Students' perceptions of peer and self assessment in a higher education online collaborative learning environment
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The purpose of the study was to investigate factors that affect students’ perceptions of the use of online peer and self assessment in an online collaborative learning environment, and to explore the impacts of the assessments on the online collaboration of the students. The setting of this study was a university graduate-level online credit course entitled Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL), in which all course activities were conducted collaboratively through online communications and online peer and self assessment was provided at the end of every group project. Data sources included: face-to-face or online video conferencing interviews with 14 participants; participants’ written reflections; their portfolios; messages that each participant posted to their group online discussion board; and peers’ and self comments on the online peer and self assessment. Data were analyzed using Strauss and Corbin’s (1998) grounded theory approach. Results of the data analysis showed that many factors allowed students to have varied perceptions, attitudes, and feelings in conducting the online peer and self assessment. The factors were grouped into three: learning context, individual differences, and online learning community. Learning context encompassed all parts of the CSCL online course strongly related to the peer and self assessment, including course elements, online assessment system, types of assessment feedback, and graduate school environment. Categories under the factor of individual differences included stringency-leniency in ratings, objectivity of ratings, previous assessment experience, purpose of the assessments, and degree of self-confidence in assessing their own contributions to the group activity. Categories related to the online learning community included group composition, engagement of group members, and sense of community. Additionally, the results revealed the impact of the use of peer and self assessment on the group collaboration in terms of understanding others’ perspectives, reflections on themselves, awareness of the assessments, interpersonal skills for collaboration, accountability, participation, personal criteria for the assessments, level of confidence with the assessments, and group collaboration.