Facilitate dialogue around the peer review process

The assumption in these web pages is that students carry out formal reviews of the work of peers and provide a written commentary. It is a reciprocal process in that students produce and receive feedback reviews. Hence it involves students learning from each other.  However, the review process could be significantly enhanced by introducing opportunities for face-to-face or online dialogue amongst peers - this could occur at the point of producing an assignment for review which could be completed in pairs or groups, at the point of producing reviews which also could be done in pairs or groups and after the receipt of reviews, for example students might discuss the multiple reviews that they have received.  Dialogue would further reflective and knowledge elaboration processes - resulting in extended analysis and re-processing of ideas. Many recent theories of feedback highlight that it must be conceived as a 'dialogical' rather than a monological process if it is to have maximum impact on learning (Nicol, 2010).

Putting it into practice

  • Have students produce the assignment as a group then get individual students to review the group assignment - groups will then receive a reasonable range of reviews.
  • Follow this up by getting the groups to write a reflective account of how they responded to the multiple reviews they received. (see this example)
  • Ask students to carry out the reviews in pairs or groups to enhance the dialogue and discussion
  • Ask students to formulate questions for the peer reviewer when they submit their assignment - the reviewer should address the question posed as well as providing their own review responses
  • Sequence peer review tasks so that reviewers can see the comments of earlier reviewers when they add their comments. The structure might encourage subsequent reviewers to say what they agree with or disagree with in the earlier comments. Those receiving the reviews will benefit from seeing and having to respond to these divergent points of view. 
  • Engage students in honest face-to-face discussions about the works they have appraised in class or in tutorials
  • Invent your own ideas to enhance dialogue around reviewing online or face-tace