Facilitating Digital Peer Review with WriteLab
As an English teacher, you utilize the peer review process in your classroom to help students improve their reading, writing, and evaluation skills. It also helps students practice collaboration while slowing the writing process down.
Overall, participation in the peer review process can help students:
- Learn how to read, interpret, and respond to others’ writing through comments.
- Formulate and offer suggestions for improvement.
- Apply writing and process concepts learned in class.
- Respond to constructive criticism and incorporate comments into the writing process.
- Remember that they are writing for an audience and that their finished documents need to be clear, engaging, comprehensible, and correct in all areas of writing development.
Traditionally, peer review is done during class time where students exchange hard copies of their essay drafts. But have you tried using edtech to facilitate out-of-class peer review?
WriteLab’s Digital Peer Review Overview
Reviewing another writer’s work effectively relies on a set of skills that must be taught. In order for them to improve as writers, students must be given structured opportunities to practice these skills. Are you looking for tips on how to bring peer review effectively into your classroom? CSU’s Writing Studio has put together a nifty teaching guide called Using Student Peer Review.
Once your students understand peer review, here’s how you can integrate WriteLab into the process:
Pairing students with data. Using the Analytics feature in the app, you can view the type of feedback each student’s draft has received from WriteLab across four areas of writing: Clarity, Concision, Logic, and Grammar. WriteLab displays which comments student writers reviewed, and which they have yet to address. From here, you can decide if you want to pair students together with similar comments across these areas of writing—or bring students together with unique problems to solve in their drafts. The first approach is similar to bringing together ELL students who need to see similar errors to the ones they’re making. Our advice is to test which approach works best across different essay drafts over the course of the semester.
Easy sharing, accessibility, and scheduling. It’s easy for students to share their work with peers in WriteLab. Once you announce who their partner is, they simply log into their account and find the uploaded draft for the assignment. Checking off the assignment will make the sharing feature accessible. From there, they can enter their peer’s e-mail, make sure the peer can comment on the essay, and leave a short note before sending the draft. The peer will immediately get an e-mail notifying them that an essay has been shared with them. They can use the link in the e-mail to access the draft—or by navigating to My Documents and then opening the menu to click Shared with me. This allows students to work on reviewing the draft any time that fits their schedule outside of class.
Providing their own feedback alongside WriteLab’s comments. The authorized peer can leave notes for the author, building both the reviewer’s analytical and communication skills and the writer’s ability to interpret and respond to criticism. One significant advantage of using digital peer review is that there’s plenty of room for robust feedback. Unlike handwriting on a physical draft, online allows students to type highly detailed comments. The next major benefit is that students can see what WriteLab has suggested and help their peer work with these comments. Students can also tailor their feedback to areas of the draft outside of WriteLab’s purview.
When students engage in the peer-review process through the WriteLab app, they learn to apply and respond to the criteria used to determine a well-written paper. They can start to see themselves as writers and readers who have a stake in the process of producing effective, engaging writing in order to communicate better. To learn more about how your students can share their drafts in WriteLab visit our Student Tutorial.