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Using Calibrated Peer Review As A Teaching Tool For Structural Technology In Architecture

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Writing and Portfolios

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1331.1 - 13.1331.12



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Paper Authors


Anne Nichols Texas A&M University

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Dr. Nichols is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at Texas A&M University. She teaches structural analysis, design, and planning at the undergraduate and graduate level. She is a civil engineer with research interests in the structural mechanics and modeling of masonry and cement materials.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Using Calibrated Peer Review as a Teaching Tool for Structural Technology in Architecture


Calibrated Peer Review (CPR) is a web-based software tool for incorporating writing assignments in course that are not typically writing intensive. The intent is for students to write and critique the work of their peers on technical topics by learning to calibrate writing samples and then anonymously reviewing a subset of their classmates writing assignments, freeing the instructor from the time consuming task of grading every student’s work.

This learning tool was used for a required graduate course in architectural structural systems in the Master of Architecture program at Texas A&M University. The student learning outcome was to improve the performance of a written term report on an architectural building case study conducted by a team of first year graduates through practice and exposure to varied levels of quality writing, and to reinforce the need for academic integrity with respect to the incorporation of non-original work.

This paper will present the analysis of the scored data and student performance with respect to the CPR assignments, their originality, and term report quality. The student feed back from directly after the assignments and at the conclusion of the semester will be presented, along with an analysis of that feedback and the effectiveness of the learning tool.


Within a graduate professional degree program for Architecture, knowledge of environmental systems (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) and structural systems is necessary to ensure good design and to obtain licensure, but is secondary to architectural design which is what attracts students to the profession.

The integration of these subject areas within design through an architectural education has long been discussed and debated, as Comprehensive Design is an important student performance required for accreditation from the National Architecture Accrediting Board (NAAB).1 Approaches to achieving integration have had varying levels of success, due, in part, to the offering of these subjects as traditional lecture courses.2

Within one such traditional lecture course in structural systems and planning, the graduate students were assigned a team project of a case study of an architectural building of their choice to demonstrate through problem-based learning an application of the course material and show a correlation between design and system application. The assignment required a short report documenting the case with examples and illustrations of the structural system(s) or members, computer analysis, and any other supporting evidence showing the application of the subject matter in the qualitative and quantitative analysis. The teams also presented brief slide show presentations to the class. The graphic design of the presentations were of high quality, but the report writing was often painful to read, lacked clear organization, and was of much lower

Nichols, A. (2008, June), Using Calibrated Peer Review As A Teaching Tool For Structural Technology In Architecture Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3686

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