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Crowdsourced Bibliography for Preparing Students to Give Helpful Peer Feedback

Each month, instructors contribute their syllabus blurbs or talking points for explaining the value of peer learning to their students in Eli’s free online PD workshop. This list reflects titles instructors have shared in the workshop for course readings on how to give helpful feedback and other relevant sources.


Ballenger, Bruce. “Chapter 14 The Writing Workshop.” The Curious Writer. 4th edition. Pearson, 2014.
Ballenger’s lists for the responsibilities of writers and readers from his textbook are often referenced as guidelines for effective peer learning.

Bunn, Mike. “How to Read Like a Writer.” Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing, Volume 2, 2011, pp. 71-86. Accessed 27 July 2018.
Like Straub’s 2003 article, Bunn’s guides students through reading professional and student texts in order to pay attention to writer’s choices.

Lamott, Anne. “Shitty First Drafts.” Bird By Bird: Some Instructions On Writing and Life. 1st Anchor Books ed. New York: Anchor Books, 1995. (widely anthologized)
Although this piece focuses on the angst of getting past the first draft, it helps students embrace the writing process. Instructors use this piece to remind reviewers to tread lightly in evaluation and lean into revision suggestions.

Shipka, Jody. “A Multimodal Task-Based Framework for Composing.” College Composition and Communication, vol. 57, no. 2, December 2005, pp. 277-306. Accessed 27 July 2018.
Several instructors reference Shipka’s explanation of revision:

Precisely because this multimodal task-based framework refuses to provide students with prepared goals, students learn by doing. For students who have grown accustomed to instructors telling them exactly what they need to do, this way of working can be time-consuming and frustrating, especially when the students discover potentials for enriching their work that may require them to set aside the work they have already begun and return to an earlier stage in the production process. However time-consuming this process of “testing goals through action” may be for some, those who have experienced this form of deep revision have reported that they no longer equate revision with proofreading. Rather, revision has become re-vision: A demanding process that involves both the potential and the willingness to reimagine the goals, contexts, and consequences associated with their work. (291)

Straub, Richard. “Responding–Really Responding–to Other Student’s Writing.” The Subject is Writing: Essays by Teachers and Students. Ed. Wendy Bishop. 3rd edition. Portsmouth, NH: Boyton-Cook/Heinemann, 2003. 162-172. (Scanned copy available online; widely anthologized.)
Straub uses a series of questions to guide students in paying attention to their identities and goals before offering feedback advice about how to start, how much to say, and how to balance praise/critique.

Weaver, Melanie R. “Do Students Value Feedback? Student Perceptions of Tutors’ Written Responses.” Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, vol. 31, no. 3, June 2006, pp. 379–94. Crossref, doi:10.1080/02602930500353061. (Available from Nottingham Trent University). Accessed 27 July 2018.
Weaver reports survey results from business and design students about their reactions to tutor feedback. The article offers a good list of what students found unhelpful and why.


Hart-Davidson, Bill. “Describe-Evaluate-Suggest: A Helpful Feedback Pattern,” Eli Review, 2016, Accessed 27 July 2018.
In this 4 minute video, Hart-Davidson explains why the three moves of helpful feedback are useful in revision and relationships.

Kastman-Breuch, Lee-Ann. “Peer Review: What is Peer Review?” YouTube, uploaded by umnWritingStudies, 7 Jun 2013,
This 2:36 minute video defines peer review and suggests the forms conversations between writers and reviewers might take. It explains peer review in classrooms, academic publishing, and workplace writing.

Kastman-Breuch, Lee-Ann. “Peer Review: Commenting Strategies,” YouTube, uploaded by umnWritingStudies, 7 Jun 2013,
This 5 minute video explains reader response questions, encourages global before local comments, points reviewers to assignment criteria, and offers specific suggestions about what to say and what not to say.

MIT Comparative Media Studies/Writing. “No One Writes Alone: Peer Review in the Classroom – A Guide for Students.” YouTube, uploaded by  MIT Comparative Media Studies/Writing, 31 Jan 2017 (originally published 2011),
This 6:30 minute video encourages reviewers to be readers who lean into the things they don’t know as a way to engage with writers.  It acknowledges some of the negative and unhelpful things that can happen in peer review. This video also situates classroom peer review within professional academic peer review.

Eli Review Specific Resources (free and open)

Meeks, Melissa, Mike McLeod, Jeff Grabill, and Bill Hart-Davidson. “Feedback and Improvement: Becoming a Better Writer by Helping Other Writers,” Eli Review, 2016, Accessed 27 July 2018.
This article with embedded video discusses why getting better at giving feedback matters. It covers the qualities of helpful feedback and introduces helpfulness ratings.

Meeks, Melissa, Mike McLeod, Jeff Grabill, and Bill Hart-Davidson. “Rethinking and Revising: Using Feedback to Improve Our Writing,” Eli Review, 2016, Accessed 27 July 2018.
This article with embedded video explains why reflection on feedback is an important step before executing a revision. It incorporates both Dweck’s growth mindset and Duckworth’s grit to acknowledge the emotional work of revising.

Meeks, Melissa, Mike McLeod, Jeff Grabill, and Bill Hart-Davidson. “Giving Helpful Feedback,” Eli Review, 2016, Accessed 27 July 2018.
This extensive resource includes multiple parts: guidance on how to complete checklists and ratings; guidance on how to give comments, including sentence templates; a worked example of how to rate comments for helpfulness, and sample comments for practicing helpfulness ratings.

Cover photo credit: Patrick Tomasso

Crowdsourced Bibliography for Preparing Students to Give Helpful Peer Feedback was published to the Eli Review Blog in the categories Pedagogy, Scholarship.

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