Use Peer Response Strategically

  1. Ask students to respond to each other's work during key moments in the writing process, such as when students are brainstorming for approaches to the assignment, gathering research for it, or starting to draft the paper.  Schedule these days (or portions of a class period) in advance and give students notice of what you expect from them during that particular workshop.
  2. Ask students to design the rubric you'll use to evaluate their work "live," in class, in order to quickly assess how well the class understands what you're looking for in the assignment.  This webpage and our own GE page both demonstrate ways to use a variety of discipline-specific rubrics, scoring guides, and response forms.
  3. Make peer response happen outside of class.  To save class time, use Blackboard VISTA or some other online learning management tool for conducting peer response.  Require that students post peer responses in a discussion thread you open for each writing assignment, and that writers look over these responses before turning in a paper to you.  Confirm that students have consulted these responses by asking them briefly in class to tell you the best advice they got from their peers—or by asking them to attach a student-to-peer memo that explains in more detail the advice they decided to act upon and their reasons for doing so.
  4. Value good peer responses with some points toward the final grade for that paper.  Require students to post their peer critiques electronically, and then speed-read through them, giving points to feedback that contains substantive questions or suggestions.  Cut and paste the best peer critiques and show them to your class, explaining what you liked or found useful in each.
  5. Give students guiding questions for reviewing a paper and responding to each others' work.  Ask them to discuss in class what they thought was working well or not working in the papers they read.