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PeerWise is an online, freely available system, which allows students to create an annotated repository for multiple-choice questions. This platform allows students to write, answer, rate and discuss questions related to the course content. In this way PeerWise combines peer-assessment activities with social activities such as liking and rating the contributions from peers. In addition the platform contains competitive features such as rewarding of badges based on active participation, automatic scoring of results from answering questions, and display of rating from peers.

Thus, PeerWise provides a participatory learning environment where students are actively engaged in communicating their current understanding of scientific concepts into meaningful questions and answers.

PeerWise can be accessed here peerwise.cs.auckland.ac.nz

PeerWise as a tool for Feedback and Assessment

Feedback and formative assessment are some of the most powerful tools to support student learning and motivation. However, they are also very time-consuming activities for teachers and instructors. As a consequence in many courses at Nat-Tech students are offered none or only sparse personal feedback prior to the final assessment.

Using PeerWise provides students with an opportunity for frequent formative assessment and corrective feedback, with only limited additional workload to the teachers. There is a risk that students upload wrong answers. However in practice this will often be corrected by comments from the peers, and moderation from the teachers is rarely necessary.

Although PeerWise is based solely on peer-assessment, studies have demonstrated that the use of the systems enhance student motivation and engagement. In addition, several studies have demonstrated a correlation between the student´s activity in PeerWise and the outcome of the assessment.

An important gain for the teachers and instructors is that they are able to view questions, answers and comments. This provides a unique possibility to assess the outcome of the teaching by monitoring the learning and understanding of the students, so that the teaching can be adjusted accordingly.