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Showcase Across the Disciplines

Faculty in 6 Disciplines Share Their Most Effective Peer Reviews

Instructors talking to instructors is one of our favorite forms of peer learning, so we invited you to talk with some of Eli’s most experienced faculty.

In each 30 minute session, faculty  share their most effective peer review and then take questions.

For each attendee, Eli Review made a $5 donation to the WAC Clearinghouse, an open-access publishing collaborative dedicated to providing barrier- and cost-free access to scholarly work for writing across the curriculum.

Biology: Hosted on Tuesday, December 1, 3 PM

  • Mike Wilton, University of California Santa Barbara
  • Daniela Lopes Paim Pinto, University of Rhode Island

Mike Wilton, UC-Santa Barbara, shares a review task on the threshold concept of central dogma that helps students pay attention to all the complexities of the process. Regression analyses showed that reviewers gained 5 points on the final exam.

Daniela Lopes Paim Pinto, Univ of Rhode Island, shares a short answer peer review task focused on the week’s big question: Why are death cap mushrooms deadly? Weekly practice improves students’ short-answers on final exams.

First-Year Writing: Hosted on Wednesday, December 2, 3 PM

  • Brian Gogan, Western Michigan University
  • Catrina Mitchum and Shelley Rodrigo, University of Arizona

Catrina Mitchum and Shelley Rodrigo, Univ of Arizona, share one of the peer feedback tasks students complete as they build an annotated bibliography. This review is 1 of 5 in a 7.5 week fully online course.

Brian Gogan, Western Michigan University, shares a peer review on the success memo that help students put an interview they’ve conducted in conversation with their own beliefs. This review is 1 of 12+ in a 16 week course.

Both programs are conducting research on the relationship between comments and course success. Preliminary analyses show that giving more feedback aligns with better course outcomes.

Communication: Hosted on Thursday, December 3, 3 PM

  • CJ Koenig, San Francisco State University
  • Alison Brenneise, University of Minnesota

CJ Koenig, San Francisco State Univ, shares a group writing task that helps students develop a health blog and a peer review task where reviewers “take the temperature” of how well the draft communicates to a general audience. CJ varies only the first checklist; the remaining parts of the review are consistent across the 4 tasks assigned during the term.

Allison Brenneise, Univ of Minnesota, shares one of the tasks that guides writers in developing their arguments. In the peer review task, reviewers use #hashtags aligned to the key aspects of the rubric to focus their comments; the #hashtags then help writers prioritize their feedback in revision plans.

Legal Writing: Hosted on Monday, December 7, 3 PM 

  • Brian Larson, Texas A&M University School of Law

Brian Larson, Texas A&M, shares a peer review focused on CREAC and rules that helps first-year law students practice key skills by giving helpful feedback.

Psychology: Hosted on Tuesday, December 8, 3 PM 

  • Aviva Sinervo, San Francisco State University
  • Vanessa Woods, University of California Santa Barbara

Aviva Sinervo, San Francisco State university, asks writers to share a headnote requesting peer feedback and several sections designed to feed into a longer term research project. A careful set of peer review questions teaches students to read for criteria and build habits. This activity also shows Aviva her students’ strengths/weaknesses early in the term and helps students dig into their projects faster.

Vanessa Woods, University of California Santa Barbara, engages students in a lab focused on the rationale section of their research proposal. Then students compose their own and give peer feedback using a checklist and sentence stems. Later, students peer review their ANOVA results section. Students who complete both peer reviews gain 9 points on their final papers, which is the most significant grade in the course.

Technical and Professional Writing: Hosted on Wednesday, December 9, 3 PM

  • Casey McArdle, Michigan State University
  • Elizabeth Angeli, Marquette University

Casey McArdle, Michigan State University, shares the writing portfolio assignment and peer review that helps students prepare for their talks and final submissions. The feedback guides reviewers to focus on the story being told in the portfolio, which in turn helps all students pay attention to story in their own drafts.

Liz Angeli, Marquette University, shares a report writing task and peer review used to train emergency field personnel. The peer review makes explicit the range of knowledge and details that the cadets have to sift through and write about in very limited time.


Showcase Across the Disciplines was published to the Eli Review Blog in the categories Presentations, Professional Development.

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