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Special Joint IOE London Knowledge Lab/UCL Computer Science Seminar

Who:
Dr Paul Denny, Computer Science Dept., University of Auckland, New Zealand

Title:
Learning Through Exam Creation: The Effects of Generation, Testing and Self-explanation Using PeerWise

When:
Monday June 16th, 12.30 - 2.00 p.m

Location and directions:
Malet Place 1.03LT
Malet Place Engineering Building.
Please enter via the Roberts Building,
On the corner of Torrington Place and Malet Place, WC1E 7JE.
Map is here http://www.ucl.ac.uk/maps?locationID=16

Abstract
Most instructors are familiar with how challenging it is to create good multiple-choice questions with plausible alternative answers.  But what happens when students generate their own questions, targeting the material they are learning, and contribute them to a shared repository where they can be answered, rated and discussed by their peers?  It turns out there are many interesting answers to this question.

This talk will present the pedagogical motivations for having students build and moderate their own repository of questions using the PeerWise web-based tool. The repository serves not only as a drill-and-test library that students can use for practice, but also as a creative medium for engaging students in critical reflection and deep learning. A brief overview of PeerWise will be given, illustrated with examples of genuine student contributions and case studies of its use in practice. A summary of current research will be presented, and the talk will conclude with a look to the future.

Biography
Paul Denny is an instructor in the department of Computer Science at the University of Auckland.  His interests include developing and evaluating technologies for supporting collaborative learning, particularly involving student-authored resources. He created PeerWise to help students author, share and discuss course-related assessment questions. In 2009 PeerWise won the Australasian Association for Engineering Education Award for innovation in curricula, learning and teaching.

PeerWise is now used at 1000 universities and schools around the world, hosting more than a million questions with associated explanations and discussions, and tens of millions of student answers. Paul is a recipient of the National Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award (2009) and the Computing Research and Education Association of Australasia Teaching Award (2010).  His recent publications have examined the effectiveness of virtual achievements for motivating students in online environments and investigated the effectiveness of various styles of error reporting on the performance of novice programming students.
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