Kevin Binning and coauthors have won the Robert B. Cialdini Award for their paper "Deflecting the trajectory and changing the narrative: How self-affirmation affects academic performance and motivation under identity threat."
Panther Learning Systems, Inc. won Ed Tech Company of the Year at the Pittsburgh Technology Council Tech 50 awards. Panther Learning Systems licenses Peereceptive, (SWoRD), Chris Schunn's web-based peer review system to support writing instruction.
Jennifer Lin Russell has been named a Fellow by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement Teaching.
Frits Pil and colleagues received the Chris Voss Best Paper Award for their paper "Organizational responsiveness to supplier disruptions: Empirical evidence from agri-food product recalls" at the 21st International Annual EurOMA Conference.
Diane Litman and coauthor Kate Forbes-Riley, received the Best Paper Published in Speech Communication (2011-2013) award by the International Speech Communication Association (ISCA) for "Benefits and Challenges of Real-time Uncertainty Detection and Adaptation in a Spoken Dialogue Computer Tutor" (2011).
Transforming Learning Through Intelligent Peer Review
Technology in the service of learning and teaching has been a continuous theme at LRDC since its founding. Although the focus changes with advancing technology and new understanding of learning processes, a sustaining principle is that technology must accommodate principles of learning and teaching in its design. SWoRD, developed at LRDC by Christian Schunn and Kwangsu Cho in 2002, meets all the above requirements.
SWoRD, Scaffolded Writing and Rewriting in the Discipline, is a Web-based interface that supports writing instruction via students’ peer review. Students submit their class papers to SWoRD, which then assigns the paper to four or five peers in the class. Using teacher-created rubrics matched to the discipline and writing task, the peers review the paper and give advice to the writer on how to improve it.
For example, an assignment might be “Write a newspaper article that explains a scientific concept.” Dimensions of the teacher’s rating rubric might include “rhetorical strategies,” “scientific concepts made clear,” “explaining evidence,” and “organization.” Peers rate the piece of writing on these dimensions, send the paper back to the author, and the author revises.
The key to the SWoRD approach is that students received grades for producing quality reviews, an accuracy grade for being consistent with other reviewers and a helpfulness grade for producing comments that are perceived as helpful by the authors. When students do a good job on peer review, they actually learn more from the feedback they get from peers than they learn from the feedback that teachers provide. In part because students say it in a way that other students can understand, such as, “It helps me to read my papers aloud,” and in part by getting feedback on common problems from multiple individuals, it’s just more persuasive, “Oh that actually is a problem, and I really should fix it.”
But the bigger part of the learning story has to do with “learning by teaching.” As students see problems in their peers’ writing, they are noticing a lot of things that are problems in their own papers that they just never saw before. And they are now exploring ways of fixing these problems by helping others improve their work.
SWoRD has been used across a number of disciplines, including English, psychology, mathematics, law, history, and science. Since its redesign in 2009, it has been used in approximately 900 courses, with 32,000 students, in a mixture of more than 160 high school and college contexts around the world. Current users include university-wide licenses at University of Florida and George State, and broad use at large universities including Pitt, Kansas, North Carolina, and McGill, as well as smaller ones like Illinois Wesleyan and Oberlin. International schools include Universiteit Twente (Netherlands), Handong Global University (Korea), and Nanyang University (Singapore).
SWoRD was developed at LRDC, and research continues on new directions and applications for it. But as a general tool for broad use, SWoRD is now licensed by Panther Learning Systems and is named Peerceptiv. Panther Learning is a firm that specializes in large-scale deployment of scalable assessment.
On October 21st 2014, Panther Learning Systems won Ed Tech Company of the Year at the Pittsburgh Technology Council Tech 50 awards. That’s not stopping Schunn and others at LRDC. New directions include collaborating with LRDC Senior scientists Diane Litman and Kevin Ashley to enrich SWoRD with natural language processing and intelligent tutoring components and working with Pitt School of Education Professor Amanda Godley to create a teacher dashboard for high school science writing.
In the News
Frits Pil's paper "Social capital and organizational performance: Evidence from urban public schools" was cited in the Washington Postarticle "Do Students Learn More When Their Teachers Work Together?"
Klaus Libertus's research on autism was used in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article "Study Shows Hope in Helping Infants Fend Off Autism."
Lindsay Page's research on 'summer melt' was featured in the October 19 Los Angeles Times article, "Advisors work to freeze 'summer melt,' get students to college."
Ben Rottman received a National Science Foundation grant titled "Developing a Theory of Causal Learning over Time."
Chris Schunn and Muhsin Menekse, with Robin Shoop of CMU, have received a National Science Foundation grant for "Changing Culture in Robotics Classrooms." This is a continuing grant that has been approved on scientific/technical merit.
Empirical analysis of exploiting review helpfulness for extractive summarization of online reviews. (2014). Wenting Xiong and Diane Litman. The 25th International Conference on Computational Linguistics (COLING 2014). Read Here.
Effects of vocabulary instruction on measures of language processing: Comparing two approaches. (2014). Margaret G. McKeown and Isabel L. Beck. Early Childhood Research Quarterly.
Summer Melt: Supporting Low-Income Student Through the Transition to College. (2014). Benjamin L. Castleman and Lindsay C. Page. Harvard Education Press. View Here.
Achievement goals, observed behaviors, and performance: Testing a mediation model in a college classroom. (2014). J. Elizabeth Richey, Timothy J. Nokes-Malach, and Aleza Wallace. COGSCI 2014: The Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. Read Here.
Applying math onto mechanism: Investigating the relationship between mechanistic and mathematical understanding. (2014). Allison S. Liu and Christian D. Schunn. COGSCI 2014: The Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. Read Here.