Reviewer anonymity & submitter anonymity

Updated over a week ago

Quick Configuration Video

In Peer Review and Group Member Evaluation, Reviewer anonymity makes the comments of the reviewer appear anonymous. In Peer Review, Submitter anonymity anonymises the submission of the reviewee. The settings can be enabled independently of each other or used at the same time.


Reviewer Anonymity

This feature allows students to review their peers anonymously. Although the students themselves are not, the teacher is able to see which student wrote what comment. Therefore, students can still be held accountable for what they write. The added value of this feature is that when a student views their feedback, this feedback is not linked to a particular colleague student.


Fig. 1: Teachers can turn this feature on in the anonymity settings

Fig. 2: Students view - the students' names are replaced by a fruity pseudonym. When using self-assessment, it will show your own name (student) between brackets.ย 

Submitter Anonymity

This feature anonymises the hand-in of the student, giving the submitter a pseudonym instead. Teachers are still able to see who submitted the document. The added value is that students that provide feedback will not be biased in giving their review comments, as they do not know who submitted the document.

Fig. 3: Teachers can turn this feature on in the anonymity settings

Fig. 4: Students view - the students' names are replaced by a fruity pseudonym.

When & Why to enable anonymity

The question of whether to use anonymity is on most educators minds. Providing students with anonymity does provide them with a safe learning environment but doesn't accurately represent, nor necessarily prepare them for the world in which they will enter post-graduation, where feedback will not be anonymous.

So what is the right approach?

Conditions that are commonly taken into account are:

  1. How experienced, or comfortable are your students with the peer assessment process?

  2. Have your students worked together before?

  3. How many times will students review each other or their work in the duration of the course?

If your students are inexperienced with peer assessment/review, and they're working together for the first time, and will only be doing one or two assessments of each other, then using anonymity can help provide a safe psychological space for them. This will allow them to feel more comfortable giving more critical comments and have a more positive experience with peer assessment/review.

If students are experienced with peer review and have worked together before, then it might be worth considering turning off anonymity. In this scenario, they might have been comfortable enough with one another, and peer assessment to still provide critical comments, and enables a rich and interactive feedback culture and dialogue, which is essential for student learning and growth.

If students have never worked together, and are not very experienced with peer review, but over the trajectory of the course they'll have more than one or two chances at reviewing one another and working together, then scaffolding the process with anonymity at the beginning, and moving towards not using anonymity towards the end of the trajectory can help students get used to the process and feel competent in assessment. This type of environment also better mimics the real world, a rich interactive dialogue.

This concludes the Anonymity Settings article.
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