Peer feedback for student learning

Professionals in all fields are constantly giving feedback to, and receiving feedback from, their peers. This blog post, for example, was reviewed by one of my colleagues before it was published and they made suggestions for ways to improve it. Next week, I will be reviewing someone else’s post.

In educational settings, however, it tends to be assumed that only the teacher can provide useful feedback to learners. In this post I will outline the benefits to students of engaging in peer feedback, and some of the ways that digital tools can facilitate peer feedback.

Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash

Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash

How does peer feedback benefit learners?

When students review and give feedback on each other’s work, everybody wins.

It may seem that the person receiving the feedback is the beneficiary, but the process of looking critically at someone else’s work can help develop analytical skills as well as providing insights into your own approach to a task. If the review is based on specified criteria then the act of providing feedback also helps the reviewer gain a better understanding of the criteria.

How might digital tools facilitate peer feedback?

There are a few ways that colleagues at Sussex are using digital tools to get their students giving each other feedback.

Drafts of written work

It can be incredibly useful to get peer feedback on a draft of a piece of writing. This is something academics are doing all the time when they write books or journal articles, and students can gain just as much from the process.

In Canvas it is possible to set up an Assignment as a Peer Assessment. This can be used to gather peer feedback for drafts or outlines of essays, reports etc. Submissions and reviews can be set as anonymous and automatically or manually assigned between students. Tutors can create rubrics to guide student feedback and, if marks are used, the tutor has the final say.

Alternatively, a word document created in Office 365 could be shared and commented on.


When students are presenting during a seminar, time is sometimes short and gathering feedback from the group can be difficult. Poll Everywhere may help in this situation, with the ability for students to give quick short feedback via mobile devices that can be displayed as a wordcloud.

For more detailed, considered feedback presenters can share their materials after the session. This can be done in a Discussion in Canvas. Tutors need to change the setting to allow students to upload files to a Discussion (via Settings / More Options) and then students can upload their presentations and all the others can add comments.

For something more visual, you could try using Padlet. Students can upload their slides which are viewable by their peers who can add comments. The whole Padlet can be embedded in a Page in Canvas making it easy to access.

Another option would be to use PowerPoint online, where comments can be added to each slide. An online PowerPoint could be shared via Office 365 with named individuals or a link can be shared via a Canvas Discussion or on a Padlet.

Where can I get help setting up peer feedback activities?

If you would like to discuss options for peer feedback please contact



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  1. […] modules also often use peers to review each other’s draft essays. Again students cannot plagiarise as the application of concepts needs […]

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We are the Educational Enhancement team at the University of Sussex. We publish posts each week on using technology to support teaching and learning. Read more about us.

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