Online Peer Review Strategies

Sharing and reviewing each other’s work is a time-tested teaching strategy and it doesn’t need to fall to the wayside if course work is moved online. Canvas and Google Apps offer three potential solutions. Each works slightly differently, and one may be the best fit for your goals.

Canvas Peer Review Tool

If you’re a fan of Canvas’s SpeedGrader tool, then you might enjoy giving your students the same opportunity to digitally markup and annotate each other’s work. The peer review option in Canvas is set up during the assignment creation process. We recommend manually assigning students to one another's work. There is a Canvas option to automatically assign students to one another's work, but issues arise if anyone turns in the assignment late. You can view your students’ comments to each other as well, and even save their annotations as a PDF.

Discussions with Attachments

Discussions within Canvas are not only a great solution for students to talk to each other when they can’t get to a physical classroom, but they also are a way to share documents with each other. Students can attach files to their discussion posts. This is a great option if you want the whole class to see each other’s work (though they will not be able to do any line-by-line annotation).

Google Apps and Google Drive 

If you want an activity that allows the most granular collaboration options, Google Apps is a great choice! Students can update and collaborate in real-time on presentations, spreadsheets, and documents. A benefit of Google Apps is that students can annotate and comment in specific places within the work, rather than commenting on it as a whole (as would be the case if students shared the work as an attachment in a Canvas discussion). The privacy settings on documents can be very specific. You will need to remember to share the documents, as the default privacy setting is that only the document creator has access. 

Google Drive folders are spaces that students can use as drop-boxes for work that they’d like to share with each. A benefit to Google Drive folders is that you only need to set permissions on the folder, and then those permissions get carried down to any files added to the folder afterward.

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