Arts and Humanities

Student Guidelines for Peer Review: History and Jewish Studies

Professor David Sorkin, History and Jewish Studies, UW-Madison
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

Janelle Schwartz, English Department, UW-Madison
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.



Student Guidelines for Peer Review: Art Issues Research Paper

Jo Ortel, Art Department, UW-Madison
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

Comm-A Instructors
The following excerpt, originally intended for Comm-A instructors in the English department, offers some ideas about putting together peer review groups.
There’s little consensus among instructors as to what kind of student combinations make for the best peer workshop groups.

Preparing for Student-Teacher Conferences

Professor Steve Stern, Department of History, UW-Madison
Many instructors have found that student-teacher conferences become more productive when the student is as prepared for them as the teacher is. Here are two examples of handouts instructors have used to help students prepare for one on one conferences.
Example #1



Using a Reverse Outline to Revise

Rebecca Schoenike Nowacek, WAC Program, UW-Madison
Rebecca Schoenike Nowacek describes a technique for helping students improve the organization of their papers by encouraging them to think about the paper more as readers and less as writers.
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

From Topic to Thesis

Tisha Turk, Gender and Women's Studies, UW-Madison
Students may do a good job of coming up with a suitable thesis or argument, but how can instructors help students to move beyond the obvious or the ordinary? In this handout, instructor Tisha Turk shows her students what she’s thinking as she reads their ideas to help them understand reader expectations

A well-constructed thesis statement helps hold an essay together by showing the reader where the paper is going to go.

In-class Discussions of Student Writing: Maximizing the Effectiveness of Your Writing Lessons and Minimizing the Class Time You Use for Them

Molly Peeney, Slavic Languages and Literature, UW-Madison
Instructor Molly Peeney gives step-by-step instructions for leading in-class discussions of student writing. She has used the following format for Literature in Translation 204. 

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

Brad Hughes, UW-Madison WAC Program
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.

While many of these principles and techniques take time to implement, and some may be logistically impossible in large classes, they have proven successful here and at many other schools in courses

Creative Writing Assignments in African Languages and Literature

Linda Hunter
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.

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