Yesterday I visited the Challenge Day that SURFnet organizes on a yearly basis. On this day we challenge software vendors to show what they can offer for us. The Challenge Day was held at the Muntgebouw in Utrecht (very nice location! see the picture). After a great keynote speech by our very own Frank Kresin (Managing director Design Lab) we had to choose between two parallel tracks at this Challenge Day. Track one as focused on how the modular digital learning environment can be designed and created. The other track had a more specific theme, which was peer feedback and peer assessment. I attended all three sessions for this last track. We were shown 6 different digital tools that can be used for facilitating peer feedback and peer review. There was a small vendor market that I visited during the breaks. I am not going to write down a complete review of the day. I’d like to share some observations and remarks.
Peer feedback tools
The peer feedback tools that were shown were Revisely, Scorion Talent, Peergrade, Peerscholar, Peer Feedback Community and FeedbackFruits. Four of those products have been developed in the Netherlands, which is really something to be proud of. There is something brewing here in The Netherlands with regard to Educational Technology (EdTEch) companies! And it will even get better I would assume, since in the Versnellingsagenda one of the themes is “Collaboration with Ed Tech”.
Regarding peer feedback tools, I was most impressed by Peergrade. It seems like a very versatile tool without being too overwhelming for the teacher and student. In contrast to that: especially Peerscholar and Revisely where full of options and choices that a lecturer has to make before even peer grading can be started. Peergrade was developed by a Computer Science lecturer from Denmark in response to his own needs, as his number of students started growing and he didn’t want to do the feedback all by himself. Apparantly Peergrade can also be used for evaluating code. So there might be some overlap with Codegra.de that we are also evaluating right now. Peergrade accepts a large number of document formats, and it comes with an extensive Rubric library that can used immediately by a lecturer.
Also Peergrade can be tightly integrated in Canvas, via the LTI standard. FeedbackFruits is also compliant with this standard. But on the downside: Peergrade is not compliant with SURFconext at this moment. Regarding GDPR compliancy there were quite a few questions for most of the vendors for which there was not enough time to answer them.
At the vendor market I received a quick demonstration from Grasple (formerly known as I hate statistics). Grasple looked really user friendly. This (Dutch!) company is aiming at providing an easy to use platform for editing and sharing exercises for Math and Statistics. They are working with Math lecturers form TU Delft, they told me. Grasple aims to provide the content for free, but for LMS integration, support and learning analytics there will be a fee to be paid.
SURFnet published a summary document where you will find much more details on the peer feedback tools, such as the features and compliancy with standards. I took some paper copies of this document with me, to be found at the TELT room (Citadel H415).