Feedback Fruits: PHHP staff member leads launch of new university-wide group member evaluation tool

By Katarina Fiorentino Klatzkow

Have you ever had a group project experience during your studies where some individuals in your group worked hard and others not so much? It can be frustrating when everyone gets the same good or poor grade. From the instructor’s side, just looking at submitted group work makes it difficult to tell who learned what and to what extent. While working and studying in groups has a multitude of benefits, such as helping students better prepare for professional life and develop necessary interpersonal and conflict management skills, teamwork can also have its challenges.

At the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions, instructional designers are hard at work behind the scenes to solve these challenges and enhance collaborative learning and group work experiences for students throughout PHHP classrooms.

Flum, Lior
Lior Flum is an instructional designer at the college and the main author of the grant proposal to bring the Feedback Fruits program to PHHP and UF.

For Lior Flum, Ed.S., who is both a PHHP instructional designer and a doctoral student in the UF College of Education, helping faculty to design innovative and engaging instruction and utilizing technology to enhance student learning and success is at the heart of his work.

“My job is to help students get the best learning experience they can get,” Flum said. “So that means helping instructors see things through the eyes of their students and making teaching easier.”

Flum has worked with the college for over four years, and he holds an educational specialist degree in curriculum and instruction specializing in instructional design and technology and master’s degrees in information and learning technologies and anthropology. He is also a 2022 College of Public Health and Health Professions Employee of the Year and a recipient of the 2023 UF Superior Accomplishment Award.

One of his favorite parts about working as an instructional designer at the college, Flum says, is finding new ways to improve both instruction and learning.

And this past spring, he did just that.

Flum identified a need for a better feedback tool for students to use for reflection and peer-evaluation following assignments and other projects after hearing from instructors. Existing tools, such as spreadsheets, Qualtrics and other surveys, were time-consuming and complex.

After some digging, Lior found a solution to this problem that would best fit PHHP and UF: FeedbackFruits, a group member evaluation tool that is constructive, easy-to-use and integrates seamlessly within the Canvas learning management system.

FeedbackFruits was first piloted by Melissa White, Ph.D., an instructional assistant professor at the UF College of Engineering. The tool has been implemented at a multitude of universities nationally and internationally.

Students working together
The Feedback Fruits tool will enhance group learning experiences for UF students at PHHP and other colleges across campus.

George Hack, Ph.D., the college’s associate dean for educational affairs, believed Feedback Fruits would be an invaluable asset to the College of Public Health and Health Professions too.

“A group member evaluation tool integrated in Canvas would contribute to students’ collaborative learning and faculty feedback at UF,” Hack said.

While the need for such a tool was evident, Flum hit a roadblock: how to get funding to make the tool accessible to students and faculty across all college departments.

Inspired by previous experiences with grant programs, Flum decided to apply to the competitive UF Tech Fee grant program, offered by UF Information Technology to support student, staff and faculty ideas to improve educational innovation utilizing technology.

Flum, in partnership with the college and UF’s Center for Instructional Technology and Training (CITT), created a proposal to have FeedbackFruits implemented not only at PHHP, but across the university. His proposal was one of eight projects selected for the grant by the Student Technology Fee Advisory Committee.

For Flum, the benefits of the supporting group member evaluation are numerous, including a structured platform for student evaluation, enhancing student meta-cognitive skills and self-regulated learning, facilitating constructive feedback, providing faculty with insights into students’ performance and group dynamics, and saving students and faculty valuable time.

At PHHP, where future public health and health care practitioners come to train, the benefits are even more profound.

“One of my areas of research interest for my doctoral studies is reflection for learning,” Flum said. “I’m trying to find new ways to support students in building their reflective skills in their respective health professions.”

TechByte Feedback Fruits
UF IT hosts Tech Byte, exploration events about technology programs at the university. Feedback Fruits has a demonstration through the series on Thursday, Nov. 30 on zoom. Link below.

On one hand, Flum says, PHHP students often engage in experiential learning where they are actually working in communities with patients and other health professionals, reading provider notes and tailoring care in a collaborative environment.

“It’s important (our students) are able to take these experiences and turn them into learning, building the habit of reflective practice in professional practice, which is one of the main objectives of a health professional’s education,” he said.

Ted Hendrixson, a student in the Master of Public Health program, agrees.

“FeedbackFruits is more useful than any peer feedback tool I have seen employed at UF yet due to its user-friendly nature. This new tool would likely encourage more effort to be put into completing and reviewing peer evaluations,” Hendrixson said.

Flum humbly credits his team and PHHP faculty, staff and students with making the campus-wide adoption of the Feedback Fruits tool come to fruition.

“While I was the one that applied for the grant, it was really the students and faculty who made it all possible,” Flum said.

In September, UF Information Technology hosted a UFTechXploration event on Feedback Fruits. To watch the recording of the webinar, please click the following link: Recording of Tech Byte: Getting to the Core of Group Evaluations. Members of the PHHP community are also encouraged to learn more about the Feedback Fruits program through the following informational resources:

Tech Byte: Getting to the Core of Group Evaluations Recording and Resources

Another live informational session will held on Thursday, Nov. 30 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Lior Flum will be presenting about Feedback Fruits, and registration is available at UF IT Academic Technology Teaching TechXploration