Canadian Engineering Education Association (CEEA17) Conf. CEEA17; Paper 110 University of Toronto release_ep6sjp7ftncujmf5kqnmghqeqa

by Andrea Bradford, Julie Vale

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Urban Water Systems Design is a required, senior engineering design course for undergraduate students in the Water Resources and Environmental Engineering programs at the University of Guelph. A central component to this course has been a challenging, stormwater management design and simulation project. Recently, enrollment has increased from approximately 50 to 90 students. With these increased numbers, it is no longer feasible for the instructor to provide individualized, rich and robust feedback on the project. Rather than eliminating or simplifying the project, which is a highly valuable learning activity, peer assessment was investigated as an option. In Fall 2016, peer assessment was implemented for two term tests and a design project. In addition to addressing resource constraints, this shift in responsibilities takes advantage of the active, collaborative, learning opportunities provided by grading tests in class and giving feedback to and receiving feedback from others on design work and report writing. To achieve the largest benefit possible, best practices suggested in the literature were followed, such as training peer assessors, including developing a rubric with the class to enhance understanding of expectations; using multiple assessors to address student concerns about fairness; and incorporating reflection on the peer assessment activities. Data were collected through two surveys administered before and after the course's peer evaluation activities and through graded reflections on peer evaluation activities. Most students thought they learned as much or more than they would have without the incorporation of peer evaluation. Based on predominantly positive student comments and fair grading, peer grading of tests will be used in future with a few minor modifications. Most students also found the peer assessment of design reports to be fair, with a reasonable time commitment. Some students were troubled by the variability of grades given by peers. Enhanced training was suggested to help students grade more consistently and provide more effective feedback.
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