Peer error correction using Schoology

In my last post I wrote about how students were writing more in the classroom using blogs and the learning management system (LMS) Schoology. By using the add discussion option within Schoology, I created a space for students to write and reflect on what they, and others, had written.

In this blog I would like to share how I have started showing students how to spot and highlight their peers mistakes and how I have adapted this to work on an LMS like Schoology.

Before asking students to look for mistakes in their partners work, they really need to know that they are not there to correct the mistakes, but simply to highlight the errors.

The first task was to have a lesson where students were given some writing with different kinds of spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes, which can be found in many coursebooks such as Headway or New English File from pre-intermediate levels upwards. Before touching the computers, students had to underline any errors and show what type of error it was by using a key, e.g. Spelling mistake = Sp  “I’m enjoing the party.”

Using the computers for error correction is a little harder. You’re not able to underline, highlight, or circle errors, so I had to think of a way that students could work around this.

I set up a discussion called ‘Correcting mistakes’ and, after adapting examples from the same coursebook, showed students how it should look using this new system:

Sp = Spelling – e.g. I’m <enjoing><Sp> the party.

WW = wrong word – e.g. They went <in><WW> Italy on holiday.

WO = word order – e.g. I have <two brothers younger.><WO>

Gr = grammar – e.g. She’s got some new <reds><Gr> shoes.

T = tense – e.g. He <arrive><T> yesterday.

P = Punctuation – e.g. They <arent><P> coming.

^ = word missing – e.g. She’s <^> doctor.

From here I set the task for students to highlight the mistakes in six sentences, making it clear they should not correct them.

One great thing about the add discussion resource is that you can set it up so members have to post before revealing other peoples responses. By doing this I was able to type in the correct answers, so that when students had finished they could compare their answers.

Since doing this with my class, students are used to highlighting their peers mistakes. At the start of any writing class on the computers I will first get them to work in pairs and use the key to correct writing from the previous lesson. They seem to enjoy spotting mistakes and appreciate their classmates input. Once they have finished highlighting mistakes they will then have to correct their own work.

This type of activity has saved me a lot of time as a teacher. Students all expect a certain amount of individual focus, but in a large class it is impossible to devote this time by correcting every piece of writing they do. Another thing is that it has also made my classroom much more learner focused. I have made it a permanent, twice a week, fixture with the class and would definitely recommend that any teacher give this a go, whether using Schoology or another LMS.



Filed under EduTech, ESL, Teaching English, Tech

3 responses to “Peer error correction using Schoology

  1. Hi Thomas
    Interesting idea, thanks for sharing. I’m hoping I can do more with peer correction this semester than I have before (*) so this is timely. I’d be interested to know what the students think about it – the peer correction using codes ispdea plus the preference for doing it on paper or on the LMS? What sort of feedback have you had from the students? Also, what level have you been doing this with?

    (*) I’ve always been very cautious with using peer correction because of the very wide range of written language skills I’ve had in my classes. This is possibly due to my context of teaching migrants/refugees in a part time evening class in a small integrated skills program. I usually have a mix of students with high oracy/low literacy sitting and others with high literacy/low oracy, and everything in between. Collaborative writing works well, but you can imagine the problems we might have with peer correction. This semester I have a higher level full-time class where I’m expecting a little more homogeneity.

    • Hi Lesley,

      My class is at pre-intermediate level. I too have a wide range of language skills in my class due to the different mix of nationalities. The peer correction works best in groups of two/three where I will mix high/low level students.

      Feedback has been positive from students. They really enjoy spotting errors both on paper and the LMS, but I have found that the benefits of the LMS are that students can keep a record of their mistakes and their progress. My LMS has also been organised in a way to allow students to spend time improving their weaker skills from suggested study links. I will probably speak more of how I have adapted the layout of the LMS for English language teaching in a later post.

      Hope that answers your questions.



      • Hi Tom
        Thanks for your detailed response. My classes have been nominally intermediate level, but some have much lower literacy skills. This semester I have one intermediate class and one advanced class.
        I intend to follow your example and try it with my new classes and will be interested to see how they manage. I will have to carefully monitor the pairs/groups to ensure that the students with lowest literacy aren’t losing face and that they’re getting useful feedback. Also that the higher literacy students are learning something in the process too.

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