RISE Digital Poster

RISE Model for Peer Feedback by Emily Wray

I recently gave the following presentation in the Higher-Ed Digital Poster Session at the Apple Distinguished Educators' Academy. Speakers were given three short minutes to share an idea or an approach they use in the classroom.

Imagine if every time you clicked the Facebook like button you were prompted to justify your reaction with a “WHY” or a “BECAUSE…” - Many of us would just keep scrolling because that kind of public articulation can be risky. What if our well-meaning comment is misunderstood or comes across as offensive? Several years ago I realized this is how my students felt when asked to perform peer critiques.

To help guide my Media Communications students through the intimidating peer feedback process, I developed a tool called the RISE Model. The four tiers of this framework align with Bloom’s taxonomy and support students when building these constructive analyses.


The first, most basic, level of feedback is REFLECTION. Evaluative comments, such as “I LIKE...” are welcome here, but should be elaborated on with a “BECAUSE...” that's rooted in a concept or technique from the course.


The second level is INQUIRY. Here students are prompted to ask thought-provoking questions that might lead to a new perception or clarifying questions to develop a deeper understanding of the intent of the work.


The third level is SUGGEST, where students introduce ideas for improvement of the current iteration of a project. These are specific considerations to help fulfill any stated requirements in the assignment description.


The last level is ELEVATE, which is where students are asked to imagine the potential of the project beyond the confines of a rubric and share ideas for expansion into future iterations.

Years later and the RISE Model has been adopted university-wide at Full Sail and in countless other classrooms throughout the world. 

Here’s what’s working…

The Structure

Students appreciate the framework - it gives them something to build on. And rather than generic or canned language, the prompts give students several angles from which to consider their response.

The Permission

RISE helps alleviate the anxiety and fear of peer critiques. Students learn how to not make or take constructive feedback personally.

The Mentorship

RISE gives students an opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of course content as they coach fellow students. In the process, relationships are strengthened through collaboration, rather than competition.

As we continue to immerse ourselves into this digital world, exploring the possibilities of and determining best practices for our connected classrooms, the RISE Model is a simple tool to help students have positive, productive conversations about their growth and development.

More information and implementation resources can be found at www.RISEMODEL.com.

From Sophisticated to Simple

What happens when you ask media communications students to abandon their mighty MacBooks and sophisticated software to try out a new mobile app?

Full Sail Media Communications Student Astha Shrestha

As it turns out… a lot.

I recently challenged my students to tell a story using the new Clips app from Apple. I asked them to reflect on their experience in the course and to demonstrate the various features of the app using a rich combination of images, video, and audio.

Sounds simple, right?

I knew my students would be challenged with this exercise. You see, as part of their tuition, Full Sail students are given a MacBook Pro and all the industry standard software they need to tote around a professional studio on their backs. They’re used to applications that perform infinite functions and allow a granular level of control over their creations.

With such robust functionality, what’s the benefit of going from sophisticated to simple?

The answer, we found, was speed.

Using a mobile app with limited presets forced my students into a rapid prototyping experience. Instead of debating typefaces and colors or auditioning endless soundtracks, the students could very quickly execute their ideas.

One of the major benefits of using a simplified app was the ability to focus on articulating and communicating a message without getting distracted by an overwhelming amount of bells and whistles. 

Another benefit of using the app was the intuitiveness of the interface. Editing programs like Final Cut Pro or Premiere can be intimidating and have a pretty steep learning curve. In contrast, my students were able to download Clips and create a relevant, reflective piece having no prior experience with the app.

We did face some challenges along the way. Not every student had a iPhone and many of the ones that did needed an IOS update to run the app. These minor hiccups added an unintended, but valuable layer of teamwork and problem solving to the activity.

Most students embraced challenge, but a few felt their creativity was handcuffed by the limited presets available in the mobile app. As we debriefed the experience, students shared they appreciated the ability to give life to an idea quickly and then allow that momentum to propel them to their next best step. For some that meant revising their first draft and for others it meant starting over completely, but with more intent. For all it was a valuable exercise in the simplification and distillation of a concept.

ADE Academy 2017

ADE Academy 2017

I just got back from the most inspirational three days of team building, content development, collaboration, thought leadership and professional growth at the Apple Distinguished Educator’s (ADE) Academy in Houston, Texas.

This being my first event as an ADE, I had no idea what to expect. Even having read the Academy FAQs, I still found myself in uncharted territory.

Here’s what I wish I knew going in:

1. This was no tech conference.

The Academy was easily the most inspiring professional development and networking opportunity I've had in my career. One thing I noticed was how hungry people were for community and meaningful connection. It was less about Apple products and more about real conversations with like-minded educators who want to engage in purposeful work and make a difference.

2. Embrace the experience of total immersion.

No spouses were allowed to attend the event and we were paired up with a roommate. A summer camp vibe quickly materialized as we worked hard and played hard with new friends. I’ve never been one to completely unplug, but answering work emails and tackling any other to-dos felt like my mom calling me in from the playground for dinner. They were unwanted distractions.

3. Prepare to be overwhelmed.

By the end of each day my head was swimming with ideas, but I was too tired to do any meaningful reflection. The experience was like cheesecake, delicious and rich, but you could only consume so much at one sitting. It would have been helpful to take short 15 minute reflection window at the end of each major session to process the information shared and set up an action plan for implementing relevant take-aways.

Now that I’m back home I’ve organized my notes, followed up with contacts, and am rolling up my sleeves for the hard part... Bringing all these new ideas and inspiration to life!