I think I’ll do a recap separately. I just finished the last week of the course, and it’s not the absolute last day, but I’ve spent far more time today coping with the MOOC materials than I wanted to. I’m caught up with all my coursework, and I’ve submitted my final materials and quizzes for this one.
I also got the feedback for my essay. I had four reviews, and I averaged 10.5/11. One person indicated they couldn’t tell where this example came from in the course material (although I had specified it on the title line as section 2.4), but I rather expected some difficulty in that regard. That’s why I was explicit. Most of the reviews did not provide good feedback, only 1/4 did. I’m also not surprised by that. The reviewer commented that although my essay was well-written and enjoyable, they didn’t feel it met the intent of the assignment. I suppose that’s interpretation. I don’t think that they marked down for that–but this was also the individual that could not find the origin of my example in the course material.
Is peer-review fair? I’m not sure. In this case, a lot of the subjectivity was removed from the process. That helped. Could I implement this in my course(s)? Yes. It wouldn’t necessarily be easy, but I think it could be done. It was definitely a lot easier to review the required number of essays than I anticipated, and I did learn some from reading others’ work (though not the one person whose essay was “I ran out of time and didn’t get this done so I know I’ll have a zero.” I am not joking; that was an actual essay I got to “review.” That experience would be good for students. I think it would be very good for them to get to do this and then have the opportunity to revise their papers based on the review for a “final grade”. I will think about incorporating that into the course; perhaps for one of their lab reports, as those more closely follow scientific publishing models today.
This week’s material was more interesting, as it dealt with human evolution. Honestly, although I technically completed the course requirements, I feel that I need to revisit last week’s work and take notes (since I didn’t do that last week because I felt horrible and was sitting in water, which is not a recommended situation for using one’s laptop). So, in my mind, I’m not quite done.
The recap of the overall experience is coming soon!