Unleashing the Power of the Open edX platform for Flipped Classrooms and Peer Learning at XIM University, India

Welcome to a transformative exploration of effective teaching practices based on the experiments and experience of XIM University, India. In this journey, we will delve into the dynamic combination of case study teaching, the flipped classroom approach, and peer learning, all aimed at creating engaging and interactive learning environments.

Case study teaching holds numerous benefits, but successful implementation requires careful planning. We will provide practical strategies to make your case study approach enjoyable and impactful, ensuring a comprehensive education for students. We understand that students may initially be skeptical of novel teaching methods, so we will equip you with effective strategies to actively engage them in the case study journey, unlocking their full potential.

To address concerns about content coverage, we will explore the flipped classroom approach—a student-centered model that empowers learners to take charge of their education. Discover how this approach seamlessly integrates with case study instruction, fostering peer-to- peer interactions and collaborative learning. We will also shed light on the untapped potential of peer learning, presenting strategies and innovative tools, including the renowned technology of the Open edX platform, to simplify and enhance the peer learning experience.

Join us on this enlightening journey as we draw from the experiments and experience of XIM University, India. Together, let’s create dynamic learning environments that promote critical thinking, active participation, and student engagement, ultimately transforming the way we educate and prepare students for a brighter future.

Open edX® Peer Learning Experiment at XIM University, India

Dr. S.S. Ganesh, Professor of Strategy and General Management at XIM University, shares insights from his pedagogical experiment on peer learning in a flipped classroom setting in MBA program. With extensive knowledge and experience in People Management and Business Ethics, Dr. Ganesh skillfully employed the case method to delve into ethical dilemmas and theories with his students, utilizing Socratic and Problem Method teaching approaches.

However, when the Covid-19 pandemic forced the closure of the university campus in 2020, Dr. Ganesh faced the challenge of engaging his students effectively in an offline environment. To overcome this obstacle, he harnessed the power of technology and implemented various interactive methods through the learning management system. These included polls, discussion forums, and anonymous peer assessments of assignments, facilitating a conducive learning experience for his students.

With the reopening of the campus in 2021, Dr. Ganesh’s curiosity was piqued about the potential effectiveness of peer learning in a flipped classroom setup. To explore this concept further, he conducted a carefully designed pedagogical experiment. The experiment involved integrating anonymous peer feedback on individual case analysis, facilitated through the learning management system’s Open edX platform, followed by face-to-face team case analysis in a proctored setting.

The primary objective of the experiment was to evaluate the efficacy of peer learning with and without anonymous feedback during two distinct phases. Dr. Ganesh sought to understand how incorporating anonymous peer feedback through the Open edX platform could enhance the peer learning experience. The insights gained from this experiment hold significant value for fellow faculty members, offering valuable guidance on designing peer learning components using the Open edX learning management system.

By enabling students to analyze cases at their own pace and provide feedback to their co- learners within specified timeframes, this innovative approach promotes increased student interest, engagement, and achievement. Furthermore, it empowers faculty members to utilize precious classroom time more effectively by facilitating discussions on decision-making styles among individuals and teams, as well as exploring key principles and concepts related to the subject matter.

Dr. S.S. Ganesh’s experiment showcases the potential of peer learning and the Open edX platform to revolutionize the classroom experience. His findings provide a steppingstone for educators looking to enhance student engagement, promote collaborative learning, and delve deeper into the subject matter by integrating peer learning into their pedagogical strategies. The following are the major learning objectives of the peer learning experiment conducted by Dr. S.S. Ganesh using Open Response Assessment (ORA) in Learning Management System based on a customized Open edX platform.

  • Reducing the free rider behavior by controlling individual submission and anonymous peer feedback through learning management system
  • Enabling students to learn by synthesizing the learning from anonymous feedback received from their peers and the learning that occurred in a face-to-face team setting through discussion and debate.
  • Creating a culture of collective learning by analyzing and presenting the meta decision data to get insights into the collective decision making.

Open edX Peer Learning Experiment Design using Open Response Assessment (ORA)

Dr. S.S. Ganesh designed a peer learning experiment that followed a structured process to encourage collaboration and generate valuable insights. This experiment comprised four distinct phases, each playing a vital role in fostering teamwork and enhancing decision-making skills.

In Phase 01, Dr. Ganesh introduced students to a compelling case study that revolved around data theft and whistleblowing. Through XIM University’s Learning Management System, students answered a poll question and provided their responses to justify their viewpoints through the Open Response Assessment (ORA) tool in the Open edX® platform. Time constraints were in place to ensure timely submissions and prevent alterations after submission.

Moving on to Phase 02, students engaged in anonymous peer evaluation and feedback through the Open Response Assessment (ORA) tool. Each student was assigned the task of assessing and rating the case analyses of five peers. Using a 5-point Likert scale, they provided qualitative feedback to support their ratings. Once this evaluation was completed, students received anonymous ratings and feedback from five co-learners regarding their own case analysis.

In Phase 03, students participated in face-to-face team discussions, debates, and voting. Each team, consisting of 5 to 6 members, engaged in lively conversations and justified their decisions based on the poll question. Students were encouraged to use critical reasoning to persuade their team members, while still retaining the autonomy to express and record their individual viewpoints.

The final phase, Phase 04, focused on analyzing the collective decision-making process. Dr. Ganesh and the teams presented and examined the decision data obtained from the experiment. This provided a deeper understanding of the problems formulated by the teams. Additionally, qualitative analyses were conducted to gain insights into decision rationale among different teams. A visual representation of the peer learning experiment structure can be found in Figure 01.

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Figure 01 – Structure of Peer Learning Experiment

Dr. Ganesh conducted this experiment with a treatment group of 353 students, who completed all four phases. A control group of 124 students also participated, but without Phase 02, allowing for an evaluation of the impact of anonymous peer feedback on individual and collective decision-making rationale.

Dr. Ganesh’s well-designed peer learning experiment aimed to uncover the effectiveness of collaborative learning and the value of anonymous feedback. The fascinating results and insightful findings that emerged from this innovative study is discussed in the next section.

Enhancing Critical Thinking through Anonymous Feedback: Insights from a Peer Learning Experiment

In Dr. S.S. Ganesh’s peer learning experiment at XIM University, the effectiveness of anonymous feedback in bringing about attitude changes among students became evident. A comparison between the treatment group and the control group revealed a significant difference in the percentage of attitude change. Within the treatment group, a remarkable 18.1% of students experienced a shift in their attitudes, whereas the control group demonstrated a mere 4.1% of attitude change.

This substantial difference, amounting to a relative difference of 341.46%, highlights the powerful impact of anonymous feedback in shaping students’ perspectives. Dr. S.S. Ganesh discovered that anonymity played a pivotal role in fostering an environment where students felt free to express their opinions and share diverse viewpoints. By removing the fear of judgment or potential biases, anonymous feedback empowered students to engage in open and honest discussions, leading to a rich exchange of ideas.

The implications of these findings extend beyond Dr. S.S. Ganesh’s peer learning experiment. Through the integration of anonymous feedback using the Open edX platform, educators can enhance critical thinking skills and promote perspective-taking among students. This approach encourages students to consider alternative viewpoints, challenge their own beliefs, and develop a more comprehensive understanding of complex issues.

An additional benefit of incorporating peer learning through a Learning Management System (LMS) is that it enables faculty members to effectively utilize in-person class time for deeper analysis and discussion. In a traditional case discussion class, a significant amount of time is often consumed by unraveling various dimensions of the case problem, with students vying for airtime and competing for class participation scores. This dynamic tends to be dominated by vocal and assertive students, while introverted students may choose to remain silent, resulting in their loss of opportunities to contribute and score on class participation.

However, with the integration of peer learning through an LMS, faculty members can allocate more class time to present and analyze the decision-making patterns of students. By leveraging the LMS, individual and group responses can be easily collected and shared, allowing faculty members to present diverse perspectives based on conceptual and theoretical frameworks. This approach not only promotes a more inclusive learning environment but also encourages active participation from all students, irrespective of their personality traits or communication styles.

By shifting the focus from repetitive case unraveling to in-depth analysis and critical thinking, peer learning through an LMS enhances the overall learning experience. It provides a platform for students to engage with their peers, exchange ideas, and collectively develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

Moreover, the asynchronous nature of the LMS allows students to contribute at their own pace, fostering a more thoughtful and inclusive discussion that goes beyond the limitations of traditional classroom dynamics. In conclusion, incorporating peer learning through an LMS offers significant advantages over traditional case discussion classes. It empowers faculty members to utilize valuable in-person class time for higher-order thinking, analysis, and presenting diverse perspectives.

Moreover, it creates an inclusive learning environment that encourages active participation from all students, regardless of their communication styles or levels of assertiveness. By embracing peer learning through an LMS, educators can unlock the full potential of their students and foster a more enriching and collaborative learning experience. Moreover, these findings hold significant implications for the design of effective peer learning experiments. By incorporating anonymous feedback mechanisms, educators can create an inclusive learning environment that fosters diverse perspectives. This approach not only enriches the educational experience but also prepares students for the realities of the globalized world, where understanding diverse viewpoints and embracing differences are essential skills.

Challenging Perceptions: The Open edX platform as a Tool for Enhancing Traditional Classroom Learning

Most importantly, Dr. S.S. Ganesh’s peer learning experiment challenges the common perception surrounding the use of the Open edX® platform in higher education. Contrary to the belief that the platform is primarily suited for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) targeting remote and asynchronous learners, Dr. Ganesh demonstrated how faculty can effectively leverage the Open edX® platform for teaching regular, full-time students. By utilizing this technology, Dr. Ganesh harnessed the power of peer learning to enhance the educational experience for students in a traditional classroom setting.

The experiment showcased how the Open edX platform facilitated interactive and collaborative learning among students, transcending the physical boundaries of the classroom. Through the platform, students were able to engage in discussions, exchange ideas, and learn from one another’s perspectives, both inside and outside of class. Dr. Ganesh effectively utilized the features and tools provided by Open edX technology to facilitate peer-to-peer interactions and foster a vibrant learning community.

The success of Dr. Ganesh’s experiment highlights the untapped potential of the Open edX platform in higher education. It dispels the notion that it is solely designed for remote or asynchronous learning environments. Instead, it showcases the adaptability of the platform to cater to the needs of traditional, full-time students, providing them with a modern and dynamic learning experience.

By embracing the Open edX platform, faculty in higher education can harness its capabilities to create engaging and interactive learning environments for their students. They can leverage the platform’s features to promote peer learning, collaborative problem-solving, and active participation among students, regardless of their physical location or course format. Dr. Ganesh’s experiment serves as an inspiration for educators to explore the potential of the Open edX platform in enriching the learning experiences of their students within a traditional higher education setting.

You can access the presentation on the Peer Learning Experiment by Dr. S.S. Ganesh, which was presented during the Monthly Meetup of the Open edX community, by clicking here.