ISTE Standards for Coaching

Integrating Online Peer Review Tools in Higher Education to Reinforce Digital Citizenship Skills

Imagine the work environment of a clinical dietitian prior to organizational digitalization. Communications with patients were initiated in person and on the phone. Medical charting was completed by hand and stored in hard copy files. Interdisciplinary communications were accomplished in conference rooms or conversing at the nurse’s station. Many of the digital communication tools we rely on in the 21st century were largely unavailable for use in the dietetics work environment in the 20th century, and dietetics education, in turn, mimicked the clinical landscape. Dietetics students polished their professional skills by giving oral presentations, conducting in-person mock counseling sessions, and creating pamphlets or handouts showing their skills in nutrition education. 

With exploding advancements in digital technology integration in professional work environments, it is essential that dietetics students develop 21st century skills for success in today’s digital world. Due to increased utilization of remote learning in higher education, college students have the opportunity to practice several 21st century skills that pertain to use of digital technology. 

 The Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction describes the following 21st century leadership skills in their Career and Technical Education (CTE) performance indicators (OSPI): 

  • Communicate clearly  – utilize multiple media and technologies, and know how to judge their effectiveness a priori as well as assess their impact
  • Collaborate with others – demonstrate ability to work effectively and respectfully with diverse teams
  • Assess and evaluate information – evaluate information critically and competently 
  • Interact effectively with others – conduct themselves in a professional, respectful manner 
  • Guide and lead others – demonstrate integrity and ethical behavior in using influence and power

These 21st century skills from the Washington State CTE curriculum reflect components of digital citizenship and should be reinforced in curricula at the college level, including in dietetics education courses.  

What is digital citizenship? 

“Digital citizenship encompasses digital literacy, ethics, etiquette, online safety, norms, rights, culture, and more (virtual library info).

Digital etiquette is an important component of digital citizenship and 21st century skill-building. Since so much of our communications in the digital age are through digital technology, it is imperative that dietetics students have opportunities to practice digital etiquette. Components of digital etiquette include: 

  • Interactions should be polite, respectful and kind. 
  • Written communications should be professional, including use of proper grammar, and clear and concise information provided. 
  • Information exchanges should avoid use of humor and sarcasm, as they are difficult to interpret digitally.  
  • Using language that is not harsh or offensive. 
  • Treat others the same way you would treat them in person.

(Lynch, 2017;;


ISTE Standard for Educators: Citizen

The question I am exploring pertains to the International Society for Technology in Education’s (ISTE) Standards for Educators 3: Citizen:

“Educators inspire students to positively contribute and responsibly participate in the digital world,” and 3a: “Create experiences for learners to make positive, socially responsible contributions and exhibit empathetic behavior online that build relationships and community” (ISTE). 

How can digital citizenship skills be reinforced through use of digital peer review tools? 

Integration of peer assessment in higher education can offer benefits to both the reviewer and the reviewee. As a formative assessment tool, students receive low stakes feedback from peer reviewers before submitting an assignment for summative feedback. The reviewee, on the other hand, has the opportunity to critically evaluate the work of their peers, which can broaden their knowledge in course content, but also provides opportunities to demonstrate digital citizenship. 

A study conducted by Roman et al. (2020) explored the integration of online peer review tools in distance education courses. The authors state that peer formative feedback is a useful tool as it communicates information “…to the learner that is intended to modify his or her thinking or behavior for the purpose of improving learning.” Further, the authors state that for online peer formative feedback to be successful, students need to practice “giving and receiving feedback” prior to performing these tasks. The authors conclude by stating that online peer review tools, when successfully implemented, can enhance authentic learning in digital environments by providing “…the opportunity for students to engage in… meaningful dialogue and collaboration around course content.”  

PeerGrade Peer Feedback Tool 

The peer review tool I am interested in exploring is PeerGrade, which is one of over 40 digital tools available for students to use to provide feedback in the form of a peer review assessment (Roman et al., 2020). Below are the key features of this digital peer review tool: 

  • Instructors develop assessment rubrics, which can be structured to promote digital citizenship skills. 
  • There are three stages in the assignment process. 
    • Step 1: Students upload their assignment rough drafts (i.e. the assignment hand-in stage) by a predetermined due date. 
    • Step 2: Students are assigned one or more anonymous peer assignments to review based on the rubric developed by their instructor. (Note: I would like to learn more about how rubrics are created in this digital tool. At first glance, it appears to offer options that are similar to what is available in a Google form.) 
    • Step 3: Students access and review feedback provided during the peer review process. During this stage, students can indicate that the peer feedback received was either helpful (with a thumbs up), or they can indicate disagreement with the peer feedback by flagging one or more ratings 
    • If any peer feedback is flagged, the instructor will be prompted to review any discrepancies to determine how that part of the rough draft should be graded. 
  • The flagged feedback can provide rich learning opportunities on the subject of digital citizenship, especially if the feedback is unprofessional, including disrespectful, unkind, unclear, and/or vague/unhelpful.  
  • The recipient of the peer review can also rate their reviewer on their feedback by clicking on categories, such as kindness, specificity, and constructivity. 
  • I think setting up the rubric to promote digital citizenship is important, but there will also be teachable moments to continue reinforcing digital citizenship through the feedback provided back to the reviewer from the reviewee. 

This Youtube video provides an overview of PeerGrade from both the student and instructor interfaces:

Below is a brief summary of some the pros and cons of using this tool from the following websites:;;


  • Customizable tool
  • A library of rubrics is provided. 
  • Students receive feedback from their peers, but are also able to provide feedback on the work of the reviewer 
  • Saves teachers time by having students complete formative assessments. 
  • Enables students to broaden their knowledge of course content by reviewing their peers’ work 


  • It is specifically designed for higher education, and may not be appropriate for use in K-12 classrooms. 

PeerGrade can be integrated into Learning Management Systems, such as Canvas. Here is a video that describes the integration:

Digital peer review can accomplish so much more than peer editing. Not only does this process expand students’ knowledge and perspectives in course content, it also provides rich learning and practice in digital citizenship. Opportunities to receive instructor feedback on digital citizenship, including digital etiquette, will likely enhance the professionalism and 21st century skills needed for success in the workforce. 


Author unknown. Digital citizenship.

Author unknown. Digital citizenship & ethics.

Author unknown. EdTech Impact.

Digital citizenship.

O’Hear, S. (2016). Peergrade lets students grade each other’s assignments. TechCrunch.

International Society for Technology in Education.

Lynch, M. (2017). Modeling digital citizenship in the classroom. The Edvocate.

Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Washington Career and Technical Education 21st Century Leadership Skills.

Roman, T., Callison, M., Myers, R.D., and Berry, A.H. (2020). Facilitating authentic learning experiences in distance education: Embedding research-based practices into an online peer feedback tool. TechTrends. 64, 591-605.   

Myra, D. PeerGrade.oi – A time saver for peer reviews. Commonsense Education.

ISTE Standards for Coaching

Teaching Students How to Teach Effectively on Zoom

The 2020-21 academic year is the launch year of the Seattle Pacific University Nutrition and Dietetics Internship program. Our students are post-baccalaureates who are gaining professional experience in the field of dietetics by spending 38 hours per week working alongside mentor dietitians in hospitals, out-patient clinics, schools, senior centers, food banks, and other practice environments.  As program director, I facilitate a 2-hour synchronous seminar class once per week on Zoom where we focus on a variety of professional topics, including practicing for the national board exam for Registered Dietitians Nutritionists (RDN).  During the first week of winter quarter, interns were provided with online access to an exam preparation website. In thinking through ways in which students could engage with the study materials in collaboration with their peers, I developed a lesson plan for a digital teaching project that interns will complete in assigned pairs. This project clearly reflects one of Wiggins’ six facets of understanding – that students can “provide sophisticated theories and illustrations, which provide knowledgeable and justified accounts of events, actions, and ideas” (Gonzalez, 2014).


Using the Understanding by Design (UbD) approach to curriculum design, I began putting my lesson plan together with the end results in mind. 

Phase 1: Identify Desired Results 

To begin, I developed the following essential questions to guide my lesson plan design:

  • How do effective instructors hook and keep the attention of their students? 
  • What is the relationship between digital technology and effective teaching practices? 
  • How can I present more like an experienced teacher?

Next, I created a list of enduring understandings, which represent what I want my students to remember upon completing this class:  

  • Students will understand:
    • How to successfully use Zoom as a vehicle for teaching online
    •  the difference between knowledge-centered and student-centered teaching methods
    • the benefits of student-centered learning and instruction
    • the difference between passive and active learning and instructional practices.
    • How to effectively select and incorporate digital tools into an online class session 

I intentionally integrated The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Student Standard 2 into my lesson plan in the following ways:

  • 2b: Students who are presenting and participating as the audience will practice good citizenship when interacting with their peers in an online format (i.e. Zoom). 
  • 2c. When students are preparing their lesson plans/class sessions, they will be informed and carefully consider the rights and obligations of shared intellectual property when selecting from a plethora of online resources. 

The goals I developed for my lesson plan include the following:

  • Students will begin reviewing and interacting with the RDN exam study materials this quarter (rather than delaying initiation of the studying process); 
  •  Students will work with an assigned partner to teach a 30-minute synchronous Zoom class to their peers  on a topic selected from the following list, which reflects several content areas on the exam study guide: 
    • Education, Communication and Technology
    • Food Science and Nutrient Composition of Foods
    • Nutrition and Supporting Sciences
    • Functions of Management
    • Human Resources
    • Marketing and Public Relations
    • Quality Management and Improvement
    • Menu Development
    • Procurement, Production, Distribution, and Service
    • Sanitation and Safety
    • Equipment and Facility Planning
  • Students will demonstrate skills in digital technology by using Zoom to teach a synchronous class session.
  • Students will become familiar with student-centered teaching by identifying, describing, and using student-centered pedagogy. 
  • Students will incorporate at least two digital technology tools into their interactive class session. 

The performance objectives I developed for my lesson plan are as follows: 

Students will be able to… 

  • demonstrate navigation of the EatRight Prep exam preparation website.
  • utilize three digital tools available on the EatRight Prep website that support board exam preparation.
  • successfully incorporate at least two additional digital tools (e.g. Kahoot, PollEverywhere, JamBoard) to teach and/or assess as part of their student-centered lesson plan.   
  • Explain why digital tools are an important instructional tool within the context of a student-focused curriculum. 

Stage 2: Determine Acceptable Evidence

  • The assessment criteria I used in this lesson plan was a grading rubric and self-reflection paper. 
  • The rubric is broad enough in scope to account for the variability in lesson plans students developed, and included the following assessment criteria: 
    • Information was appropriate for the intended audience; fact-based information was used; project objectives were met; creativity was exhibited; communication was effective; understanding of content was exhibited; and quality expectations were met.
  • The self-reflection paper asks students to address the following prompts: 
  • What did you learn about developing a lesson plan for online instruction? 
  • How did this experience aid in utilization of the EatRight Prep website and study materials? 
  • What did you learn about teaching a synchronous lesson Zoom that utilized digital tools? 
  • What was a highlight from your presentation? 
  • What is something you would change about your presentation if you could teach it again?

Stage 3: The Learning Plan

Assignment scaffolding was incorporated to allow students to complete weekly assignments that built on prior submissions, and which expanded thinking and planning for their online teaching sessions. Students were informed that they would present their class sessions on Zoom during the second half of the quarter. Students were given “choice” on the date to teach their lesson plans. 

The first assignment in my lesson plan included the following instructions: 

Partner teaching project proposal:

  • What specific topic(s) are you interested in researching and presenting from the following RDN exam outline?
    • Education, Communication and Technology
    • Food Science and Nutrient Composition of Foods
    • Nutrition and Supporting Sciences
    • Functions of Management
    • Human Resources
    • Marketing and Public Relations
    • Quality Management and Improvement
    • Menu Development
    • Procurement, Production, Distribution, and Service
    • Sanitation and Safety
    • Equipment and Facility Planning
  • List 3-5 objectives for your course.
  • Describe ideas on how you might incorporate the RDN exam study materials into your lesson plan.
  • Describe how you will teach your class in a way that is student-centered.
  • Describe and provide links to at least two types of digital tools you will incorporate into your class session. 

The second assignment in my lesson plan included the following instructions: 

  • Begin developing a lesson plan which will include the following:
    • Elaborate on your teaching topic(s). What content are you going to teach? What materials are available on EatRight Prep to support your instruction? Be specific.
    • What other credible resources will you use to develop the content of your class?
    • Elaborate on the student-centered techniques you will use when providing instruction.
    • Elaborate on how you will use at least two types of digital tools in your instruction.
    • How will you assess comprehension/learning of content?
    • How will you provide feedback on assessment of learning?

The third assignment in my lesson plan included the following instructions: 

 Finalize your lesson plan to include a detailed outline of the following content:

  • Teaching topic(s) – What are you going to teach? Be specific and include sub-topics.
  • What other credible resources will you use to develop the content of your class? List out textbooks, websites, journal articles, etc.
  • What materials are available on EatRight Prep to support your instruction? List out the test questions that you will use to assess students on their knowledge in formative and summative evaluations.
  • Describe the student-centered techniques you will use when providing instruction by stating each technique, then discuss how you will use the technique in your instruction. List and describe how you will use the selected digital tools during instruction. Describe why you think they will help students learn.
  • Describe the method(s) you will use to assess comprehension/learning of content.
  • Describe how you will provide feedback on assessment of learning.
  • Develop a 30-minute timeline that clearly outlines:
    • Time frames for covering content, activities, assessments, etc.
    • Show who is doing what (i.e. teaching, assessing) in each time interval.
    • Include your “script” – what you will actually say when you teach your class.
    • Include any helpful notes, such as reminders to implement a particular digital tool at a specific time, etc.

The fourth and final assignment in my lesson plan included the following instructions: 

  • Upload your final lesson plan along with a one-page summary of your teaching experience to include: 
    • What did you learn about developing a lesson plan for online instruction? 
    • How did this experience aid in utilization of the EatRight Prep website and study materials? 
    • What did you learn about teaching a synchronous lesson Zoom that utilized digital tools? 
    • What was a highlight from your presentation? 
    • What is something you would change about your presentation if you could teach it again? 

A reflection on lesson plan implementation: 

How did the assignment HOOK all students and HOLD their interests?

  • This assignment hooked students and held their interest because it is relevant to their success as dietetic interns due to the requirement to learn how to provide instruction to an audience and the need to practice interacting with the study materials for the RDN board exam. It also hooked students and held their interests because they had “voice” and “choice” in the content they chose to design their lesson plans around, and “choice” in how they designed their 30-minute class sessions. 

How did the assignment EQUIP students and help them EXPERIENCE the key ideas and EXPLORE the issues?

How were opportunities provided to RETHINK and REVISE their understandings and work?

  • Students were introduced to the assignment during a synchronous class session where Q&A was provided. Then, student pairs were asked to submit weekly scaffolded assignments over the course of one month. Each week, the assignment expanded and built on prior learning and previous assignment submissions. Each week, written feedback was provided in the Canvas gradebook and questions were answered via email and during synchronous Zoom sessions. Students were able to revise any part of their lesson plans up to the final date of submission. Students were also encouraged to share their ideas and plans during synchronous sessions for the benefit of other students. 

How did students EVALUATE their work and its implications?

  • A self-reflection paper was a required component of this assignment. 
  • Instructor feedback will be provided by completing an evaluation rubric. 

How was the assignment TAILORED  to the different needs, interests, and abilities of learners?

  • This assignment was tailored/personalized due to the “voice and choice” encouraged. Student pairs chose their lesson plan topic(s) from a list of 11 subject areas. They were also able to choose the breadth and depth of instructional content within the subject areas, as well as the format of the class session, visual aids to use, student-centered instructional techniques, digital tools used, and methods for assessing the learning of their peers. 

How was the assignment ORGANIZED to maximize initial and sustained engagement as well as effective learning?

  • I believe the scaffolding assignments were clear, concise, and organized. Students had a high level of engagement due to the necessary test preparation using the RDN exam study materials, since passing the exam is personally beneficial and required to gain employment as an RDN.
  • Engagement was likely sustained due to having “voice and choice” in how students developed their lesson plans and class sessions, and curiosity in learning about student-centered learning techniques and digital tools that can be incorporated into online learning sessions. 

In summary, this was a valuable experience learning about the Understanding by Design backwards design framework while simultaneously developing and implementing an assignment in my post-baccalaureate course. Students demonstrated how to teach a learner-centered class by incorporating short “bursts” of instruction followed by interactive activities while navigating the various functionalities of Zoom (i.e. screen share, chat box, showing video clips, and using the breakout rooms). Registered Dietitian Nutritionists spend a significant amount of time providing education to the public. The knowledge and skills needed to teach effectively online, such as what my students demonstrated through this project, will be beneficial to their future success as nutrition professionals.  


Gonzalez, J. (2014, June 23). Understanding by Design, Introduction and Chapters 1-4. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

International Society for Technology in Education.