The FYC program at USF recognizes that peer review is an integral component of the writing process. As such, we strive to make peer review a key component of both composition classes.
Peer review has always been an important part of the writing process. Using language is inherently a social process. Many people find discussions with trusted colleagues to be an invaluable way to develop and polish ideas. Professionals in most disciplines, for example, attend conferences so that they can discuss ideas with colleagues and leading researchers. Writers in business and scientific contexts commonly work in teams with individuals responsible for their areas of expertise, such as marketing language, audience, finance, research, and editing. Some authors do not feel comfortable beginning a new project until they have discussed their ideas with others. Successful writers do not wait until they have completed a project before seeking constructive criticism. Instead, they share early drafts with critics.
As a peer reviewer, you can’t just say “I liked it” or “I didn’t like it.” Instead, you want to give the writer information that will help to improve what the writer has written. What is important to remember is that while you should not be harsh or personal, you should be honest. Saying something works when it really does not will not help anyone.
- The ability to get feedback on your writing before the instructor sees it
- The ability to see your own strengths and weaknesses after reading and responding to another paper
- A greater sense of audience – it is not just your instructor reading your work
- The chance to learn new information from your peers about the subject you may also be writing on
Peer review is facilitated through the My Reviewers online grading tool. The My Reviewers program allows students to work in groups to complete substantive peer reviews for projects 1-3.