“Students ask the questions: How can an online peer-based question and answer tool be used help students learn programming?” (Area 1&2)

Dragis Vrabie and Dr Paul Golz (WBS)

Peer learning is a well-established tool within HE and a common use is to ask students to create questions for each other. Question creation challenges students to think of potentially difficult areas, increasing engagement with course material, find common mistakes and reinforces correct answers. This study investigates Peerwise: an online tool that allows students to create multiple choice questions for their peers to answer. There is strong evidence that this tool aids learning within HE over multiple subject areas, however little is reported on an optimal delivery modality. In this action research study we used Peerwise in a level 5 programming module to discover i) how best to use the tool and ii) whether, in our experience, it benefitted the students. Crucially we discovered that educating the students in use of the tool was required to set a minimum standard in creating questions. Whilst we observed significant improvement in question quality as well as engagement with the tool based on our intervention, Peerwise was found to be unpopular with students and only 50% of the students reporting that they have benefited from using this tool.

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