In many instances, it is beneficial to students to do peer evaluations – that makes them look at submissions more critically and learn in the process, plus using a predetermined rubric helps identify the high points and the important performance criteria for an assignment. The Self and Peer Assessment feature in Blackboard allows students to submit an assignment to a dropbox, then to be randomly assigned several of them for review (anonymous option available) and offer feedback, and even include a self-evaluation, if desired.
In the current courses, we often have a discussion forum set up for similar purposes, where one has to submit an assignment – usually as attachment (and sometimes viewing of the discussion forum is restricted so that students can only access the other threads after creating their own). Then one will pick which papers they will read and provide feedback based on either suggested criteria or their own perception of a quality paper. Both papers and feedback are available to all students (or only those who have submitted in the case of “post first” forums). Submissions can be reviewed as soon as they become available, and an unequal number of feedback posts may result. Forum submissions are not restricted by date (a due date may be set up though).
With the more formal and structured Self and Peer Assessment, there is a submissions due date – no one can start reviewing other students’ papers until that date. All submissions become available at once. After the first due date passes, students gain access to 2-3 papers – or however many papers you specify – of the other students. Criteria have also been set up so students may choose to provide a grade for each criteria based on their judgment but using your guidelines. A model answer may be included in certain cases. Students can also provide a self-assessment which we currently don’t require in the forum setup.
Being anonymous allows for a more objective feedback. It’s easier to track students’ contributions, and in general this tool is more structured, and this structure may be preferred to the forum one. Please watch the videos below to learn more and make a better informed decision.
Note: Bb treats any student’s submission slot as a submission, so if a student doesn’t submit anything, the slot gets distributed as if there were a submission (see what that looks like in the From the Student Perspective Video).