PeerWise Tips

Here are some of my great tips for getting the most out of PeerWise.

PW Tip#1: When you answer a high quality question (with a good solution) that really helps your learning, follow the person who wrote that question.

If a person wrote one high quality question, they will likely write more. And these writers of high-quality questions can get quite a following!

In this early part of our unit, almost all the questions written will be high quality questions. So there will be plenty of people to follow on PeerWise.

Also, in a few weeks time more and more students will get going on PeerWise. There will likely be a H-U-G-E number of questions being written; far more than most of us can answer. It is also likely a few people will write a lot of low quality questions, wanting to increase their PeerWise Reputation score with quantity rather than quality. However, every question we write is available to everyone; and these low quality questions do not add value to the learning community we are creating on PeerWise. All they do is ‘clog up’ PeerWise for others.

So if you are following a group of students who are writing high quality questions, later in the term you can simply answer questions from these students. And you can ignore the pool of low quality questions. In this way, you can be part of a ‘higher quality’ learning community within PeerWise, and ignore a lot of the unnecessary noise. And this tends to be the way the internet works, as well.

By the way, (as administrator) I do delete questions that I do not think are adding value to the learning community of PeerWise; but I will not be able to delete them all.

PW Tip#2: Do not rush!

As you will gradually realise, in our unit we will be focusing on encouraging you to understand what you are learning in our unit, rather than simply ‘rote-learn’ material you really do not understand very well. Developing our understanding of what we will be studying takes time and mental effort.

It can be esasy in PeerWise to seek to ‘rush through’ answering and commenting on as many questions as possible; and to also ‘rush through’ writing questions really quickly. Do not do this on PeerWise. Fewer, high-quality questions are better than a large number of low-quality questions. When you write questions, you are making them available to everyone in our unit and are contributing to the learning environment we are creating for ourselves on PeerWise. So make as good a contribution as you can to the learning of others. Also, the algorithm behind calculating your Reputation Score rewards quality questions, not just quantity.

And when answering questions, take the time to give thoughtful feedback where you can; and also sometimes you may be able to contribute positively to improve the solution to the question as well.

PW Tip#3: Start early

There is a great advantage in starting PeerWise early; as many people are discovering. So if you have not got started on PeerWise yet, let me encourage you to read through the Introduction and Chapter 1 of the Study Guide; and get started answering (and then writing) questions on PeerWise.