A Preparatory Analysis of Peer-Grading for a Digital Humanities MOOC
Over the last two years, Massive Open Online Classes (MOOCs) have been unexpectedly successful in convincing large number of students to pursue online courses in a variety of domains. Contrary to the "learn anytime anywhere" moto, this new generation of courses are based on regular assignments that must be completed and corrected on a fixed schedule. Successful courses attracted about 50 000 students in the first week but typically stabilised around 10 000 in the following weeks, as most courses demand significant involvement. With 10 000 students, grading is obviously an issue, and the first successful courses tended to be technical, typically in computer science, where various options for automatic grading system could be envisioned. However, this posed a challenge for humanities courses. The solution that has been investigated for dealing with this issue is peer-grading: having students grade the work of one another. The intuition that this would work was based on some older results showing high correlation between professor grading, peer-grading and self-grading. The generality of this correlation can reasonably be questioned. There is a high chance that peer-grading works for certain domains, or for certain assignment, but not for others. Ideally this should be tested experimentally before launching any large-scale courses. EPFL is one of the first European schools to experiment with MOOCs in various domains. Since the launch of these first courses, preparing an introductory MOOC on Digital Humanities was one of our top priorities. However, we felt it was important to first validate the kind of peer-grading strategy we were planning to implement on a smaller set of students, to determine if it would actually work for the assignments we envisioned. This motivated the present study which was conducted during the first semester of our masters level introductory course on Digital Humanities at EPFL.
Record created on 2014-08-20, modified on 2016-08-09