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Workshop Agenda: “Explaining the Value of Peer Learning”

As we announced last week, we at Eli Review are conducting a free online workshop to help explain the value of peer learning to students and to offer a hands-on demonstration of how to effectively use Eli Review to coordinate those reviews.

We’ll be updating this post each day with that day’s agenda. The agenda from previous days will also be available here. If you have any questions, contact Melissa Meeks, director of professional development, or reach us on Twitter or Facebook.

Friday, July 31

We wrap up our online professional development workshop by giving student participants access to the course as instructors. They can see their own writing tasks, revision tasks, revision plans, and resubmission writing tasks as well those of their peers. Moreover, they can explore Eli’s analytics. Before today, they were able to see the feedback they gave and got; after today, they’ll be able to see all the feedback exchanged among participants, all revision plans, and engagement statistics. In other words, they’ll see the feedback Eli gives instructors. They’ll #seelearning.

We hope this hands-on experience in Eli Review as students and instructors has inspired you to make peer learning a regular part of your class this term.

Thanks for participating in this week-long asynchronous experience! We look forward to hearing how Eli Review helps you build a feedback-rich classroom.

Thursday, July 30

So far, participants in our online professional development workshop have written a description of peer learning’s value for students and given each other helpful feedback. Yesterday, they watched Melissa use Eli Review’s analytics to debrief the review (see Melissa’s debriefing below or on YouTube). With those trends and exemplars in mind, writers rated the helpfulness of each comment they received and added the best ones to a revision plan, which is the focus of today’s activity.

Revision plans are critical to Eli’s pedagogy. The best learning happens between drafts, and revision plans capture those interim steps between getting feedback and using it. Yesterday, the model draft nominated by peers described “‘deep revision’ as a place few are pushed to go.” That’s so apt! We think Eli can help in three specific ways:

  • Our student resource gives teachers a provocative piece to discuss with students:  Rethinking and Revising. Our curriculum provides a think-pair-share in Eli so students can articulate what parts of revision pedagogy they resist.
  • If you assign a revision plan, Eli’s scaffold for revision embeds selection, prioritization, and reflection. Students will go through the motions of effective revision simply by doing their work in Eli.
  • Coach the whole class first, then coach individuals. Yesterday’s activity featured a debriefing session; debriefing is part of the coaching you can do with Eli’s analytics. Addressing the most important revisions all students need to make gives students plenty to do, so any individual coaching you provide should be minimal because they are out of time and brain cells to do more. In other words, if you choose to write back to individuals in revision plans (and we don’t think you always should), you only need to affirm wise choices, redirect poor choices, and say what no one has said yet.

Today, participants will experience revision plans. They’ll drag-and-drop the comments they added to the plan into priority order, from most important revision to least. For each comment, they can add a note. Also, students can write an overarching note describing their intentions. Melissa will write back to them in their plans.

Goal: Get instructor feedback on revision plan and resubmit your writing

Time: 15 minutes


  1. By 11 AM (Eastern), the instructors will respond to your revision plans.
  2. Go to and log in.
  3. Choose “Student Dashboard.”
  4. Choose “Online Asynchronous Prof Dev on Eli Review.”
  5. Choose “Revision Plan for Describe Eli’s Value to Students” to view our comments.
  6. Choose “Revision of Describe Eli’s Value to Students” to update your draft according to the feedback you’ve received. Whether you actually do that revision is up to you, but make sure you see how students’ drafts appear in the composing window for revision.

Wednesday, July 29

So far, participants in our online professional development workshop have written a description of peer learning’s value for students and given each other helpful feedback.

Today, we debrief and process feedback – Melissa will debrief what she saw in the review task and participants will prepare revision plans. Instructions for today’s work follow the review debriefing below.

In this debriefing video, Melissa talks with participants about the trends reviewers noticed and about exemplar drafts. She’s coaching the whole class, encouraging revision, but she’s also talking about the decisions she’s making as an instructor using Eli’s analytics.

Agenda by Time Stamp (green indicates things teachers would do with students)

  • 0:00 – Context of today’s activity within Eli’s scaffold for feedback and revision
  • 0:41 – Tracking Task Completion from Instructor Dashboard
  • 1:24 – Tracking Review Task Completion
  • 2:45 – Managing Groups
  • 3:47 – Overview of Review Task Survey Design Decisions
  • 4:45 – Overview of Trait Id (Checklist) Feedback from Reviewers in Survey
  • 7:37 – Discussion of peer-nominated draft
    • 10:57 –  “Deep revision” as a place few have been pushed to go . . . until Eli!
  • 12:17 – Ways to use Random Comments in Writing Feedback to teach helpful commenting in real-time
  • 14:20 – Discussion of writer’s decisions
    • 14:30 – thinking about checklist feedback
    • 16:17 – star ratings
    • 17:23 – comments, rate feedback add to revision plan
    • 18:14 – endorsing comments as an instructor (Learn more about teaching with endorsements)
  • 20:30 – Brief summary of how to use Eli when talking with writers about their writing
  • 21:00 – Preview of Review Feedback analytics–how to use helpfulness ratings to find good reviewers and good comments
  • 23:00 – Preview of Engagement analytics–how to use data to find give-get ratios and look for writers who are dissatisfied with the feedback they’ve received
  • 25:00 – Context of tomorrow’s activity within Eli’s scaffold for feedback and revision

This video does double-duty in explaining how instructors use Eli and in talking with participants about their work. The green portions in the agenda (12 minutes) above show how instructors can use Eli to coach writers.

Once writers have rated the helpfulness of feedback, instructors can use Eli’s analytics to coach reviewers too. If this class extended beyond a week, Melissa would address the fears about giving feedback that are evident in some of the comments. Reviewers said things like “I know the comment prompt says not to, but I really want to tell you that I liked your draft.” That’s a perfect opening for talking about the place of praise in feedback and about the anxieties we all feel when making helpful suggestions.  We’d build a culture of giving feedback through conversations like these.

Such comments from reviewers are also formative feedback for the instructor. The prevalence of those comments tells Melissa that she needs to rethinking the comment prompts in the review task: There’s a balance between setting reviewers up to comment effectively and letting them be free to enough to respond as they see fit to the drafts they’re reading. So, if there a next review for this class, she’d modify the instructions:

Original Contextual Comment Prompt Modified Contextual Comment Prompt
Highlight any words or sentences and offer a comment that extends the writer’s thinking. Describe your reaction to the passage, evaluate it, and then make a suggestion (if appropriate).If the draft includes a main idea not covered in the list above, please add a comment that expresses the writer’s main idea in your own words. Highlight any words or sentences and offer a comment. Describe your reaction to the passage, evaluate it, and then make a suggestion (if appropriate).Feel free to comment on things you like as well as things you think can improve. Like criticism, praise is effective when it spells out a strategy so that writers can use it in revision.

The visibility Eli gives instructors into students’ feedback and revision helps them see how the activities they are creating leads to learning. Seeing learning (or its lack) shapes teaching.

Stephen L. Chew’s post on Inside Higher Ed offers this description of learning-driven teachers:

Learning-driven teachers don’t simply wish or hope their students learn — they take actions to see that the desired kind of learning takes place. Consciously or not, learning-driven teachers are concerned with an array of factors that influence student learning. For example, they manage the class’s collective attention, monitor metacognitive awareness, respect the constraints of working memory and promote transfer-appropriate processing, even if these teachers are unaware of the formal names of such concepts.

We hope this video and hands-on experience model learning-driven teaching. Using Eli, instructors can provide just-in-time coaching to help writers revise and reviewers give better feedback. Using Eli, instructors can adjust their goals to meet students’ needs.

Today’s work:

After getting a sense of how the whole class is doing from the debriefing video, writers should turn their attention to processing the feedback they’ve received. Our student resource explains how to read, select, prioritize, and reflect on comments with a growth mindset.  In Eli, writers are led through this revision process as they make two choices for each comment from reviewers:

  1. Rate helpfulness. By giving most comments 3 stars and only extraordinarily helpful comments 5 stars, writers rate the helpfulness of each comment. These ratings help students and instructors know how well the review is going. Learn more about teaching with helpfulness ratings.
  2. Add to revision plan.  Students send a copy of the best comments they’ve received to a revision plan, where they drag-and-drop it into priority order and can add notes to explain how they’ll follow that suggestion.

For Thursday, writers will finish their revision plans by adding a note to Melissa, specifically requesting her feedback or help. Eli does NOT require this interaction; but, having an instructor-student conversation in a revision plan is a good fit for this asynchronous experience.

Goal: Get feedback, rate feedback, and build a revision plan

Time: 30 minutes


  1. At 11 AM (Eastern), we will post a debriefing video that models ways of using Eli’s review analytics to talk with the whole class about trends and exemplars. The debriefing video will be available here: NOT YET AVAILABLE.
  2. Go to
  3. Login.
  4. Choose “Student Dashboard”
  5. Choose “Online Asynchronous Prof Dev on Eli Review”
  6. Choose “Review of Describe Eli’s Value to Students”
    1. If you have not finished giving feedback to your assigned peers, you must complete that work before getting feedback on your own work.
    2. If you have finished giving feedback to your assigned peers, you will see “Writing Feedback,” which shows reviewers’ responses to your draft. On this tab, you have three opportunities:
      1. From the trait identification question, consider adding ideas your draft omitted.
      2. For each comment, rate how helpful it was for your revision.
      3. If you plan to use that comment to revise your work, click “add it to revision plan.” Return to the review task so you can assess the remaining comments.
    3. In the “Review Feedback” tab, you will see how writers responded to the comments you gave them. Check back tomorrow because it may take time for your colleagues to rate your feedback.
  7. When you are finished looking through your review task, click Home to return to the course dashboard.
  8. Choose Revision Plan. This plan shows all the comments you selected from the review task.
    1. Prioritize them by dragging-and-dropping them into place so that the comments appear from highest to lowest priority.
    2. Reflect on comments by adding notes per comment.
    3. Reflect on the whole experience by leaving an overall note. The instructors will read your revision plans and respond to you by 11 AM Thursday.

Tuesday, July 28

Yesterday, participants read through our resources on Feedback and Revision and Designing Effective Reviews. Then, they wrote a short syllabus blurb or their talking points for class discussion about the value of peer learning.

Today, participants will give each other helpful feedback. Our student resource explains why giving and getting feedback improve learning. Following those principles, reviewers will use a checklist, a rating, and comments to help writers improve. Reviews are due at midnight Eastern (but you can submit late).

If you’d like to participate in review but you missed the 9 AM Eastern deadline, please contact Melissa after you’ve submitted your writing task; she’ll move you into a group so that you can give and get feedback.

Tomorrow at 11 AM, Melissa will share a video that debriefs the review, showing the trends and exemplar drafts and comments. Participants will rate their feedback and work on a revision plan.

Learn more about group formation and reviews.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Goal: Give 2-3 colleagues feedback on their writing

Time: 30 minutes, between 9 AM and midnight (Eastern)


  1. Go to and log in
  2. Choose “Student Dashboard.”
  3. Choose “Online Asynchronous Prof Dev on Eli Review.”

At 9 AM on Tuesday, if you submitted your writing on time, the “Review of Describe Eli’s Value to Students” task will be visible in your course dashboard. Click on the task to see the instructions and to begin reviewing your peers’ drafts.

If you are late submitting your writing, contact Melissa who will assign you to a group.

Monday, July 27

Goal: Enroll in the course and write in response to assigned readings.

Time: 1 hour


  1. Go to
  2. Login or create an account.
  3. Choose “Student Dashboard.”
  4. In the course code box, type: insert180nova
  5. Click Join Course.
  6. From the Student Dashboard, click “Online Asynchronous Prof Dev on Eli Review.”
  7. Click on the writing task “Describe Peer Review’s Value to Students” to view the prompt. The prompt includes links to two professional development resources and a video that you need to read/watch before composing either a syllabus blurb or your talking points for discussing peer learning with students.
  8. Type your response in Eli Review or paste it into Eli from a rich-text formatted file.
  9. Submit.

Note: To be included in Tuesday’s review, your writing task must be submitted by Tuesday, July 28 at 9 AM Eastern.

Workshop Agenda: “Explaining the Value of Peer Learning” was published to the Eli Review Blog in the category Pedagogy.

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