Thursday, May 19, 2011

More on virtual peer review

My class has connected with Jeremey's ENG 102 class with good results so far. My students posted their working thesis statements on Facebook and Jeremey's students used a worksheet I created to respond to them online. Almost everyone got a thoughtful response and some of my students wrote back to thank them for their work. Most of the suggestions were right on, though of course some were not quite on target. As with any peer review activity, I told my students that it was up to them to either accept or reject these suggestions and that the process of vetting the comments was itself good practice for them.

The next step is for my students to review and respond to an essay posted by Jeremey's students, which we will do in class on Monday. (As an aside, some students who received more criticism than praise were glad to know that they would soon have the opportunity to critique the work of their partners -- I think the word "payback" was used (kiddingly, of course) so this should be interesting...)

So now for the inevitable technical difficulties: 4 of my students didn't get comments because of a FB glitch that erased them. Because we could all see what was posted, Jeremey's students were able to re-post. I was also able to provide feedback to anyone who didn't get a response. Also, I had opened my class FB page so that Jeremey's students could join. I didn't realize that I would still have to accept each student in order for them to post. Luckily, I was online Tuesday morning (when Jeremey's class met) and was able to accept the requests as they came in. But, if I had been away from a computer the whole exercise would have been stalled. To avoid that problem, I asked my students to join Jeremey's FB group over the weekend. This way, he can accept them at his leisure but before my class meets on Monday.

I am somewhat concerned about having my students respond to a poetry essay when we did poetry so many weeks ago in my class. I think it'll be good reinforcement for them but I hope they don't feel that the flow of the course is being interrupted. I'm also struggling with a lack of time as the end of the semester approaches. My experience with Lizzie's class tells me that doing it together in class works better than assigning it as homework so I will do my best. If time gets too tight, I might get us started in class and have them finish at home. We will see...

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