Asee peer logo

Assessing The Impact Of Pen Based Computing On Students’ Peer Review Strategies Using The Peer Review Comment Inventory

Download Paper |


2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Computer Education Management Tools

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.278.1 - 12.278.12



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Richard House Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

visit author page

Richard House is Assistant Professor of English at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, where he teaches courses in technical, professional, and scientific rhetoric as well as literature. His research explores a variety of intersections among narrative, rhetoric, science, and technology, and has appeared in SubStance, Contemporary Literature, and IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication.

visit author page


Anneliese Watt Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

visit author page

Anneliese Watt, Associate Professor of English at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, currently serves as Technical Communication Course Coordinator. She teaches writing, public speaking, and humanities elective courses to engineering and science students. Her graduate work in rhetoric and literature was completed at Penn State, and her recent research often focuses on engineering and workplace communication.

visit author page


Julia Williams Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

visit author page

Julia M. Williams is the Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Assessment & Professor of English at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Her articles on writing assessment, electronic portfolios, and ABET have appeared in the IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, Technical Communication Quarterly, Technical Communication: Journal of the Society for Technical Communication, and the International Journal of Engineering Education. She is also the recipient of a Tablet PC Technology, Curriculum, and Higher Education 2005 award from Microsoft Research to assess the impact of tablet PCs and collaboration-facilitating software on student learning.

visit author page

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Assessing the Impact of Pen-based Computing on Students’ Peer Review Strategies Using the Peer Review Comment Inventory


This paper provides a report on a project investigating the impact of pen-based computing on students’ peer review strategies. The context for the project is an introductory technical communication course for engineering students from multiple disciplines. The project investigators created three peer reviewing contexts in which to assess the impact of tablet PCs on the quantity and quality of students’ peer review comments. A Comment Inventory form was then developed that allowed the investigators to categorize each comment based on comment location, content, and form. Initial results from the study are presented.

Keywords: technical communication; peer review; pen-based computing; tablet PC

Introduction For many engineering educators, the challenge of incorporating communication into technical courses may be mitigated by the use of peer review; by setting students up in peer review sessions, they can read and comment on the work of others as a means to improving their own communication skills. Many of us who have employed peer review have seen the benefits firsthand.1-5 The process of reading and reviewing the written documents of other students—submitting their own documents to be assessed by other students, reviewing documents that try to fulfill the same assignment they have written—has a measurable impact on the student’s own writing. Studies of peer reviewing strategies confirm what many of us have seen in our own classrooms. The process for peer review, with few exceptions, remains the same. Students exchange drafts, use a pen or pencil to make comments on hard-copy drafts, then return the drafts to their owners. Our project focuses on an alternative method, using pen-based computing to conduct peer reviews.

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology has enjoyed a national reputation as a leader in the field of engineering pedagogy and technological innovation. As a result of a grant from Hewlett-Packard, we were able to expand the scope of our work in these fields by implementing the use of tablet computers in a variety of classrooms: chemistry, computer science and software engineering, mechanical engineering, physics, and technical communication. In the context of the technical communication classroom, we are exploring how pen-based technology of the tablet PC impacts students’ peer review strategies. Our work with tablet computers began in the winter quarter of 2004 with students enrolled in RH330 Technical Communication. This course is required of all students at junior standing in the following engineering majors: civil, chemical, computer, electrical, mechanical, optical, and software engineering. Our research questions are founded on the notion that peer reviewing conducted on paper (hard copies of draft documents) differs from peer reviewing that occurs on the writing surface of a tablet computer (an electronic copy of the draft document that the student then marks up with a pen stylus or comments on with reviewing tools in Microsoft Word). Our project is designed to determine if pen-based computing increases the frequency and quality of students’ comments over paper-based reviewing or reviewing using electronic tools.

House, R., & Watt, A., & Williams, J. (2007, June), Assessing The Impact Of Pen Based Computing On Students’ Peer Review Strategies Using The Peer Review Comment Inventory Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2052

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015