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Peer-instruction has been shown to have a very positive effect on students’ engagement and learning. PeerWise is a web-tool designed to allow peer-tutoring between students within a large class group. Students can write, answer and discuss Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) based on their work in-class. It is low-cost and low-maintenance software which has become increasingly popular across many subject disciplines as a method to introduce a peer-tutoring aspect to course work. In this study we introduce PeerWise as a form of continuous assessment to a wide and varied cohort of science students (N=509) across disciplines, undergraduate years, levels (certificate to honours degree) and institutes. Correlations between engagement with PeerWise and an increase in end of module exam results are investigated and found to be strongly correlated in one of the modules investigated. Students’ attitudes to PeerWise are probed with a number of Likert style questions. It is found that the students agree that the tool benefits their understanding through the peer-activities of authoring and answering questions and to a lesser degree by discussion of questions with classmates. Some differences exist between class groups but overall the engagement levels across all groups are much higher than the minimum requirement set by the assessments.
Mac Raighne, A. Web-based peer tutoring in science education. DIT, Learning,Teaching & Technology Centre, 2013.