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Using Talis Elevate for collaborative discussion on ethics applications: hear from a principal lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University

Matt East
Academic perspective case study

In this blog post, Adrian Scruton, Principal Lecturer and Academic Lead (Employability) at Anglia Ruskin University, talks about his experience of using Talis Elevate as part of a peer review activity for ethics submissions. Students’ were asked to review two previously submitted (and anonymised) submissions, and critique the submissions for detail, accuracy, and ethical considerations from the perspective of an ethics panel reviewer. 

How did you use Talis Elevate for this activity?

I used this throughout my Research Methods module for MSc Sport and Exercise Science students, a cohort of around 20 students each academic year, over the past two years. I like the way Talis Elevate embeds directly in Canvas, as it allows for a really clear, embedded format with enhanced capabilities from what I can do natively in Canvas.  For one particular artefact, students had to read and critique an ethics submission as if they were the ethics panel. Students used class comments to highlight and provide feedback to the ethics applicant. The students develop quite short responses to start, but then a collaborative learning process occurs whereby the feedback becomes more detailed and demonstrates a higher level of knowledge. 

What were the results?

This particular concept worked as the students were post-graduates (level 7) and were required to engage with the mock ethics review in order to attain a summative mark for engagement with online activities.  This was just one activity of several they had to complete. Seeing the discussion element working so well in this context was quite unexpected, and provided a rich, collaborative resource for the students’ to use later on when writing their own ethics submissions. We had nearly 200 comments on each of the examples provided to students; we’d never normally see this level of activity on a discussion board. 

Did your students have any feedback on this?

 Students’ reported that this worked well as an activity, and they found it particularly useful engaging in an activity ‘from the eyes of the academic assessing’. As mentioned already, the students also fed back that this resource was increasingly useful and valuable when referring back to it during their own ethics writing process. Additionally, I have engaged with the class comments, helping me gain a better understanding of the pathways students are taking with their own understanding of the subject matter. As the engagement formed part of a summative assessment, feedback was provided in a summative way. 

Did you see any change in the quality of submissions because of this?

Yes.  When I (as a tutor/online facilitator) engaged with the class comments it prompted further comments of a higher order. Because this can be used in a live capacity, I was able to respond to students’ quickly whilst they are involved in the activity. Students clearly had a better understanding of what we were looking for with regards to ethics submissions. This approach of ‘see it from the assessor’s eyes’ works very well at building knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. 

How else would you like to use Talis Elevate in your practice?

This type of tool, and activity, is discipline agnostic in my opinion. This approach would work on a number of courses, and not just in this example of ethics submissions. Co-construction of knowledge can be a very useful approach for developing digital communities in courses, and having this activity take place directly in the resource we’re using itself can streamline the process for staff and students. 


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