Enhancing student engagement and improving academic writing through gamified peer review
Roger Graves (University of Alberta, Canada), Heather Graves (University of Alberta, Canada), Daniel Harvey (University of Alberta, Canada), Shahin Moghaddasi (University of Alberta, Canada), Fran Vargas (University of Alberta, Canada) and Yufeng Zou (Northwest A&F University)
We propose to outline our gamified peer-review software and the results from four years of using it in an academic writing course. Although earlier researchers presumed that instructors needed to provide writing feedback (see Beach & Friedrich 2006), more recent work suggests that peer-feedback can be as effective (Cho and Cho 2011, Cho and MacArthur 2011, Phillips 2016) . This research suggests that students trained in peer review produce higher quality assignments than those who are not (Cho and MacArthur 2011) and that a key driver of quality in student writing derives from the quality of responses students give to others, not comments they receive (Li, Liu, & Streckelberg 2010). Work by Grant (2016) and Gee (2008) suggests that technology-enhanced forms of peer review and feedback can be particularly effective ways to facilitate such peer-review. Our system provides a model of feedback focused on peer review through a gamified online writing environment. Feedback comes from peers, peer tutors who have taken the course, graduate teaching assistants, and the instructor. Surveys of students show enhanced student engagement in both writing and non-writing courses using the system. Students report that comments they obtained helped them improve their documents (50% agree, 18.18% strongly agree); the course improved their understanding of key concepts about writing (52.38% agree, 19.05% strongly agree); they did not feel anxious (43.86% disagree and 17.54 strongly disagreed); and the majority of students (46.37 % agreed and 26.32 strongly agreed) did not feel isolated during the course.