Investigating Incentives for Students to Provide Peer Feedback in a Semi-Open Online Course: An Experimental Study

Title: Investigating Incentives for Students to Provide Peer Feedback in a Semi-Open Online Course: An Experimental Study

Authors: German Neubaum (University of Duisburg-Essen), Astrid Wichmann (Ruhr University Bochum), Sabrina C. Eimler (University of Duisburg-Essen), Nicole C. Krämer (University of Duisburg-Essen)

Abstract: In open online learning courses such as MOOCs, peer feedback has been regarded as a powerful method to give elaborated feedback on weekly assignments. Yet motivating students to invest effort in peer feedback on top of existing work load is difficult. Students might give insufficient feedback or do not give feedback at all. Students’ hesitation to provide feedback might be related to the lack of visibility of spent effort during feedback provision. Alternatively, students might provide less feedback due to lack of perceived benefits. In this study, we investigated the effect of two incentive types on peer feedback provision on weekly assignments. In total, 91 students enrolled in a semi-open online course were announced to receive either (1) a peer rating on their feedback or (2) open access to assignment solutions or (3) no incentive. Results indicate that the incentive type did not affect feedback provision in general, yet it had an impact on the content of the feedback. Students receiving (1) a rating-feedback incentive wrote longer and more specific feedback in comparison to students receiving (2) an information-access incentive or (3) no incentive. Results contribute to findings from peer assessment research that students are more likely to provide detailed feedback if students feel that feedback is attended to. Furthermore, results inform teachers and practitioners on how to encourage students to provide peer feedback in open learning environments.

This contribution to OpenSym 2014 will be made available as part of the OpenSym 2014 proceedings on or after August 27, 2014.

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