Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Perils of Peer Review

So, Lizzie and I had out students exchange work for the first time this past week and for the most part it went really well (at least on my end -- we'll see what Lizzie says!) There were some technical difficulties (hence the title of this post) caused mostly, I think, by the fact that Lizzie is using a blog and I am using Facebook. My students were able to access the blogs of her students but many were unable to post their comments, even when they signed in. So, I had to create a contact list and ask students to e-mail their partners directly. And, since Lizzie's students aren't on FB, my students had to e-mail them their own work to be commented on, something most of them did but some did not.

Despite this, the exercise itself worked really well. My students were happy to see various examples of an Annotated Bibliography before having to create their own and the process of answering the questions I gave them allowed them to see things they might not otherwise have seen (for example, how one can distinguish a reliable source just by looking at the citation). I asked my class to do a short reflection on the process and most found it to be very useful and made them more confident when producing their own work. A few didn't like being asked to judge the work of other students and some felt that they were not "expert" enough to give advice, particularly when it comes to MLA citation style. They should be receiving comments from Lizzie's students over the weekend, so we'll see how that goes.

My students will be sharing their draft thesis statements with Jeremy's students this week and I'm hoping the fact that we're both using Facebook will make the technical stuff easier to manage. Let's see what happens...


  1. Mmm--What was exactly the problem your students encountered when commenting on L's students' blogs? If the comments "disappeared" after being posted, they may simply be in the spam folder of the blog.

  2. They didn't disappear, exactly -- they'd comment on a specific blog post, hit "post," and nothing would happen. Some did not have google accounts and were therefore unable to sign in although 7 or 8 students were able to post without a problem. Luckily, I've trained them to save everything first so no one lost their work but it was frustrating.

  3. I betcha it is the Spam folder issue. Blogger gets like that when it "perceives" that there are many copy and pastings from one source. And it reads the computer lab as one source, so after 6 students do a cut and paste, it begins sending the rest to spam.

    Lizzie, can you ask your students to click New Posts> Comments> Spam to see if the comments are there?