Sunday, May 8, 2011

Video Peer Review and connecting with Prof. Van's Honors Lit Ning

As an exercise, for  peer review of the first draft of research paper #1, I asked my students to make a video of themselves reading their paper and then post this video on their respective blogs. Then I paired up those students who posted videos, and asked them to comment on each other's readings by responding to the two questions: how the ideas discussed in body paragraphs are related and whether they support the thesis, and whether the paper is clear. Currently, 19 of 22 students have completed the first draft of research paper #1;11 of the 19 students have posted videos. I'm not sure if this is due to lack of access to media equipment necessary, or are students uncomfortable with reading out loud and posting a video of them doing so on their blog? Or maybe they just chose not to do the assignment. Tonight, I was listening/viewing their videos, and what I found, and what often happens, is that students read in corrections(subject verb agreement or pauses in run on sentences) as they were reading their work out loud. But now, how do I get them to make those corrections on their papers?
 As this assignment is due Wed. May 11, only few students have comments on their partner's work.
But, the most interesting comment thus far is the one my student received from a student from Prof. Van's Honors Literature class. Or at least, I assume it is Prof. Van's student as she and I decided to connect our classes for a peer review session.  Although I forgot to mention, to Prof. Van, that my students will be posting videos of them reading their work, one of her students viewed the video of my student reading her work and he advised her that he "would also delete this video, as it sounds flagrantly racist and your 101 classmates are bound to take it out of context just like anyone else would." 

I viewed my student's video and read her paper, and do not agree with the student's comments but maybe I'm missing/missed something? If anyone is interested, go to my student's blog and view her video-


  1. Well, the conclusion of her paper is not the most flattering--"black men should break the negative stereotypes so they become educated and sophisticated," or something like that-- but this is an attempt by an ENG101 writer, after all.

  2. First, a response to the paper itself: even at this point in the research/writing process, I'm not sure that the student fully understands the meaning of a stereotype. She seems to use the word synonymously with *behavior*, something that black men as agents have the power to "stop," as opposed to something that's imposed upon them. It's really difficult to tell in this case whether the problem is language- or concept comprehension-based, but her paper as it stands now only considers one type of agency (i.e., the agency of black men) and overlooks the agency of the holders of stereotypes.

    I'd be inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt, but the response to her paper from "Daniel" invites an important discussion about reader-response. Even if she didn't intend for her words to be understood in a certain way (in this case, as "flagrantly racist"), they were by at least one reader, so it's worth interrogating how the writing on the page leaves open the door of misunderstanding. I'd love to hear what Angela herself would say in response to Daniel's criticism--not whether she herself is racist, but whether she thinks her paper suggests as much...

    In any case, it's fascinating how the Web brings issues of argumentative clarity and reader response to life and makes them more visible, seemingly more urgent.

  3. Thank you for your feedback, Doc X and CKasprzak. Angela posted a response to Daniel's comments. And she did come in to see me, to go over my comments in which I suggested that she reconsider some of the wording/phrasing of her ideas. While I am not denying that her approach/presentation of this topic is one sided, I would not label it as racist. I , similar to what Prof.Kasprzak notes in her comment, see it as ironically and quite possibly this is due to the language barrier, reiterating stereotypes she aimed at discussing/analyzing.

  4. @ Craig--Very insightful comment! I completely agree with your approach.

    @Miss B--Yes. The impression I got from the video reading is unsophistication, not racial bias. As you mentioned, nothing that sitting down with the teacher and working on work choices/concepts could not fix.

    It is important to point out, however, that your student got to write a stronger paper in the end because Dr. Van student's took the time to check her video. That, to me, is a happy ending for everyone involved, no?