Glad you found it helpful
Yes, online feedback can turn into a full-time job. It's important to think about strategies and techniques for reducing your workload and making assessment sustainable. This is a major issue in online learning because formative assessment (feedback) is one of the main factors that affects learning outcomes and students' perception of high quality courses.
Thankfully, there's a lot of ideas and information about online formative assessment out there and peer-review/assessment/feedback is a core strategy (but rarely done well, in my opinion). I recommend searching for ideas in research, conference presentations, etc. in your students' particular field/subject to find some appropriate ideas (Ideas that work with students from one field may not work so well with students from another).
An important point to note, that seems to run through a lot of the research I've read on the subject is that peer-review/assessment/feedback is more beneficial to reviewers than reviewees. In other words, reviewing and assessing others' work appears to be a powerful learning strategy and well worth investing time and effort in.
A common example activity to get inexperienced students started is:
- Gather 3 - 5 written compositions by former students of varying quality.
- Present them to your students and ask them to put the compositions in order of quality; high to low.
- Most importantly: Put the students into pairs or small groups and ask them to discuss why they think each composition is better or worse than the others.
- Ask the students to collate their ideas/reasoning into some helpful advice, e.g. a list of "do's and don'ts," for writing high quality compositions. (Please note that some aspects of high quality writing can be difficult, if not impossible, to put into words so encourage students to allow for some "fuzzy" criteria such as creativity, originality, overall impact, etc.)
- They can then use this as a simple rubric for reviewing/assessing/giving feedback on each others' compositions. This ensures that students fully understand the rubrics and criteria that they're using.
Make sure that students know what the complete learning activity is, from start to finish, and your rationale behind it so that they understand why you're asking them to do it. This way, you can avoid some of the objections that students often have about reviewing/assessing each others' work - They often believe that this is the sole responsibility of their teacher. It's your (often difficult) task to persuade them of the benefits of peer-review/assessment/feedback.
If students demand grades or it's the only way to get them to do the work (a common issue!), I recommend grading their rubrics and/or grading their peer-feedback. Also, students naturally tend to focus on more local (as opposed to global) aspects of writing and subject matter because they don't yet have a coherent global understanding. (If they did, they wouldn't need to study it!) With this in mind and if it's possible, I recommend giving some global feedback either to individual students or, more efficiently, as group or whole cohort feedback for the common, essential issues in their work that they need to address.
In short, it's a lot of work to set up peer-review programmes and ideally they should be implemented and coordinated throughout entire departments and programmes in order to give students some continuity between courses (and to provide support for teaching staff and students if and when things don't go according to plan). But, once they're successfully up and running, it's as if the students teach themselves with a little guidance from teaching and support staff.
I hope this makes sense!