Have you ever wanted to try out a new tool or teaching strategy and then given up because the process of getting approval is too long and arduous? Or maybe you just decided to use whatever free tools were available to support your particular needs. Lots of issues (privacy, data management, security, support, etc) can arise when using free or non-enterprise tools, yet Wattle and other ANU approved tools don’t always readily enable us to do the things we want to do.
Proof of concept – tools for teaching
The Centre for Learning and Teaching (CLT) has taken a new approach to exploring innovative learning and teaching tools with their current Proof of Concept project which evaluates what the FeedbackFruits tool suite can offer ANU teachers.
FeedbackFruits is a suite of tools that enables and supports student interactivity and engagement, both asynchronously and synchronously. Through CLT’s Proof of Concept project, academics are supported in safely trialling new tools within the suite and in providing advice back to the project team on whether the tools are worth pursuing for ANU. Currently, as there are no enterprise or approved document discussion, group work or peer review tools, the team are testing Peer Review and Interactive Document.
More information on the suite’s available tools can be found on the website: feedbackfruits.com/tool-overview
Tools for Self, Peer and Teacher Assessment, for Collaborative Learning and Annotation, and for Engagement and Interaction
We already have some exciting courses underway this semester trialling tools within the suite:
- In a Linguistics course, postgraduate students are using the Interactive Document tool to read and comment on research articles they have selected. This is a weekly activity, and momentum has developed in the class as students become more confident with the tool’s functionality, such as starting a discussion, responding to each other’s points and liking each other’s comments. Dr Susy Macqueen found setting up the activity straightforward and intuitive, and she intends to explore other FeedbackFruits tools with her undergraduate and postgraduate student cohorts. She said: “I have previously used forums for students to discuss research papers they are interested in. Although students participate well enough in forums if they have to, it tends to be a fairly static activity with one student posting a short paragraph one day and another posting a separate one another day. The interactive document function in Feedback Fruits allows them to interact on and around the paper itself, for example, by starting a discussion thread that is both physically and conceptually based on a point made in the article.”
- Consider a large first year course using peer reviewed group work. Ambitious? Certainly. Worthwhile? Definitely! Professor Michael Ellwood is currently exploring the features of the group assigned Peer Review tool and said: “I used a process of one submission from each group, then individual peer reviews as part of a graded assessment task. So far the enrolment process of a large class into groups has worked very well and enabled students to participate in groups, and they will then use a ratings rubric to give feedback anonymously on other groups’ work through the peer review process.
- Interest groups of teaching and professional staff have also investigated the tools in sand pit mode and in more realistic, supported exploratory settings. To date the favourite tool has been Peer Review, but some people are leaning towards using the Group Evaluation tool as a way of exploring teamwork processes.
A rigorous evaluation seeking feedback from both teaching staff and students will be undertaken before a decision is made if there is a future use case at ANU for the FeedbackFruits tool suite.
If you would like to explore the possibilities that FeedbackFruits could offer your teaching practice, please contact Claire Brooks or Belinda Bergin for more information on how to become involved. You will be supported throughout the trial and your considered evaluation of the products will help ANU decide on future directions.
- Claire Brooks, Educational Designer, CLT
- Belinda Bergin, Learning Environments Officer, CLT
- Melinda Drummond, Educational Designer, CLT