Arts and Humanities

Student Guidelines for Peer Review: History and Jewish Studies

Author: 
Professor David Sorkin, History and Jewish Studies, UW-Madison
Description: 
In this carefully designed peer-review process, students do their reviews in class, reading their drafts out loud in a small review group.  Notice how the professor asks students  to offer responses rather than judgments.  And notice that when students submit their revised papers to the professor, they need to include a reflection on what they found helpful in the peer-review process and how they used the feedback as they revised.

Instructions: Please read this sheet carefully in order to know how you are to help your peers.

 

Bring 3 copies of your paper to class.

 

Student Guidelines for Peer Review: Intermediate Composition

Author: 
Janelle Schwartz, English Department, UW-Madison
Description: 
Especially in introductory and intermediate courses, students do more effective peer reviews when instructors give them explicit guidelines for what to focus on when they read and comment on a draft.  One of the key goals here is to help students internalize these expectations for their own papers.

This is to give you an idea of the type of things you should be looking for and accomplishing in both your own paper and that of your peer(s). Use what follows as a kind of checklist for determining what is working effectively in a paper and what is not.

 

Introduction

Student Guidelines for Peer Review: Art Issues Research Paper

Author: 
Jo Ortel, Art Department, UW-Madison
Description: 
Here's a sample of guiidlines distributed to students doing peer reviews in a writing-intensive art course.

Art 236

 

Answer all the following questions for each paper. Write on a separate sheet, not on the draft itself. Include your name and phone number (or e-mail address) on your evaluation. Don’t worry about “surface errors” (spelling, punctuation, etc.); let the author do her own proofreading. Your job is to spot more important problems.

 

Putting Together Peer Review Groups

Description: 
Most instructors agree that it pays off to put some thought into grouping students for peer review.  There's no magic number of students per group, but most instructors make groups of three or four students--large enough to have some variety in the feedback but small enough so that no one student has too many drafts to read and critique.  Here's some advice about setting up groups, writtten for instructors in English 100, a first-year writing course.

There's little consensus among instructors as to what kind of student combinations make for the best peer workshop groups. Some instructors have found it helpful not to place two or more men and one woman in a group, or one student of color in an all‑white group.

Preparing Students for Conferences

Author: 
Professor Steve Stern, Department of History, UW-Madison
Description: 
Many instructors find that conferences are more effective when they ask students to come prepared to discuss particular aspects of a paper.  The questions in this example help students prepare for a conference and to give a progress report about their research in class.

History 574:  "Sharing Exercise":  for Presentation of Paper Themes on 10 Nov. 20__, and for Office Hour Discussions of Papers.

 

1.     If I had to summarize the theme of my historical essay in no more than two or three sentences, I would state:

 

 

Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Reverse Outlining . . . But Didn't Know to Ask

Author: 
Rebecca Nowacek, WAC Program, UW-Madison
Description: 
To help students improve the organization of their papers, it's helpful to have them outline the draft they've written (a "reverse" or "after-the-fact" outline, done not before writing a draft but after)--so they can get an aerial view of the sequence of topics in their draft.  In this handout for students in an introductory literature course, the instructor, Rebecca Nowacek, explains how to create a reverse outline and how to use it while revising.

What is a reverse outline?

If a regular outline is something you write before you draft out your paper, a reverse outline is something you do after you write a draft.

Why should I reverse outline?

From Topic to Thesis

Author: 
Tisha Turk, Gender and Women's Studies, UW-Madison
Description: 
Instructors often have to help students learn how to make a strong, analytical or argumentative central claim in a paper, a claim that goes beyond a mere statement of fact or obvious point.  In this handout for her students, Tisha Turk explains and illustrates what she's looking for in a strong thesis statement.

A well-constructed thesis statement helps hold an essay together by showing the reader where the paper is going to go. It defines not just a paper’s topic but its argument, and introduces the kinds of evidence or mode of reasoning that will be used to back up that argument. It does not merely summarize the points that will be made; rather, it shows the relationship between those points.

In-Class Writing Lessons

Author: 
Molly Peeney, Slavic Languages and Literature, UW-Madison
Description: 
Step-by-step instructions for designing and leading in-class discussions of student writing, developed for a Slavic literature-in-translation course.

Using student writing samples as the basis of your in-class discussions about writing is an effective method to teach writing and it saves you time. Why?

 

Helping Your Students Improve Their Writing and Their Learning

Author: 
Brad Hughes, UW-Madison WAC Program
Description: 
Here are some suggestions, based on research and experience, for improving your students' writing--and for improving the experience you have assigning, reading, and responding to it.

Obviously, many of these techniques take time to implement and some may be logistically impossible in large classes, but they have proven successful here and at many other schools, in courses across the curriculum. These suggestions may be used in any combination—few of us could employ all of them.

 

Helping Your Students Improve Their Writing and Their Learning

Three Innovative Writing Assignments in an African Languages and Literature Course

Author: 
Linda Hunter
Description: 
The following examples from Professor Linda Hunter's course illustrate how innovative writing assignments can be incorporated into a class.

There will be five exercises in writing, which together will count for 20% of the final grade. They are to be typed, double spaced, using no smaller than 12 point font size, on one side of one sheet of paper with one inch margins all around (approximately 250 words). Exercises must be no longer than one page. They must be turned in on the due date.

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