Facilitating Peer Review

Modified on Thu, Aug 24, 2023 at 1:56 PM


About Peer Review

Peer review is a student-led process during which learners provide and receive constructive feedback, reflect on that feedback, and revise their work in response to the feedback. This growth-oriented process improves students’ work and understanding of academic concepts and develops their self-evaluative, collaborative, and practical workplace skills. 

Available Software Options 

There are lots of software options available that can be used to facilitate peer review. Below is a list of tools supported by Lesley University. 

Peer Assessment in Blackboard Ultra 

The Peer Assessment tool is a feature that can be enabled within Blackboard’s Assignment tool. After a student submits work, they are prompted to review their peers' work with a set deadline and number of reviewers.

The Peer Assessment tool is only available in the new Blackboard Ultra Course View. All courses will be upgraded to the new Ultra environment in 2024, but faculty may choose to upgrade sooner. If you are interested in using Peer Assessment in Blackboard Ultra, please contact eLearning and Instructional Support at elis@lesley.edu to submit a request. 

Find out more about Peer Assessment in Blackboard Learn Ultra

Features and Considerations: 

  • This tool is a feature in Blackboard Ultra Course View as part of the Assignment tool. The entire process of submitting and reviewing peers' work is done within myLesley. 
  • Features an instructor dashboard that allows you to see the progress of the submissions and peer reviews.
  • Just like any assignment, there is also a field where faculty can enter feedback. 
  • Ability to set the number of reviewers and peer review assessment due date. 
  • Reviewers' feedback is anonymous. 
  • This is a great option for reviewing written assignments. You can also submit other media formats for review, but there are limits to how you can provide feedback on video and audio files. 

Blackboard Discussions 

A Discussion Board is an asynchronous communication tool that allows students to collaborate with others through posting or answering questions. Students respond to a discussion by creating a thread or replying to an existing thread within the forum. Discussions are available in both Original and Ultra courses.

Find out more about  Using Discussions in Original Course View

Find out more about Using Discussions in Ultra Course View.

Features and Considerations: 

  • This tool is a good option if discussion activities are already a part of your course design and you do not need the reviewers to be anonymous. 
  • Discussion threads and replies allow users to embed or attach various file types, including attaching documents and files or embedding video or audio via Kaltura Media.
  • You will need to provide your students with instructions on how to conduct the review, including posting work for review and how, where, and when to provide feedback. 


VoiceThread allows you to place collections of media like images, videos, documents, and presentations at the center of a conversation. These conversations are not live; they take place whenever and wherever it’s convenient for people to participate. A VoiceThread allows people to present content and allow others to provide feedback via any mix of text, a microphone, a webcam, or uploading an audio file. 

Find out more about VoiceThread in Education

Features and Considerations: 

  • The advantage of this tool is the variety and combinations of media that can be submitted for review as well as the wide ranges of ways that users can provide feedback. 
  • Reviewers can share feedback with text, audio, or video. 
  • This tool is particularly useful for providing auditory feedback. 
  • There is an annotation tool that allows you to mark up the work and you can play, skip and pause the media under review, which allows reviewers to provide in-depth and interactive recording of their feedback. 
  • All audio and video comments are machine captioned and the captions are edible. 
  • This tool exists outside of myLesley and there is a learning curve. We only suggest using VoiceThread for peer reviews if you are already using the tool for other activities or the feature benefits outweigh the learning curve. 

Comparing Features 

Blackboard Peer Assessment tool, Blackboard Discussions, and VoiceThread are all effective tools for facilitating student peer review. There are multiple factors to consider when selecting a tool for your review activities, including privacy, anonymity, content types, and review methods. Below is a chart that indicates what features each tool has. 

If you want help assessing which direction to go in, reach out to eLearning and Instructional Support at elis@lesley.edu

Overall Features

FeatureBlackboard Ultra Peer AssessmentBlackboard DiscussionsVoiceThread
Private ReviewsYesNoNo
Seen by Entire ClassNoYesYes
Anonymous ReviewsYesNoNo
Group SubmissionNoYesNo

Work Submitted for Assessment

FeatureBlackboard Ultra Peer AssessmentBlackboard DiscussionsVoiceThread
Text DocumentYesYesNot recommended

Assessment Feedback Types

FeatureBlackboard Ultra Peer AssessmentBlackboard DiscussionsVoiceThread
Written TextYesYesNot recommended
Recorded VideoNot recommendedNot recommendedYes
Recorded AudioNot recommendedNot recommendedYes

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