Author Archives: Kelley Calvert

Choosing a Peer Review Platform

by Kelley Calvert

Please visit this document for an accessible version of this article.

Note: Done well, peer assessment can remove the emphasis on grades and refocus energy on learning, shifting the instructor role from grading extensively to facilitating and coaching writing processes. In this post, I uphold the value of peer assessment as a point of departure and do not further debate the merits or shortcomings of this pedagogical approach. For more thinking on this debate, I encourage folks to check out the Headagogy podcast, particularly the episodes on ungrading and peer assessment linked here.

Once, in a time not-so-long ago, students schlepped to class, backpacks heavy with paper copies of their most recent essays, made notes on paper, scribbled in each other’s margins, and commented on the instructor’s questions. As a student, I always wondered how the instructor measured the quality of our feedback to one another and assessed how well we incorporated each other’s reviews–did they ever really look at those hundreds of papers piled on their desks?

Today’s digital equivalents of paper peer review include Canvas, Eduflow, Eli Review, and Peerceptiv, all of which permit greater efficiency and efficacy in responding to writing. These platforms allow multiple (often anonymous) peer reviewers, give writers an opportunity to rate feedback, and provide instructors with dashboard insights into student writing and feedback. As a result, instructors’ questions about peer assessment today differ substantially from years past, often boiling down to choice: How do we decide on a digital platform?


An instructor might think about several issues when selecting a peer assessment platform, including supported assignment types (documents, audio, video), cost, data privacy, user options, functionality, and review types (anonymous, random, manual). Depending on one’s context, these criteria might take on varying degrees of importance, but generally speaking, the most important criteria seem to be functionality and cost. With this in mind, the chart below provides insights into the four most-widely used platforms on campus: Canvas, EduFlow, Peerceptiv, and Eli Review.




Review Type

Canvas Free Allows students to give and receive feedback using rubric Anonymous or Known
EduFlow Free up to 15 students or $20 a month up to 100 ⦁       Includes self-review function

⦁       Allows rating of peer reviews

⦁       Includes instructor analytics

Anonymous or Known
Peerceptiv $15 a month payable by student, instructor, or institution ⦁       Focuses on data and assessment

⦁       Generates grade through peer review

⦁       Allows rating of peer reviews

Eli Review Starts at $12.50 a month for students ⦁       Focuses on entire writing process

⦁       Provides online instruction

⦁       Includes instructor analytics

Anonymous or known


Canvas offers instructors a free means of assigning peer reviews manually or automatically. Instructors can include a rubric and/or require comments in the review. Canvas allows TA access and allows both anonymous and known peer review. Canvas offers a great number of benefits, but compared to other options, it may be somewhat limited as other options provide stronger instructor analytics and scaffold students’ writing process.

EduFlow enables anonymous peer review assigned manually or automatically while also providing the teacher access to analytical data about student writing. If the instructor has “organization” as a criterion in the rubric, and this area consistently receives low ratings, they may decide to spend additional class time discussing how to structure the writing project. This platform also allows students to hold their peer reviewers accountable through ratings of their commentary.

Peerceptiv, similar to EduFlow, provides instructor analytics and student reviews of feedback. Students review one another’s writing anonymously in Peerceptiv. the platform then generates grades using automated grading algorithms. While some may feel uncomfortable with this idea, Peerceptiv holds that these scores are as accurate as traditional instructor grading, allowing for more efficient instruction.

Eli Review in comparison to Perceptive, focuses more on the learning process itself. Including instructional units on revision for instructors and students, Eli Review engages all members of the classroom in the learning process. It creates an environment for students that encourages debriefing, modeling of drafts and feedback, and creating/responding to revision plans. It does not generate grades but serves more as a “laboratory” for practice.

Ultimately, there is no perfect solution and one’s choice of platform might rest heavily on their purpose for seeking one. I find myself drawn to Eli Review due to its focus on the iterative nature of the writing process, but I’m also interested in Peerceptiv in the context of larger classes and Eduflow for its support of a variety of assignment types. Have you used any of these platforms? If so, please comment and share your thoughts.

Navigating Multilingualism

by Kelley Calvert

In training consultants to support multilingual writers in the Writing Center last fall, I struggled to determine where to begin. The topic of multilingual support is so vast, while the number of contact hours for training remains so limited. Then, I came across the NPR podcast Rough Translation with an episode entitled, “Non-native Speakers Navigate the World of ‘Good’ and ‘Bad; English” in which global communication specialist Heather Hansen discusses English as an international language and problematizes the notion of “native speakers.” Early in the podcast, she shares her experience as an English speaker immersed in a German-speaking classroom, saying, “If only I could do this in English, they would all know how smart I am.” This statement served as a lightbulb for me: the first step in understanding how to support multilingual students involves empathy–not just in the sense of understanding their experiences, but in terms of understanding our own.

I offer the following notes on the training as a springboard for ideas and insights into our thinking on multilingualism. As educators, we can use the podcast to facilitate a conversation in the classroom or train other peer educators on campus; on a personal level, we can simply listen to the podcast and bring some self-awareness to our own perceptions of language and language learning during a long drive or quiet moment at home.

We began our 50-minute Writing Center training by listening to a segment of the podcast. I chose minutes 8:18 to 13:13 of the 34-minute podcast because I felt these five minutes provided the most material for discussion, covering statistics on English speakers globally, offering surprising information about cross-cultural communication, and placing the burden of conversation on both the speaker and listener. While listening to the podcast, I asked consultants to jot down one idea that surprised or interested them.

After listening, many consultants shared their thoughts. Several noted that they had never thought about the fact that 4.4 billion people speak English in the world, with 4 billion learning the language in a classroom setting. That means that “native speakers” make up a tiny fraction of the world’s English-speaking population. Another salient area of noticing revolved around the frequent use of idioms (e.g., the whole nine yards, to touch base) in American English and how difficult these idioms can be for non-native speakers. Finally, many consultants noted how Hansen problematized the notion of the native speaker: Indian, South African, and Singaporean people grow up speaking English, so why aren’t they included in the native-speaker canon?

From this warm-up discussion, we moved into a “Connect-Extend-Challenge” activity, based on Harvard’s Thinking Routines. On post-it notes, I asked consultants to answer questions in the following sequence:

  • “Connect” question on green post-its: What connections can you make to your work in the Writing Center? We then collected the post-its and arranged them in one area of the whiteboard.
  • “Extend” question on blue post-its: What new ideas did you get that broadened your thinking or extended it in different directions? We again collected the post-its and arranged them on the whiteboard.
  • “Challenge” question on yellow post-its: What challenges emerge for you and/or the Writing Center based on this podcast?

After collecting this final set of “Challenge” post-its, consultants moved the post-its around and grouped them into themes as a collaborative exercise. This process was beneficial in many ways. For consultants, they were able to read, analyze, and discuss peers’ ideas and thoughts. They were able to think more deeply about the topics addressed in the podcast while interacting and building relationships with their peer colleagues. In connecting, many shared their own experiences of difference and related those to challenges faced by multilingual writers. In extending, some consultants noted that they were for the first time considering how their communication styles (e.g., using idioms) might impact conversations with multilingual writers. In considering challenges, many noted the difficulty of addressing writers’ concerns around grammar while also affirming the value of their multilingualism.

As a trainer and administrator, I benefited greatly from this activity as I was granted a window into peer educators’ experiences. Based on the challenges identified in the post-its, support staff were able to identify areas for future training and professional development. I encourage you to have a listen to the podcast and reply with a comment on the questions or insights it brings forth for you. If any of the activities mentioned above could benefit your classroom or context, feel free to reach out with any questions. I am always happy to share materials, thoughts, and ideas.