Solution Overview

Solution Name:

Peer-to-Peer Learning with Kritik

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One-line solution summary:

Kritik enables educators to implement peer learning strategies that remove bias and provide students with specific and actionable feedback

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Pitch your solution.

  1. The problem: Through traditional teaching strategies, students often struggle to engage with course material and with their peers meaning that they are unable to reach their full potential and adequately prepare for the future of work.

  2. The solution: Structured and measurable peer learning strategies can develop students' critical thinking and soft skills while boosting engagement and encouraging meaningful conversations and connections with the learning. Incorporating the element of anonymity onto this, and questions that promote inquiry mean that the student's backgrounds and unique perspectives are celebrated and valued - and students develop skills necessary to succeed in the future digital workforce. Kritik is the peer-learning solution that makes this possible for instructors across all class sizes, disciplines and modes of teaching (ie. asynchronous and synchronous).

  3. The potential global impact: Exposure to this level of peer learning empowers students to take control of their learning and to expand their understanding and skills within the context of their course and in areas that benefit them professionally and personally. Students also learn to consider and value diverse viewpoints and perspectives within a safe and structured learning environment promoting an inclusive and global world view. 

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Film your elevator pitch.

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What specific problem are you solving?

The specific problem is traditional teaching methods that don't provide an equitable and inclusive learning environment for students across a range of backgrounds and abilities. The scale of this issue is global, but Kritik focuses on students in higher education. Having said that, there is nothing stopping Kritik from being deployed in schools K-12 if there are resources to support the deployment. A factor contributing to this problem is time and resources of the instructor. Administering inquiry and open-ended questions that promote critical thinking and providing consistent and meaningful feedback is resource-intensive for instructors who already have a lot on their hands. Another factor is motivating students and creating accountability for them to take the effort to take charge and make meaningful contributions to their learning.

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What is your solution?

We address the problem of traditional teaching methods that don't provide an equitable and inclusive learning environment right from the source by empowering educators to implement teaching strategies that improve engagement, remove assessment bias, and build students' lifelong skills - like critical thinking. With Kritik, professors equip their students with the skills necessary for their success in the future of work - and in life, including higher-order thinking, and soft skills. Kritik addresses the problem of resource and time limitations of instructors through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline the assessment process and by giving students the power to assess their peers, reducing the grading burden of instructors. Kritik addresses the problem of accountability and student motivation in a number of ways including, a defined and consistent process of peer assessment structured with clear rubrics and objectives, and a gamified grading score that motivates students to provide feedback to their peers that is both critical and meaningful.

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Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

When you support equitable and inclusive teaching strategies that engage students and prepare them for their future,  you benefit ALL students and society in general. The students who are most impacted by biased teaching practices are those from multicultural backgrounds who may not be able to relate to Westernised teaching practices. For example, when they are given an assessment like multiple choice questions, they may not be able to understand the cultural contexts in the questions and in turn, do poorly on the tests, which is an inaccurate assessment of their abilities and strengths. To better understand the needs of students, we are partnering with professors to conduct and analyze research on student success. We also receive input and feedback directly from students who are learning through peer assessment with Kritik. The solution will address their needs by enabling evaluation that focuses on two aspects - critical and motivational feedback. It reinforces the idea that there is something to gain from all students' points of view and it promotes a greater understanding and acceptance of different viewpoints - powerful learning in school and in life.

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Which dimension of the Digital Workforce Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Prepare those entering, re-entering, or who are already in the workforce for the future of work with affordable and equitable digital skills, training, and employment opportunities
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Explain how the problem you are addressing, the solution you have designed, and the population you are serving align with the Challenge.

The dimension that Kritik most closely addresses is to support teachers and educational institutions with teaching and learning methodologies, tools and resources that help develop future skills for students. Kritik is more than a platform for instructors, we work directly with institutions and instructors and their students to support the skill development of students that aligns with culturally responsive pedagogy. Kritik is a tool to implement peer assessment, but we also use our community of practice to bring instructors together to share ideas, pedagogy, activities and best practices and conduct and share research relevant for the success of our instructors.

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In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Toronto, ON, Canada
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Is your solution already being implemented in one or more of the following ServiceNow locations (Australia/New Zealand, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, the United Kingdom, United States), or are you planning to expand your solution to one or more of these countries?

My solution is already being implemented in one or more of these ServiceNow locations

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What is your solution’s stage of development?

Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model rolled out in one or, ideally, several communities, which is poised for further growth.
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Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution.

It has been successfully deployed in more than 300 individual classrooms sporadically across 80 universities in Canada and USA, including university of Waterloo, University of Calgary, University of Texas, Princeton University etc, and we are aiming toward enterprise adoption across many campuses within the next year and two.

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Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Mohsen Shahini, Co-Founder of Kritik

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the ServiceNow US Racial Equity Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if ServiceNow is specifically interested in my solution/I do not qualify for this prize

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More About Your Solution

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new technology
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What makes your solution innovative?

Our solution to prepare those who are entering or re-entering the workforce is innovative our approach and technology professors use to implement peer assessment and peer learning. More specifically, peer assessment isn't a new method in itself, but Kritik leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to make it a seamless and efficient process for instructors. It is modeled on the Revised Blooms Taxonomy to ensure that student success and student learning remain at the forefront of all product development. With the use of AI, professors can set up the assignment and objectives and allow Kritik to keep students engaged, and organized through the process. We are constantly innovating based on the feedback and recommendations of our students and professors. For example, several new features, including spotlighting, the dispute feature, and multi-topic activity came directly from requests from professors. We work actively together to ensure the platform moves forward along with the innovation and creativity of our professors.

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Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

Our technology uses the power of data and AI to increase the quality of peer grading and peer feedback. Traditionally, peer grading is done in a simple averaging fashion; i.e, the final grade will be the average of the peer grades. This results in inaccuracy and students gaming the system. We have used historical data to build a technology that differentiates graders based on how closely their scoring is to the scoring of the instructors. Instructors need to do minimal amount of grading to calibrate the system and set the initial grading power of students. From then on, good graders will have higher grading power than poor graders. Moreover, the system flags poor-quality graders and brings it to the attention of the instructor. The instructor will in turn re-grade the flagged assignment which will result in further "fine-calibration" of the graders.

The technology also allows instructors to administer peer assessment in group activities to increase accountability in group projects. We use "wisdom of the crowd" to detect which team member in a group assignment does not deserve the whole grade and should be penalized.

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Provide evidence that this technology works. Please cite your sources.

We are actively working on our own research to demonstrate the outcomes of improved retention, academic performance and engagement of students. However, the following two studies support grade calibration - a critical component of the Kritik platform, handled seamlessly by our integration of artificial intelligence (AI).

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/220832254_A_Method_of_Automatic_Grade_Calibration_in_Peer_Assessment

https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.59.5758&rep=rep1&type=pdf

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
  • Software and Mobile Applications
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Does this technology introduce any risks? How are you addressing or mitigating these risks in your solution?

Risks include:

●      Bias among students in grading each other.

●      Accuracy of student grading compared to instructor grading.

Bias risk mitigation is done by having double-blind (anonymous) peer evaluations and feedback for a bias-free assessment and feedback.

Student grading accuracy is improved with an AI-driven weighted grading power associated with every student based on the calibration and evaluation performance in past activities. The overall grade is a weighted average of grading by multiple peers.

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Select the key characteristics of your target population.

  • Low-Income
  • Middle-Income
  • Minorities & Previously Excluded Populations
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Canada
  • United States
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In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Canada
  • United States
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How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?

Current number of people: 100,000 students and professors in total

In a given year: 50,0000 students and professors

We hope to increase to 3 million students and professors in five years’ time.

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What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and -- importantly -- how will you achieve them?

We look for solutions that will have a transformational impact on millions of lives. Use this space as an opportunity to describe your impact goals and how you plan to achieve them, whether through your organization or through other approaches to scale, such as replication.

Our impact goals are to increase the number of students and professors using peer assessment through our platform and also to expand our community of practice and knowledge hub to provide support, research and resources to professors across a variety of topic areas. We will achieve these goals through enterprise deployment, expanding to colleges and K-12, as well as globally, and increasing partnerships to expand our offering.

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How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

Share a few specific, measurable indicators you are using to measure your progress. Ideally, these should be things you are already using to measure and talk about your solution’s progress and impact.

Three main areas of measurement are the renewal rate of professors using our platform and new professor acquisition, signalling that they are having a positive experience and are seeing results from their students. The second is feedback scores and input from professors and students using Kritik to understand what the user experience is like. The third is measuring the reach of our community of practice, including workshops, resources, and our professor community soon to be launched.

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About Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models

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How many people work on your solution team?

30

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How long have you been working on your solution?

Since 2019

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How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

We started in 2019 and have grown to serve over 100,000 students and instructors across the US and Canada. We are a diverse team with founders Mohsen and Carine who both immigrated to Canada. Our team is multicultural - and we are proud of this fact. We know that diverse opinions, experiences and viewpoints are empowering to a team. This is the thinking we believe in with our product and we have purposefully built our team to reflect the values we present in our product. We know that having a diverse team is not enough - we conduct research and seek the opinion and feedback of those we serve to ensure the Kritik platform is moved forward with those we serve being front and center of any decision or advancement. We are well equipped to deliver the solution and solve the problem, because while being established, we remain nimble and dynamic in our approach, able to implement new strategies on the fly, take feedback and improve through iteration without hoops and hurdles to overcome internally.

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What is your approach to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive leadership team?

The idea of building a team that is diverse, equitable and inclusive is a core to who we are at Kritik. It doesn't just start and end with our founders, each new hire is encouraged to be themselves, embrace their unique abilities and trust their intuition. We are also upfront about our efforts, encouraging women to apply for our developer positions. We know that we are more than a product, and the beliefs and mission we embed into our product must also be reflected through the dynamics of our team. Through weekly mindfulness and gratefulness reflections, to standups weekly that focus on sharing positive moments, and acknowledging the good work of our teammates, we make time for what matters.

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Your Business Model & Partnerships

Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)
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Partnership & Prize Funding Opportunities

Why are you applying to the 2021 Digital Workforce Challenge?

We started Kritik in 2019, soon to watch, along with the world, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread claiming lives and affecting people young and old. Progress was made in the area of remote learning and asynchronous learning, but still, those marginalized groups were impacted the most through the ebbs and flows of the pandemic. Not only marginalized groups, but we need to do more to support all students and prepare for the world of tomorrow. Peer learning and peer assessment is part of the way forward - as a way to help both students and instructors improve their experience. As an established startup with the infrastructure and team to support this region and students in need, we remain nimble and capable of receiving assistance from mentorship, networking and key industry leaders to make a real difference.

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In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Monitoring & Evaluation (e.g. collecting/using data, measuring impact)
  • Product / Service Distribution (e.g. expanding client base)
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Please explain in more detail here.

We would welcome support to continue expanding our client base as well through the monitoring and collection of data to demonstrate the quantitative gain of peer learning.

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What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?

Organizations that specialize in community building (Tribe.so), plagiarism (Turnitin), and student placements (recruitment tools/platforms). With Tribe we aim to build a community of instructors who can lead the transition in Higher Ed to competency-based education by sharing resources and best practices. With Turnitin we want to advance our platform and AI to be able to flag any malpractice in student submissions. With student placements, this is a new market we wish to explore where we can help Kritik students showcase their competencies and have a successful start to their career post-education. At the same time, we also wish to collaborate with any HR placement tool/platform that needs a more thorough competency-based assessment solution for hiring the right candidates.

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Solution Team

 
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