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Partnering with Eli Review

Eli Review has been designed in partnership with teachers and students from day one in Michigan State’s Writing in Digital Environments Research Center. Back in 2006, we—Jeff Grabill, Bill Hart-Davidson, Mike McLeod—invented Eli to make possible a pedagogy of frequent feedback and revisions cycles.

The specific need was to support evidence-based teaching practices and facilitate rich peer learning environments in accelerated, hybrid courses. With a compressed schedule, we needed efficient coordination of draft exchange plus efficient visibility into the conversations students were having about their writing. We needed a technology that let us see students’ thinking before they revised. We couldn’t buy it, so we built it.

Partnering Is Sustainable

To get this pedagogy backed by an app into as many classrooms as possible, we spun Eli out of Michigan State as a business in 2012. As a company, we don’t just sell Eli. We offer a set of services to every teacher and every program we work with.

To teach differently, teachers need support. Also, someone has to answer the phone when users have a problem.

We needed a revenue model that allows us to sustain Eli’s app and services in a responsible and ethical way. We chose the business path as the most viable way to sustain a pedagogy that we wanted to touch the lives of hundreds of thousands of students.
Through our customer partnerships in K-12 and higher education, we help teachers and students have more success, and we know that teachers and students have helped us to produce better pedagogy and better technology.

When we talk about partnership, we talk about our ability to help teachers and students be more successful in the classroom. We think we have some intellectual and pedagogical capacity to help people, but also we learn an awful lot from the teachers and students who use Eli.

Partnering Means Listening and Responding

Companies like ours are quite responsive to teachers who roll up their sleeves and partner with us. Here are a few of the improvements we’ve made in response to feedback from Eli teachers and students in March 2017:

  • Color-coded tasks in the dashboard highlight write-review-revise cycles.
  • Updated progress bars provide stronger visual cues about student completion.
  • New at-a-glance completion reports show who is missing work.
  • A redesigned comment space in the revision plan encourages more reflection.
  • Users offered first-round feedback on new analytics for word count trends.

To be good partners, we listen. We do our best to make sure users have an excellent experience in the app now and in the future.

Partnering means Talking and Supporting

To be good partners, we also talk. Eli invites new routines around designing tasks, debriefing trends, and giving instructor feedback. The app encourages instructors to work closely with students’ comments and revision plans. It’s new and different to have such conversations with data, in real-time. We can help instructors learn how through sustained conversations:

  • On-demand workshops, delivered on-campus or online
  • Facilitation of regular meetings for a cohort of instructors using Eli
  • Instructional design/consultation for a sandbox of custom tasks
  • Data services for programmatic assessment and research
  • Technical support

If you’d like to partner with us to increase high-quality feedback and revision moments in your classes, fill out the form below to start the conversation.

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Cover photo credit: Keith Smolar

Partnering with Eli Review was published to the Eli Review Blog in the categories Professional Development, Research, Scholarship.

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