Two feedback activities
1. Group discussion
When Art and Design students work at a pre-degree or BA level, they need to receive feedback at different stages of the project they are working on. It is always interesting to ask them to present few slides of a Power-Point on the development of the project and let their peers assess it through constructive feedback. Following a Design thinking method, when the presenter talks, the other students are asked to fill in a grid with four quadrants; first the likes or what works well in the project; the criticism or what should change; questions to ask and, at last, ideas to suggest. They all listen to the presentation and write down their feedback on post-it that they will later place in the grid. To encourage further discussion, the presenter should also have prepared a question to ask that the peers could try to answer orally. Once received all the written feedback, it is useful to let the presenter quickly read through it and choose one post-it he/she would like to discuss in more detail with the others while the teacher keeps his posture of facilitator. At the end of the activity, they are all asked to do a written evaluation of the feedback received. As a facilitator, I found important to adapt to each group’s ability level and to have between four to six students to enhance engagement, develop higher reflection skills and give more time to each student than if they were in larger groups. I also found useful to suggest a basic structure for the presentation: (1) What is your project about? (2) What have you done so far? (3) What are you planning to do next? (4) One question to ask others.
2. Table-top exhibition
Another useful peer assessment activity to give feedback is through a table-top exhibition, which invites students to exhibit the latest development of their work on their desk. In contrast with group discussions, this activity does not require direct dialogue and pushes students to present their research and experiments physically. Visual communication is thus essential to be assured that key concepts and aims are clearly addressed and understood by the others. Once the exhibition is set, usually in the afternoon, students are given post-it notes and are asked to walk freely around the rooms to give feedback to at least three other projects. This activity focuses more on presenting the work physically and in creating informal talks by walking around the ephemeral exhibition, but as the feedback is not guided and is anonymous, its quality may also be affected. Similarly, students can be asked to do a one-day experiment, present the result on a large table at the end of the day and walk around to give feedback to as many works as they can.