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On Peer Review for the Ancient Style Project and grades…

I have emailed everyone the spreadsheet that sums up the comments from everyone for this most peer review, and I have a few highlights from a selection of your blogs after the “continue reading” part, too.  But before I get to that, let me mention that I posted grades for everyone for the first part of the blog posts.  As I said at the beginning of the semester, the most important part of that assignment is that you post to your blogs on a timely basis and with some detail.  And there’s no way to make up from past (or lack thereof) blog posts, so my advice from here on out is to press on with new posts.

Here are some of what folks said about this last peer review:

This being the second of our peer reviews for ENGL 328, I felt better going into the process than I did for the first review. That being said, there were things I liked both more and less than the last peer review. I enjoyed the use of Google Docs for commenting, reviewing, and revising last peer review, and liked it even more this time.

The questionnaire threw me off a little bit though; I didn’t want to answer the rating questions too harshly, but I didn’t want to be dishonest. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and I know these were rough drafts (the point of peer review for improvement), but it has been my experience in the past that people take comments that are meant to be helpful, as personal insults. I hope this will not be the case this time around, and I hope my peers see that I put my best effort into giving them feedback that I believe was both reflective and helpful.

To me, this speaks to the ongoing problem of offering peer review that is finding a way to balance honest and useful critique with kindness.

Another comment:

Going through this process for the second time, I feel like I’m much more partial to doing this in person. I can’t stand having to wait for a response and the answer to a question that I may have about said response.

Well, this is the trade-off of an online class.  But essentially, one of the things we can’t do with an online class is the sort of f2f and in person peer review this person is talking about.  And I do think there are some advantages of the online peer review, including that your peers’ comments are in writing.

Then there are these two comments:

Generally speaking, I am still not a fan of the google docs approach to peer review. It is weird to see physical changes made to my paper by others. Also, I have struggled to figure out what exactly someone is pointing out at first. Overall, I’d rather read a separate sheet of paper with comments or personal interaction for peer reviews.

and

I’ll start this off with the biggest pain with the peer review thus far — I hate GoogleDocs. I’m very accustomed to Word, and I like using the Track Changes option. With my paper, I received somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 e-mail alerts. It’s annoying and I don’t like it.

I’ve explained already my reasons for using Google Docs for this.  Unlike MS Word, Google Docs allows us to trace the entire history of a document, so it’s possible to compare the current version of a document with a previous document for revision.  Since the documents are public, we can all see the changes, which is also different from MS Word.

And I want to also repeat that one of the points of the class is to get you to consider different technologies when it comes to writing– you know, the course is called Writing, Style, and Technology, and one of the outcomes of the course is about working with different technologies.  That includes Google Docs.  So while it might be kind of “pain” to do something new,that’s part of the point of education, right?

By the way, you can turn off these email alerts to the comments on your essays, but I’ll let you all research as to how that works.

One last comment:

One pro that I really noticed from the method of google docs peer review is the fact that people weren’t really afraid to make corrections or note how they felt. I think this was because of the fact that it’s not in person so as a class we don’t really have to deal with someone taking a comment to heart or getting angry about it. One conI noticed is some people aren’t really into editing papers, they don’t really care too. I think this happens to all of us when we don’t get into another persons writing so we make comments like “I like your intro” or “Great start, keep up the good work.” That really doesn’t help the writer at all.

I think this sums things up well.  I think the “pros” here are good, and I think it’s really important to avoid the “cons” by giving feedback that is more substantial than just doing editing and grammar sorts of comments.

Posted in Class Assignments.


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