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How to Try Eli Review in Three Successful, Small Steps

When you invite a tool into your classroom, you invite its pedagogy too. Eli is first and foremost a pedagogical tool. For writing-intensive classes, assigning feedback and revisions isn’t enough. Eli is designed to help you teach better comments and better revisions because you can see more of students’ thinking and actions.

Eli delivers a digital scaffold for feedback and revision. Sounds tame, right? No one disagrees that effective classrooms include:

  • frequent, formative feedback that is descriptive, goal-directed, and goal-oriented
  • strategic, reflective revision

But, it’s a wild ride to move a classroom from writing assignments sequenced like this:


to sequences that make more room for feedback and revision:


It’s a wild ride to create a feedback-rich classroom where students learn from each other like dancers in a studio:

Over the past three years while working nationally and internationally with instructors, we’ve learned that it’s fundamental for instructors to understand the pedagogy that animates Eli:

These principles—because they are widely-accepted—usually get heads nodding. We hope yours is.

The brakes come on though when instructors start to imagine changing their syllabus and practices to use Eli.  Truthfully, we’re a bit relieved by that reaction. It’s actually a  good sign that Eli is a learning tool, not just another ed tech efficiency.

We want to help you transform that “Wow! This could change everything, so maybe I should stop!” feeling to “Wow! This can change everything over time,  so maybe I can start small.”

Of course the first small, successful step is joining our Twitter conversation or following our blog. We’ll keep you inspired by what other teachers are doing in Eli.

Beyond starting a dialogue with us, successful, small starts involve three steps, which we can help facilitate in a number of ways:

Steps to Successful, Small Starts Ways We Can Help
  1. Get comfortable with Eli, the technology. Students smell fear, so instructors need to be confident new users who can justify the reasons for the work they are asking students to do.
  1. Borrow and customize tasks. Designing targeted reviews on smaller bits of writing is added work, so use what others have freely offered. Then, return the favor by sharing tasks you write later.
  1. Choose one new thing try every few weeks. Eli’s got a lot of features; you don’t have to use all of them to see student learning improve.

These resources can help you if you are an individual instructor trying Eli for the first time. If instead you are a director or coordinator of teachers, you may need different kinds of help. You might want to

  • include our professional development materials in your orientation/pedagogy courses;
  • schedule a series of conference calls throughout the term; and/or
  • identify one or two instructors to work closely with Melissa to design a library of tasks for your institution and then to mentor other instructors on-campus.

We hope you’ve found a step to a small, successful start.

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The post How to Try Eli Review in Three Successful, Small Steps was published to the Eli Review Blog in the categories Features and Media, Pedagogy.

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