Peer Teaching in Tertiary STEM Education: A Case Study

  • Niels HellerEmail author
  • François Bry
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 916)


This article reports on a novel higher-education course format exploiting choreographed peer reviews and self corrections so as to reduce to a minimum the teachers’ involvement. The novel course format was motivated by the necessity to run examinations for all courses during all terms, even though almost all courses are offered only every second term. As a consequence and because of a very high students to teacher ratio, many students have to prepare for examinations without sufficient assistance. This article describes the novel course format and reports on its evaluation in a case study. The evaluation indicates that most students benefit from the novel course format but that it is less efficient than traditional formats based on a much higher teachers’ involvement. The major weakness of the novel format is an insufficient dedication of some students to their reviewing. The article suggests and discusses possible measures to address that weakness.


Peer review Collaborative learning Learning environments 



The authors are thankful to Elisabeth Lempa for her contribution to assessing the quality of reviews and to coding.


  1. 1.
    Bathini, P.P., Sen, S.: Impact of integration through peer instructed lectures. Int. J. Basic Clin. Pharmacol. 6(6), 1293–1296 (2017)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Benè, K.L., Bergus, G.: When learners become teachers: a review of peer teaching in medical student education. Fam. Med. 46(10), 783–787 (2014)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bester, L., Muller, G., Munge, B., Morse, M., Meyers, N.: Those who teach learn: Near-peer teaching as outdoor environmental education curriculum and pedagogy. J. Outdoor Environ. Educ. 20(1), 35 (2017)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Burch, N.: The Four Stages for Learning any New Skill. Gordon Training International, CA (1970)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Carrell, S.E., Sacerdote, B.I., West, J.E.: From natural variation to optimal policy? the importance of endogenous peer group formation. Econometrica 81(3), 855–882 (2013)MathSciNetzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cho, K., MacArthur, C.: Learning by reviewing. J. Educ. Psychol. 103(1), 73 (2011)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Dochy, F., Segers, M., Sluijsmans, D.: The use of self-, peer and co-assessment in higher education: a review. Stud. High. Educ. 24(3), 331–350 (1999)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Falchikov, N., Goldfinch, J.: Student peer assessment in higher education: a meta-analysis comparing peer and teacher marks. Rev. Educ. Res. 70(3), 287–322 (2000)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Fischer, K.W.: A theory of cognitive development: the control and construction of hierarchies of skills. Psychol. Rev. 87(6), 477 (1980)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gartner, A., et al.: Children Teach Children: Learning by Teaching. ERIC (1971)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Goldschmid, B., Goldschmid, M.L.: Peer teaching in higher education: a review. High. Educ. 5(1), 9–33 (1976)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hanrahan, S.J., Isaacs, G.: Assessing self-and peer-assessment: the students’ views. High. Educ. Res. Dev. 20(1), 53–70 (2001)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hattie, J., Timperley, H.: The power of feedback. Rev. Educ. Res. 77(1), 81–112 (2007)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Jones, S.P., Hall, C., Hammond, K., Partain, W., Wadler, P.: The glasgow haskell compiler: a technical overview. In: Proceedings UK Joint Framework for Information Technology (JFIT) Technical Conference. vol. 93 (1993)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Jumaat, N.F., Tasir, Z.: Instructional scaffolding in online learning environment: a meta-analysis. In: 2014 International Conference on Teaching and Learning in Computing and Engineering (LaTiCE), pp. 74–77. IEEE (2014)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kruger, J., Dunning, D.: Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments. J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 77(6), 1121 (1999)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Lundstrom, K., Baker, W.: To give is better than to receive: the benefits of peer review to the reviewer’s own writing. J. Sec. Lang. Writ. 18(1), 30–43 (2009)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Nicol, D., Thomson, A., Breslin, C.: Rethinking feedback practices in higher education: a peer review perspective. Assess. Eval. High. Educ. 39(1), 102–122 (2014)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ramdass, D., Zimmerman, B.J.: Effects of self-correction strategy training on middle school students’ self-efficacy, self-evaluation, and mathematics division learning. J. Adv. Acad. 20(1), 18–41 (2008)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Rohrer, D., Taylor, K.: The shuffling of mathematics problems improves learning. Instr. Sci. 35(6), 481–498 (2007)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Schwartz, M.S., Fischer, K.W.: Building vs. borrowing: The challenge of actively constructing ideas in post-secondary education. Lib. Educ. 89(3), 22–29 (2003)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Seenan, C., Shanmugam, S., Stewart, J.: Group peer teaching: A strategy for building confidence in communication and teamwork skills in physical therapy students. J. Phys. Ther. Educ. 30(3), 40–49 (2016)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Shaughnessy, J.J.: Long-term retention and the spacing effect in free-recall and frequency judgments. Am. J. Psychol., 587–598 (1977)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Topping, K.: Peer assessment between students in colleges and universities. Rev. Educ. Res. 68(3), 249–276 (1998)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Williams, E.: Student attitudes towards approaches to learning and assessment. Assess. Eval. High. Educ. 17(1), 45–58 (1992)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Informatics, Ludwig-Maximilian University of MunichMunichGermany

Personalised recommendations