Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Reading :: Virtual Peer Review

Virtual Peer Review: Teaching and Learning about Writing in Online Environments
By Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch

Lee-Ann and I entered the ISU PhD program together and took most of our courses together, so it's nice to sit down, about thirteen years after we first met, and see what she's been doing. And what she's been doing has been really useful. Virtual Peer Review surveys the landscape of peer reviewing with digital technologies up to 2004. And although the landscape has changed quite a bit in the last three years -- with the explosion of social networking, collaborative writing, and commenting environments -- Lee-Ann's survey is still solidly applicable.

Lee-Ann's work is like Stuart Selber's recent book: it doesn't present an empirical study or break any new theoretical ground, but it takes stock of an area of the field that has not been carefully chronicled previously, and it does this job clearly and comprehensively. And because Lee-Ann does this job so well, I found that even with a topic that changes as quickly as computer-assisted peer review, her framework and guidance still apply quite well. I use computer-assisted peer review quite a bit in my classes, and have migrated from Word comments to Drupal comments to Google Docs and Basecamp within the last few years, but Lee-Ann's work still applies just as well. If you do a lot of peer review in digital environments, and you need some sense of the scope of the changes, check it out.

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