Facilitating Successful Peer Review

All effective writers at all levels of accomplishment seek out peer review. You probably know this from experience. By scheduling time for peer review in your classes, you help students develop the writerly skills of giving and getting help. Peer review:

  • helps writers imagine a wider audience (beyond self and/or teacher).
  • provides opportunity for direct audience feedback (to identify areas in need of greater support or clarification; to anticipate possible counter-arguments; to gauge level of interest/engagement; to help generate/expand on ideas).
  • provides an opportunity to hear/read other writers’ prose (often the reviewer benefits as much as the writer!).

Promoting the Writing Center

The main purpose of the Writing Center is to provide the highest quality of peer review.  Whether or not you give class time to peer review, we hope you will encourage your students to use our services.  Also:

  • Consider placing a statement like the following on your syllabus:  “PLU Writing Center (located in Ramstad 114).  Take advantage of this free writing peer consultation service available for all PLU students. This is a place for the types of feedback and networking that good writers seek out.”
  • Schedule a 15 minute orientation for your class in the Writing Center or have a consultant visit your class to discuss our services:  writing@plu.edu.
  • Take advantage of the Writing Center’s offer to conduct peer review with your class in the center.  You can even schedule this when you have a conflict (a conference?) and don’t want to waste class time.
  • Begin small peer group activities early in the semester to help students get to know one another and to begin to feel comfortable working with and responding to each other.
  • Place on your syllabus words that help students expect and value peer review.  Example: Week 4 (10/15):  Bring to class 3 copies of your preliminary draft for Peer Review.  Example: Grade Distribution (10%) Quality of participation and peer feedback.
  • On writing assignment sheets, specify exact audiences for assignments so that students can better help their peers meet audience needs and expectations.