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Correlation between authoring questions and understanding of threshold concepts in PeerWise

March 17, 2014 in Use cases

PeerWise is used in the Chemistry Department at the University of Liverpool as a student contributed assessment system in the “Chemical Engineering for Chemists” module. The aim of this module is to give chemistry students an insight into the world of chemical engineering and to enhance their understanding of the fundamental/threshold concepts in chemical engineering. The continuous assessments in this module play an important role in enhancing student understanding of chemical engineering concepts which are entirely foreign to most chemists.

PeerWise was used to enhance chemistry students’ understanding of threshold concepts in chemical engineering. Our theory was that students have to understand the fundamental/threshold concepts to be able to author good quality questions. Although answering peers’ questions in PeerWise provides a good revision material for learners which strongly supports learning, this research was focused on the importance of authoring questions on students’ understanding of challenging concepts.

The PeerWise scores on authoring questions on mass and energy balances as fundamental operations in a process analysis procedure were compared with exam marks related to these topics. The data were evaluated to find the correlation between PeerWise scores and exam marks. The positive correlation between PeerWise scores on authoring questions and exam marks proved the significance of using student contributed assessment system to enhance understanding of threshold concepts.