I hope the Fall semester is wrapping up well for you. Despite the crazy end to the semester, I thought I might take a break from grading to write a blog post about a neat new activity I tried this semester. Like in many other classes, my students were asked to work on a paper throughout the course of the semester. I gave various minor assignments building up to the deadline for the final paper, such as a reference list, an outline, and a rough draft due to me for feedback.
Prior to submitting their rough draft to me though, I assigned the students to work in pairs. They were asked to give a copy of their rough draft to their matched peer. Students then read their peer’s paper and were asked to provide positive and constructive comments. To participate in the activity, student papers had to meet basic criteria (e.g., page length, acceptable grammar and spelling, etc.).
There were several benefits for doing this activity. Students were able to have two individuals (their peer and myself) provide comments prior to submitting the final paper. It can be particularly useful to go through two cycles of revisions, especially when the feedback is coming from two different sources. Additionally, students were able to observer strengths and weaknesses in their peers’ papers. Consequently, using their critical thinking skills to evaluate someone’s paper, students are able to gain a unique perspective when revising their own papers. Finally, because students had to submit a peer-review “report” to me, their grades were largely based on the feedback they provided. Thus, after a in-class lecture and discussion, students were given the chance to practice reviewing and commenting on their peer’s writing.
Overall, the feedback I received from the students was that this activity was very helpful. The students appreciated having a peer to provide them with feedback. They also enjoyed the opportunity to read a peer’s paper and provide suggestions.
In sum, I thought it was a cool idea to have students participate in a peer-review process. The students seemed to enjoy it. I would recommend this activity to anyone who is planning on assigning course papers in the future!
Good luck with the rest of your semester!
posted by George Banks in Uncategorized
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