Something new I tried this past semester in all of my classes was “Peer Review Speed Dating” for paper revisions. I saw a presentation at a conference about it once, but Prof Hacker’s post about it in November was the primary catalyst for adding it to my courses.
Here’s how it worked for me: I asked students to bring two printed copies, or their laptop, of their paper. On our Mt. Laurel campus, classrooms are already set up in long rows, so setting up “stations” wasn’t a problem, but in Pemberton we had to move chairs to set up eight stations. I assigned a student to each station and told the other students to move to each station every five minutes. I kept a timer on my cell phone. After a student passed by each station, they would release someone at a station so that student could go around. At the end, each student end up at my station, where I looked over their paper.
I thought this went really well. A lot of underperforming students were able to get advice from not only me, but from others in the class. In a few classes, long lines formed at certain students’ stations that were deemed by the class to be doing well in the course. Sometimes I think it is important to hear something needs improvement from not only an instructor, but from another student as well.
Problems: In some courses, I had a lot of students skipped the session. I have decided in the future to make participation in this session part of their course contribution grade. I also had two students in one class slip out after I looked at their paper. Some late students did not get a chance, depending on their class size, to get around the room all the way. I did not have much sympathy for those students or those who forgot to print their paper and had to waste time running to a computer lab.
For my Composition I classes, I had three different class sizes, so I could see different ways that this can be done in the future. In the first one, I only had nine students show up (that is about how many passed as well), so we just passed papers around the room at the five minute intervals. The informal nature of this setting really worked with that group. Two of the classes were around 15-20 students and easily got everyone in during our longer final exam week schedule. My English Literature I class had over 20 (probably around 25) show up, which complicated matters a bit. We decided in that class to put two students at each station, which allowed more students to get around the room before the time expired.