A tension: peer review and patchwork (some of my own learning from treating data collected)

 Whilst peer review is a highly valued process (by students and facilitators alike) there is a danger of a contradiction occurring between this process and the original patchwork vision that the review seeks to serve. Winter’s original view was that peer review should help to refine understanding, that it should enable students to ‘come to know’ and to grow through their apprenticeship in their field, in effect the patch should represent a learning journey and should not claim mastery. It is also well charted that students are mainly highly motivated to develop their assessment products and that assessment is highly valued. The contradiction occurs because students have sometimes, in the experience of the BA LTR facilitation team, seen the perfection of the patch as the greatest priority, sometimes over and above the gains of learning. The mindset that sets the patch as perfection can be evidenced in the community; students post a draft, then a re-draft then more drafts for feedback. Ways in which this is being dealt with in practice include the limitation of facilitator review and the prioritisation of attention to dialogue around issues and concepts. Whilst the online community enables feedback at the convenience of the participants, it also means that feedback can be sought at will, a balance between the influencing forces of assessment and learning, mastery and apprenticeship, needs to be managed.

Challenges and benefits of the patchwork media approach as experienced by learners

Emerging from recently collected data and the emerging analysis is a portrait of some of the benefits of operating a digital and media rich version of Winter’s patchwork text approach. 

Benefits for learners

• The use of media to provide opportunities for seeing events and issues from other perspectives.
• Intrinsic enjoyment from using creative media
• The opportunity to develop technical skills and to become a critical user of technology
• The opportunity to use media native to the work setting
• The opportunity to articulate and develop understandings through considered asynchronous peer review
• The opportunity to share assessment products beyond he peer group (through the world wide web) and thus gain authentic feedback. 
• The opportunity to create assessment products in ways that are natural to an individual learning style.

Challenges for learners

• The need to develop strategies for managing the quantity and quality of review messages.
• Negotiating the use of media which is both creative, authentic to the workplace and helps to develop the learners technology use but that does not distract from the learning content/message. 
• Managing the balance between seeking to perform at a high level for assessment and accepting the apprenticeship mindset inherent to the patchwork process (particularly this means managing the number of times that feedback is sought). 
  Finding creative solutions to enable the submission of new file types as they emerge.