Using Peerwise (MCQ software) to encourage a deeper understanding

Posted in: Case Studies

Staff involved
Amanda Mackenzie, Dept of Pharmacy and Pharmacology
Christine Edmead, Dept of Pharmacy and Pharmacology

What was done and what technology was used?
Peerwise is free online software which supports students in the creation, sharing, evaluation and discussion of assessment questions. We have been using this technology on a flipped unit with around 180 students for the last two years, and have had a great success.

Peerwise takes a few minutes to set up, and can be done via Moodle enrolment. Once it has been set up it is very self-sustaining and doesn't need much input from ourselves, however we can moderate if needed.

What are the benefits to staff?
This unit has 60% of marks assigned from a multiple choice paper, but we do not release past papers. Students have always asked for practice questions and with Peerwise they can write their own questions and then practice on questions which other students have created. There is also a competitive element as students gain points from writing, answering and commenting on questions. This saves us a lot of time not having to write practice questions each year and provides the students with a broader question bank. We can also look to see which topics students are finding harder and may need to revisit in lectures.

What are the benefits to students?
Students generally will deepen their knowledge by needing to think of appropriate questions and answers to these questions, as well as having access to a fantastic resource for revision for their exams which is added to throughout the semester. Around 60% of students in the cohort actively engage with Peerwise throughout the semester, and while no part of this is assessed, two questions selected from those submitted, are included in each years' exam as an incentive to engage.

Posted in: Case Studies


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