Empowering University Students Through Online Multiple Choice Questions

This source preferred by Huseyin Dogan, Mihai Dupac, Elvira Bolat and David Biggins

Authors: Bolat, E., Dogan, H., Biggins, D., Dupac, M. and Crowley, E.


Start date: 14 November 2016

The benefit of using online multiple choice questions (MCQs) to test knowledge acquisition, provide reassurance to learners that required knowledge has be understood and as a tool to detect knowledge deficits or misunderstanding have long been understood. Moving the MCQ online provides an opportunity to widen access, measure participation and interaction and to test the use of theories such as gamification in raising engagement by students. Aim of this paper is to describe how Bournemouth University developed, integrated and operated the MCQ application, Peerwise, to enhance the engagement and learning of undergraduate and postgraduate students in the context of flipped class environment. Using Peerwise, students create MCQs that are answered, rated and commented on by other students. Trophies awarded for contribution, feedback and usage ensure there is interest in the ranking tables and encourage higher levels of participation. Fielding’s[1] student as researcher concept is applicable here as students can use this tool to bring about radical change in their learning[1]. The traditional tutor – student relationship is often seen as a demotivator for students[2] whereas Peerwise replaces this with self-regulated learning and a more flexible model that can be accessed at any time, from anywhere and which, crucially, gives immediate feedback and explanations. Issues surrounding the length of time taken to provide feedback and the utility of that feedback are instantly overcome. This personalised and empowering approach enables students to develop their knowledge appropriately as they undertake individual transformations[3].

Bournemouth University embedded Peerwise in UG units. In line with previous studies[4][5] Peerwise is found to be beneficial. After the successful trial, Bournemouth University has widened the use of MCQ through a staff-student co-creation project to generate university-wide question repositories that can be quickly and easily embedded in most taught units and which can also be used to give tutors experience and confidence in using a new technology-based learning tool and in this way to develop their own digital literacy. Peerwise allows improving student engagement by empowering students to regulate own learning processes.

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