Teaching Matters

PS4 R2 Promoting online collaboration through assessment

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Teaching Matters 2020 | Presentation Details | 1 December 20201 Dec 2020


Promoting online collaboration through assessment


  • Greg Oates, School of Education, CALE*
  • Carol Murphy, School of Education, CALE
  • Nicole Maher, School of Education, CALE



Presentation Type

Showcase Presentation


Room 2




COVID-19 has necessitated an entirely online approach; with subsequent opportunities to rethink our classroom pedagogies and re-examine the ways we have previously offered our online units. There have long been questions of how to encourage student engagement and peer collaboration in learning. Student engagement levels have always fluctuated, but fostering active learning has proved challenging in the online environment.

We know that assessment is a significant driver of student learning. Formative Assessment (or ‘assessment for learning’) can be used to not only inform students about their learning progress, but to also signal value to them with respect to the learning activity. Thus, formative assessment activities that can be conducted online to facilitate peer collaboration have become increasingly valuable.

This presentation will showcase two learning and assessment approaches which we have trialled in a blended learning environment in two mathematics education units which scaffold student learning through formative feedback, and contribute to final grades. The first is our attempt to adapt Team-Based-Learning (TBL, Michaelsen et al., 2002) for use online; with the challenge of asynchronous access. The second approach involves utlising the award-winning programme PeerWise, to explicitly encourage peer-to-peer learning online. We have used PeerWise as the focus of an assessment task which requires students to critically reflect on their own, and their peers’, work.

This presentation will consider lessons we have learned from the COVID-19 response which we might use to further develop these approaches; and examples of student feedback and learning which support the quality and effectiveness of each initiative.


Bonwell, C. C. (1997). Using active learning as assessment in the postsecondary classroom. The Clearing House, 71(2), 73-76.

Michaelsen, L. K., Bauman Knight, A., & Dee Fink, L. (Eds). (2002). Team-based learning: A transformative use of small groups. Praeger.

PeerWise. (2020). PeerWise. https://peerwise.cs.auckland.ac.nz/

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