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
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.