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Pedagogical Development Office

Teaching Tip: The Power of Peer-Review

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ Freedigitalphotos.net

We hear a lot about the value of learning from our peers, and of collaborative learning. One way to incorporate peer-learning into your courses is to use peer-review activities. Having students review and provide feedback to their peers helps them learn more about the editing process and your expectations. When you ask your students to review their peers consider giving them a peer-review rubric that can help them better understand what to look for and comment on in their review.  This also helps them become more familiar with your expectations and can allow them to evaluate strengths and weaknesses in their own work.

For students to get the most out of the peer-review process there should be some follow-up assignment associated with the peer-review. You might ask students to peer-review each other’s papers and then ask students to make adjustments to their own paper, using the responses from their peers, as a final submission. If they are doing an oral presentation, you could ask them to write a reflection paper after they get feedback from the other students where they could consider how they might make adjustments the next time they have to do a presentation.



Some Peer-Review Activities

  • If students have to do an oral presentation in class, have 3 to 4 students fill in a peer-review rubric for their peer’s presentation. To make things easier, assign 3-4 students beforehand to each presenter so that students know who they are reviewing.
  • Do a peer-review paper session in class. Have students write a short assignment for a topic in your course. Then in class, break the students into groups of 4-5 and give them 4-5 papers. Have them peer-review the papers, following a rubric, as a group. Then have the groups rotate papers after 15-20 minutes. This will allow each paper to receive feedback from each group, and it allows the students to work in groups to assess the strong and weak points of each paper.
  • If students are doing a research paper or project for the course, have them present some of their early research findings and possible conclusions to the class or a group of students. Then have the group give each other feedback on how they organized their explanation of their research and the clarity and validity of their conclusions.
  • If you don’t have much time in class to do a peer review, you can assign students to peer-review other students’ work as a homework assignment. To make this function more smoothly it helps to assign a few students to review other students work. You will also have to make certain that the students have received a copy of the work they are to review.
  • If you have students doing a creative project for the course, either a video or an artistic representation, you can have other students review the work. Make sure you give them a rubric with elements to consider so that they have to write more than just “I like this picture. It is nice.”

Pedagogical Development Office
Vanier College