Peer Review for the Semester of Social Media Project


While we’ve been through some peer review already this semester, now we’re moving into what I guess I would describe as a more “traditional” and extensive peer review on the Semester of Social Media essay project, which is also probably the most traditional example of a regular assigned “essay” of the semester too. So with that in mind, I thought I’d offer a bit of a “pep talk” before I get to the groups and the description of how this round of peer review is going to work.


There are two things that always kind of frustrate me about peer review. First, I think that peer reviewers are generally uncomfortable providing honest and real feedback to their peers, in part because I think that most people are just trying to be nice to their classmates. And I guess that’s a good thing– I mean, I’d rather students be too nice and polite to each other than too mean and rude. Second, I think that a lot of times peer reviewers don’t put in as much effort into the process as they should. In other words, instead of taking the time to provide valuable feedback, I think a lot of reviewers take the easy way out and say something like “Great! I wouldn’t change a thing.”

One of the things that’s interesting about this is that as the writer being critiqued, students tend to have different reactions to that of being the reviewer. So, while as a reviewer students tend to be too nice and not as thorough as they should be, as a writer, students usually wish they had received more honest and detailed feedback.

Now, this is/has been a friendly group, so maybe by this point of the semester, you’re more comfortable with each other and can thus be a little more constructively honest than is usually the case at the beginning of the semester. We’ll see.

Anyway, here’s how this will work:

We will have four groups:

Group 1:  Scott B., Renee G., Amanda D., Louise B., Hania M.

Group 2: Andrew D., Marianne M., Deb B., Renee G.

Group 3: Rachel N., Kyle J., Jaclyn Y., Samantha W.

Group 4: Ja’La W., Jeffrey M., Joan K., Matt Z., Zoe F.

Here’s how this will work:

  • If you haven’t done it recently, reread the assignment because I think it does explain what it is I’m asking you to do here. We can/will discuss it as well, but it’s useful for everyone to start with being on the same page.
  • Each of you will post a link to your draft on your peer review group page. I will give you a bit of a choice here though! If you’ve used Google Docs before, you can post a link to a Google Document that will allow users to comment line by line in the essay. If you haven’t used Google Docs before and you don’t want to go through that rig-a-ma-roll, you can post your essay as a page on your wordpress site and your group members can give you feedback in the comments.
  • When you “hand in” your project for me to grade and comment on December 5, you will post it as a page on your wordpress site.
  • Leave overall comments here and/or on your peers’ Google Docs– pretty much as we’ve done before
  • As for what to look for in these essays:
    • The main things I’m looking for as a reader and as a teacher are evidence that you’ve reflected on/thought about the implications of social media and you’ve made some connection between the things we read/discussed on the class web site and the social medias you engaged in.
    • You should assume a reader who is not familiar with the assignment or our class– someone from “out there” beyond this group. That can sometimes be hard to imagine, but the better essays I’ve read in all classes tend to be written “beyond” the confines of the class and the assignment.
    • Ideally, it should be interesting.
    • And because this is a 400-level writing class, I just take it as a given that all of the grammar things/proofreading things will all be under control.

Questions or concerns?

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