This paper presents design guidelines for implementing a free-selection peer review protocol. “Free-selection” (FS) refers to the ability of students freely access all available peer work and choose which of them to read and review. A series of two studies on the free-selection protocol has provided evidence on the efficiency of the method. In the First study, the FS protocol was compared against the widely used assigned-pair one, where students work in instructor-defined dyads. In the Second study, further issues of the FS approach were evaluated, with our attention focused on students who, due to the freedom element of the protocol, do not receive reviews. Both studies paint a very promising picture of free-selection. However, several issues were also raised on how to effectively apply such a protocol. As the use of technology is necessary in the FS approach, we provide in this paper the design implications derived from the two studies regarding, (a) peer work availability, (b) non-reviewed works, (c) student population, (d) peer work visual representation, (e) peer work length, (f) presentation order, (g) double-blinded approach, (h) peer reviews availability, and (i) students’ approaches in selecting peer work for reading and reviewing.
This study provides field research evidence on the efficiency of a “free-selection” peer review assignment protocol as compared to the typically implemented “assigned-pair” protocol. The study employed 54 sophomore students who were randomly assigned into three groups: Assigned-Pair (AP) (the teacher assigns student works for review to student pairs), Free-Selection (FS) (students are allowed to freely explore and select peer work for review), and No Review (NR) (control group). AP and FS student groups studied and reviewed peer work in the domain of Computer Networking, supported by a web-based environment designed to facilitate the two peer review protocols. Our results indicate that students following the Free Selection protocol demonstrate (a) better domain learning outcomes, and (b) better reviewer skills, compared to the AP condition. Overall, the study analyzes the benefits and shortcomings of the FS vs AP review assignment protocol, providing evidence that the FS condition can be multiply beneficial to students who engage in peer review activities.
This study analyzes the benefits and limitations of a “free-selection” peer assignment protocol by comparing them to the widely implemented “assigned-pair” protocol. The primary motivation was to circumvent the issues that often appear to the instructors implementing peer review activities with pre-assigned groups, without posing additional workload to the instructor or diminishing the learning outcomes. In the study, 36 sophomore students in a Computer Networking course were randomly assigned into two conditions: 20 in Assigned-Pair, where the students worked in pre-defined dyad, and 17 in Free-Selection, where students were able to explore and select peer work for review. Result analysis showed a very strong tendency in favor of the Free-Selection students regarding both domain specific (conceptual) and domain-general (reviewing) knowledge.