This is the blog for the SGC4L project, funded from the JISC Assessment and Feedback programme and led by the Physics Education Research Group at the University of Edinburgh.

As well as this blog, the project wiki contains documents and information on the progress, development and dissemination activities associated with the project.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

PeerWise assessment schemes

The third and final PeerWise assessment task in Physics 1A is now underway. Each of these tasks has been summatively assessed, using algorithms to translate the PeerWise scoreboard score into an assignment mark. This is a trickier process than you might think: there are a quartet of files on the main project wiki which describe a couple of approaches to doing this and give Excel template files implementing each algorithm.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Third and final Peerwise exercise in Physics 1A

This week sees the third and final PeerWise exercise in our Physics 1A course. We've collected together some of the material that we used to introduce and scaffold the activities and to provide feedback to students after the assessment activities have finished.

The resources are all available as a self-contained web-extract from our online course notes system.

The timeline is as follows:

  • Week 5: first PeerWise exercise introduced in workshops (the first 3 nodes in the web-extract)
  • Week 6: students work on creating their first questions: PW1 assessment live.
  • Week 7: feedback to students on PW1 outcomes, introduction of second PeerWise task: improving the quality of distracter answers.
  • Week 8: students work on PW2 ("PeerWiser") 
  • Week 10: introduction to PW3 ("PeerWisest"). Creation of questions synthesising more than one topic from the course. 
  • Week 11: students work on PW3

Monday, November 21, 2011

Well, someone liked it ....

Paul Richardson, from the JISC Regional Support Centre Wales, was one of the participants who came to our workshop last week as part of the JISC online conference activity week. He wrote this blog post about his thoughts on the workshop experience: I am glad we managed to offer something a bit more than just a 'sit and listen to us while we tell you what we've done'.....

Actually, Judy and I came up with several ideas for how we could have improved the session.... maybe next time.... 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

JISC online conference workshop

The online workshop in the pre-conference atcivity week at the JISC online conference has now taken place. Attendees were asked to create questions in PeerWise and to answer, rate and comment on questions posted by their fellow-attendees.

It was great to see such active participation, both in the PeerWise activity itself and in the Elluminate question and answer sessions, with questions that have given us plenty of food for thought. Thanks to all who took part!

At the JISC online conference activity week

We have an online workshop in the Activity Week ahead of the JISC online conference 2011. We'll post back some details of how the session went, including links to the Elluminate recording after it takes place.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Physics 1A second PeerWise activity

For the second PeerWise activity in Physics1A at Edinburgh, we'll be getting students to focus on the quality of the distracters that they provide as answers to the questions that they create. We used a question generated by a student last year, and added trivial or nonsense distracters. During a workshop session we challenged student groups to identify better (wrong) answers based on what they thought would be anticipated difficulties or mistakes that other students would make.

Here's what we presented to students:

Thursday, November 10, 2011


A group project within the Physics Education Research group (EdPER) has won the award for formative assessment at the Scottish e-Assessment Awards 2011.

The entry submitted by Simon Bates, Ross Galloway and Karon McBride, 'Using PeerWise for Formative Peer eAssessment in Introductory Physics Courses,' described how scaffolded tasks using PeerWise ( were set as assessed assignments in two introductory-level physics courses. PeerWise is an online question sharing and peer review application developed by the University of Auckland. Adopting a strong instructional design approach based on constructivist principles, we developed four scaffolding activities and inserted these into the workshops preceding the PeerWise assignment. The initial scaffolding activity presented to students ahead of the PeerWise assessment was well received by students. Class leaders reported a notable ‘buzz’ in the workshops when students were engaged in this activity with many students opting in subsequent workshops to work collaboratively on PeerWise during break times. In the post-course survey of students, 65% agreed that developing original questions improved their understanding of course topics.
“The biggest benefit was writing question and having to put a lot of thought in to explain the problem to other people. It really helped my understanding of parts of the subject."
The award was collected at the Scottish e-Assessment Conference in Dundee on 26 September 2011. 
Full details of the pilot implementation in 2010-11 are available on our e-learning pages

Thursday, October 27, 2011

First PeerWise activity in Physics 1A

Our first PeerWise activity in Physics1A this year has just ended. Once again, our students have produced some fantastic questions with real insight and creativity on display.

We took quite  a lot of time in the lectures to remind students to start well ahead of the deadline, to avoid the usual ski-slope profile of questions and answers coming in minutes before the final deadline. It looks like that worked as the graphs below show, with highest activities recorded prior to deadline day.

Another interesting thing that we found was that there looks to be a fairly clear linear relationship between when you get started on the assignment and the final assignment score. The graph below is based on sampling a fraction of all assignment marks.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Draft project plan now online

Our draft project plan is now available on the wiki, ahead of the first meeting of all projects funded in the Assessment and Feedback theme. And the project poster we produced, showing examples of student work from our pilot implementation of PeerWise last year, is included below.

Poster for JISC meeting 5th Oct

Monday, October 3, 2011

And then there were more

We've been giving talks about our pilot use of PeerWise in first year physics courses, that really acted as the seed for this project. (The slides from one of these, at the Physics Higher Education Conference in Sept 2011, are embedded below).

We've managed to hook up with colleagues from other institutions who are also implementing PeerWise in their courses and they will be joining us as project associates. As well as expanding the coverage, they'll serve as useful routes to disseminating our findings as well.

Details of all the courses that we are implementing PeerWise in are now up on the project wiki.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Extra hands

We've just appointed our project officer for the SGC4L project. Alison Kay joins us to work on this and a couple of other projects within the Physics Education Research Group. Alison brings a variety of really valuable experience to the project team and we're all looking forward to working with her.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Got funding!

Today marks the start of our our JISC-funded assessment and feedback strand B project that this blog is all about.

We've set up a project wiki to collect documents and information on the project as it develops, but we plan to use this blog to document some of our thoughts and reflections as the project progresses.