Anonymize Solutions/alx

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Anonymize Solutions
Contributors Christian Köppe, Ralph Niels, Robert Holwerda, Lars Tijsma, Niek Van Diepen, Koen Van Turnhout, René Bakker, Stijn Hoppenbrouwers
Last modification June 6, 2017
Source Köppe, Niels, Holwerda, Tijsma, Van Diepen, Van Turnhout, and Bakker (in press 2015)[1][2]; Köppe et al. (2016)[3]
Pattern formats OPR Alexandrian
Learning domain

You have a class of students who don’t know each other very well and you want to Use Student Solutions (Use Student Solutions) in your in-class meetings as bad examples (e.g. for identifying and discussing the points of improvement).


Students likely feel embarrassed in an unfamiliar group when their solution is used as a bad example and other students know who has handed in the work. The focus easily shifts from the solution to the student, which could result in students not handing in their preparations anymore.

Students who don’t know each other at the beginning of a course have to find their place in the group. One of the things students use is comparing themselves with others with respect to their performance during the first time. Performing less well than other students might lower the position of a student, which is likely to be of negative influence on the motivation and self-efficacy.


Therefore: anonymize the first solutions you use to emphasize that the focus is on the solutions and the learning opportunities they offer, not on the students who have handed them in.

This pattern is most relevant during the first in-class meetings, as it helps to create a safe environment where students are allowed to make mistakes without being laughed at. Students should get the feeling that learning from each other is more important than showing how good you are already.

In order to strengthen the emphasis on the solutions as learning opportunities instead of the solution’s authors, you could also anonymize solutions that are used as good examples.

It requires usually very little time to just remove all information that could lead to the author. In case of e.g. source code files, one can make a copy of the work, rename it and remove all author-comments. Documents can be anonymized by removing the title page or copying the relevant parts to a new document.

However, the author usually still might be identifiable somehow (e.g. by purely asking everyone or by automatically added meta-data in a document). If that happens, then Student Contribution Esteem (Student Contribution Esteem) should be applied immediately to lower the negative effects and emphasize once more the focus on the solution and not the author.

The figure below shows an example of a handed-in solution (student’s name replaced with author’s name) and the anonymized version.

Anonymize Solutions-alx.png
The solution as handed-in by the student (left) and the anonymized version use in class (right).


  1. First mentioned in Köppe, C., Niels, R., Holwerda, R., Tijsma, L., Van Diepen, N., Van Turnhout, K., Bakker, R., (2015). Flipped Classroom Patterns - Designing Valuable In-Class Meetings. In Proceedings of the 20th European Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (EuroPLoP 2015). New York:ACM.
  2. Köppe, C., Niels, R., Holwerda, R., Tijsma, L., Van Diepen, N., Van Turnhout, K., & Bakker, R. (in press 2015). Flipped Classroom Patterns - Using Student Solutions. In Proceedings of the 22nd Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (PLoP 2015). New York:ACM.
  3. Patlet also published in Köppe, C., Niels, R., Bakker, R., & Hoppenbrouwers, S. (2016). Flipped Classroom Patterns-Controlling the Pace. In Proceedings of the 10th Travelling Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (VikingPLoP 2016). New York:ACM.