Unit 7: Peer Review
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We will use this discussion area to facilitate peer review of one essay you have selected for your portfolio. Before you get started, please read the assignment for the portfolio, and note the amended due dates for this unit’s activities on the Unit Seven unit homepage. This unit’s peer review will be focused on what composition researchers call “lower-order concerns”—that is, word choice, sentence variety, sentence-level grammar, documentation formatting, punctuation, and overall “correctness.”
Assessment: See the Grading and Assessment content item under Course Information.
A NOTE ABOUT BALANCE: So that everyone benefits as much as possible from this process, respond to an essay that has not been read yet or that has only one response before adding a third response to another essay. An essay should not have three responses if other essays posted in the thread have just one response. It is, of course, possible for an essay to receive three or more responses, but in fairness to everyone in the class, see that peer response is distributed evenly when possible.
Peer Review Process
The process for this unit’s peer review will be as follows:
Step One: As early in the unit as possible, but definitely by Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. CT, prepare your draft.
Step Two: Attach your draft to your discussion post in .doc, .docx, or .rtf by Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. CT. In the body of your post, give us a paragraph or so of context: why you selected this essay for the portfolio, what areas of the essay you are pleased with, and which areas you believe need more work. Then, describe those errors that you commonly make (referring to “The Top Twenty” in Easy Writer) and the elements of your paper you would like your peer reader to help you improve.
Step Three: Identify another student whose essay has not yet been peer-reviewed. Read the essay and respond to the writer no later than Friday at 11:59 p.m. CT. I suggest you use the line-editing strategy called “beginning at the bottom” to give the essay a good, close read for distracting errors. Simply begin at the end of the essay and move sentence by sentence backwards.
When reading the essay, you might:
- Look for sentences that begin with “There is….” Sentences that rely on this construction over-use “be” verbs (is, are, was, were, been) and can be tightened (see Easy Writer, pp. 101-102 for strategies to recommend to the writer).
- Look for “empty” words (i.e., “kind of” or “thing”) that can be removed or vague modifiers (i.e., “definitely,” “major,” “really,” “like,” and “very”) that don’t add meaning (see Easy Writer, p. 100-101).
- Look for places were apostrophes should be present to indicate possession, and note needed changes (see Easy Writer, pp. 122-125).
- Look for another common error: lack of agreement between pronoun and antecedent (see Easy Writer, pp. 84-87). This most often occurs when a writer has referred to a singular antecedent using a plural pronoun. For instance, this sentence is in error: “The writer accomplished their purpose.” In fact, “their” should be “his” or “her.”
- Look for sentences that start with a subordinating word (see Easy Writer, pp. 96-100 for a list of subordinating words), often indicating a sentence fragment (see Easy Writer, pp. 90-94).
- Note the writer’s sentence variety (or lack thereof) and recommend a paragraph that could easily be revised.
- Note (by paragraph number) the areas of the paper that need more attention to sentence- level concerns, or that contain a blatant spelling or grammar error or typo.
Step Four: Return to this thread periodically before Sunday to ask and answer any follow-up questions.
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