Why Peer Review?
According to a study by Leadership IQ, 26% of new hires fail because they can’t accept feedback (Murphy, 2015). Most students are trained to study for grades and have seldom been given enough training on how to receive feedback and how to make feedback work for them. By the time they enter workforce, they will have a hard time facing feedback from coworkers and supervisors. As instructional designers and instructors, we can help by training students in peer review skills. In doing so, we are preparing our students to be successful in their future career on the one hand; on the other hand, instructors will spend less time grading peer reviewed submissions because of the improved quality of work submitted. It’s a win-win solution. Nothing could get better than this in teaching, right?
How to Create Peer Review Assignments in Canvas?
There are two types of peer review assignments.
- Writing assignments with peer review process where peer review effort is not heavily graded. The focus is on improved writing.
- Writing assignments with peer review process where peer review efforts is heavily graded. The focus is on training students in peer reviewing.
If your students lack peer reviewing skills, instructors can provide tutorials on how to provide feedback constructively. And instructors can also set up practice assignments where peer review is graded, for at least one or two assignments so that students are given the proper training and practices they need. Here is a video tutorial on how to provide constructive feedback.
If your students have been trained in peer reviewing, I recommend the type of assignments where peer review is not heavily graded. Peer review can be extra credit points, or a small portion of the grade.
To set up peer review in Canvas for an assignment, Log into Canvas course as an instructor/designer, go to the assignment, click “Edit” button to edit the settings for the assignment.
It will greatly help students if you provide clear directions for how you expect students to conduct peer review.
For example, in BA 347 Research Writing Assignment, the instructor provided the following directions: “Peer Review Feedback guidelines: As you conduct your peer review, remember to praise, criticize appropriately, and be specific with revision strategies.
- Identify and describe three strengths in this draft.
- Identify and describe three weaknesses in this draft.
- How does this draft meet the requirements of the assignment? If not, what is missing?
- What should be revised in this writing? Why?
- After reading, I was left wondering….”
To set up details for peer review, first we set up a due date for when the draft writing will be due and enter the date in the assignment “Due” area. Secondly, check “Required Peer Reviews” box to enable peer review, and how to assign peer review (manually or automatically), if automatically, enter a number for how many peer reviewers will be automatically assigned for each submission and enter a date for when the peer reviewers will be assigned in the “Assign Reviews” area. Lastly, enter a date in the “Available from … until” area for a “until” date as the date for when the peer review will be due. And explain to your students what these dates mean if this is the first time you assign peer review assignment in your course.
Image 1: Canvas Assignment Peer Review Option Set Up
Grading peer review
Once all of the peer reviews have been submitted, if instructors would like to access the actual comments, assess, or add comments of their own, they can do so by going to the speedgrader function. To grade the original submission, simply enter grade point in the Assessment “Grade _____ out of 10” area.
Image 2: Grading Assignment
To grade peer review effort, the instructor would need to set up a separate assignment and name it something like “Peer Review Grade”. Some instructors attach peer review rubric forms so students can attach the forms in the submission for Peer Review Grades. See a youtube video example and its web instructions.
Murphy, M. (2015). Why New Hires Fail. Retrieved on November 17, 2015, from http://www.leadershipiq.com/blogs/leadershipiq/35354241-why-new-hires-fail-emotional-intelligence-vs-skills
Alisa Cooper’s post “Conducting Peer Review Assignments in Canvas” at http://freshmancomp.com/2013/02/19/conducting-peer-review-assignments-in-canvas/