsmans, & Van Merrienboer, 2009) and may even lead to higher performance (Ng, 2012). However, Biggs (2003) emphasized that students might be anxious about their peers assessing them for marks and stated that the volume of peer review work requires careful moderation.

The research described in this paper situates peer review in a contemporary context and investigates the perceptions of the digital natives who came of age liking and commenting critically on a range of amateur, user generated content. In the project, a peer assessed student generated video assignment was introduced into a first year information technology unit, and exemplary submissions were subsequently included as teaching material. The aim of the project was to explore student perceptions of the value of both the creation of video content and exposure to other students' work though peer assessment and inclusion of exemplars as unit material. The expectation was that students' familiarity with peer assessment in Web 2.0 technologies may reduce anxiety, which has previously been identified as a drawback of peer review (Topping, 2009).



Including the development of student generated content in teaching helps instructors to adopt a more supportive role and allows students to construct their own knowledge (Wheeler, Yeomans, & Wheeler, 2008). Requiring students to generate content to be used by other students in their learning is also believed to encourage students to have a deeper engagement with learning because awareness of an audience encourages more thoughtful authoring (Wheeler et al., 2008). Lee, McLoughlin, and Chan (2008) found this to be the case in their study where information technology students collaboratively developed podcasts for sharing. From a constructivist perspective, video may also be a starting point for deeper and more active learning (Fee & Fee, 2003).

Student development of video material has been promoted as a means for students to enhance both traditional learning outcomes and new media literacy outcomes (Kearney, 2011; Lee & McLoughlin, 2007). In a study undertaken in an undergraduate organic chemistry unit (Jordan et al., 2015), student generated video content was created and used to help other chemistry students, and the authors found that students who were provided with the peer-created video content required less assistance in the laboratory and performed better.

A student video assessment may also help to verify the author of the work. In an era where assignments may be very cheaply outsourced (e.g., Lines, 2016), video assignments may force students to take part in some of the assessment task. …

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