Monday, 30 September 2013

Exploring the potential of Webpa

Well the first use of webpa has just about come to an end here.

Webpa was is open source, summative group peer assessment tool developed by loughborough uni amongst others. We are using a legacy version and have not connected it to the VLE. The tool is really well design and well constructed for the job that it performs. It uses a likert scale criteria and a single free text box for student justification of marks.

This was basically a road test making sure the system could get data in and out, which it has done very successfully. There are a couple of issues reported which were users and admin errors. 

Exploring the possibilities 
Interestingly, many staff who are interested in the tool want to use it as formative feedback to groups as well as final marks. They intend to run webpa a number of times during the group project. Trying to extend the webpa tool has so far involved using Excel sheets to create a mail merge of data back to the students. This involves organising all the feedback aimed at any particular student, creating an average fore the group on each criteria and linking this to individual average scores. This could be greatly improved by working at the SQL level within webpa, but at the me spent I simply don't have the time.

An obvious extension to this would allow groups to construct their own criteria, and time tabling. This would need to prohibit students to seeing each others results. I believe that this might improve engagement in formative feedback, allow greater group autonomy in the decision making process and cut staff workload. 

Cohort and group level health checks. Staff are interested in receiving overview reports of each group using the formative process. This would allow them to flag up issues when meeting the groups.Identifying dysfunctional groups might involved identifying the split of marks, looking for above normal distributions of marks, i.e. one or two students receiving very low marks compared to others. Also sub group marking patterns, i.e. when a section of the group are giving each other high marks and low marks for the rest. This would indicate factions within the group. 

I'm sure there are other ideas out there webpa has a lively community

I need to write a survey to gather information about staff use of group summative assignments. This would help me understand the level of interest and need for this tool. 
Q1. Have you used summative group work within your marking schemes.
Q2. How did the marking mark in terms of process. Eg give same mark to all students in the group.
Q3. What were the reasons for using summative group work within the programme
Q4. Did any issues occur for staff and students during this process

A more localised survey for students would be good to see what they thought of the formative feedback.
Q1. Did you read your feedback from webpa
Q2. Did the feedback change or influence your behaviour when relating to the group.
Q3. How would you improve the process of feedback within a group

So, a promising start, just need more an extra day in the working week to complete this!

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