+ Peer Review


  • to practice your analysis skills using the peer-review criteria for multimodal scholarship
  • to practice addressing your analysis to a specific audience (an editor, with a secondary audience of the author)
  • to understand the peer-review process that your major projects will go through (for grading and for evaluating in the special issue, if submitted)
  • draft due: Sept 23, uploaded to your blog
  • final draft due: Sept. 30 in class

Instructions: In this assignment, you will be peer reviewing a student project similar to your own project for Kairos. This project comes from a group of students in my Fall 2008 Multimodal Composition class, where they attended an academic conference on multimodal composition and then composed a piece of multimodal scholarship to submit to the digital book collection that functions as a conference “proceedings” (i.e., collection of articles based on presentations at the conference). For more information on that assignment, see the Welcome blog post that describes this class and its project, and the CFP for the digital book project.

You have a choice of which project you choose to review. Like the “Gallery” piece, in which Kuhn’s video/webtext was one out of seven pieces in the whole Gallery, the two student projects you can choose from are part of a larger chapter that addresses the technological changes that students have encountered over the last decade while the instructional methods used to teach those same students has remained pretty much the same (as in, welcome to the 1950s academic institution while you’re all googling stuff on your iPhones — a disconnect). The two student projects are used as two different examples of how students perceive this disconnect.

Two Options:

  1. One project was composed in response to undergraduate students attending the Thomas R. Watson conference on Rhetoric and Composition and reacting to the way teachers (such as myself) spoke about students’ technological learning practices without actually having students there to confirm/deny/speak for themselves. It is partly meant to be a narrative about the students’ experience at the conference and also their reactions to it (and the theme about students mentioned throughout the conference) after their return home. The video can be downloaded from this location. It is a WMV and will play in Windows Media Player or Quicktime.
  2. The other project was composed in response to the particular situation of several sessions offered at the conference about social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. Students were skeptical that teachers really knew anything about these sites, and so they composed two pieces in reaction to this skepticism and their attendance at these sessions at the conference. The first part is a video (.mov) that introduces MySpace to teachers. The second part is a MySpace page that argues for why and how to use MySpace in a classroom such as ours. The MySpace page includes short videos, a blog, and photos. These two segments have not been put together yet (I have to do that for the students later….), but you need to read both of these, the video first, then the MySpace page.

Using the peer-review criteria (Kuhn+2) as general categories and Warner’s assessment heuristic for questions that get at the peer-review criteria, you will write a letter to the editor(s) of a piece of digital media scholarship discussing how the piece meets (or doesn’t meet) the criteria. As a peer-reviewer, you are an expert in the field and are qualified to evaluate this piece of multimodal scholarship–in this case, you are a student going through the same writing processes these students did and are authoring pieces for a similar publication venue (with the same audiences), so you are qualified to comment on and evaluate these pieces based on your experience as students in this class. The letter should be addressed to the editors of the publication (me and the two other scholars), should be formal, and should contain feedback for the author that is constructive and offers revision suggestions, if you have any. It will probably be about 2 pages, single-spaced, in a letter format.

Some basic suggestions for drafting the letter include:

  1. read the piece, figuring out its purpose based on the publication venue, taking notes on how you react/respond to the piece as you read;
  2. from your notes, figure out the main points you want to address in regards to the peer-review criteria, and begin to summarize your thoughts in relation to those criteria;
  3. the beginning paragraph of the letter often summarizes the “submission’s” purpose back to the editors/author, to ensure that you understood the piece and evaluated it with the criteria in mind; and
  4. remember that the editor of the publication is your audience but that the editor often sends your letter to the author, so the language should be helpful and respectful.

I will provide copies of the example peer-review letter I mentioned in class next week. I do not want to distribute it electronically. There are, however, examples of two different kinds of peer-review letters under the Schedule for Sept. 16th class period under the RiceBall example. You will need to go to the RiceBall webtext, then navigate to the following location to find the peer-review examples: Remote>Special Features>Reviews: Editorial Review 1 and 2.

2 thoughts on “+ Peer Review

  1. Pingback: Words in Space | How to Evaluate Multimodal Work

  2. Pingback: Evaluating Multimodal Work, Revisited | Words in Space

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