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Implementing Peer-Review Activities for Engineering Writing Assignments

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Changing the Engineering Classroom

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Stacie I. Ringleb Old Dominion University

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Stacie Ringleb is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Old Dominion University. Dr. Ringleb received a B.S. in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University in 1997, a M.S.E. from Temple University in Mechanical Engineering in 1999, and a PhD from Drexel University in Mechanical Engineering in 2003. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Orthopedic Biomechanics Lab at the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Ringleb research interests include, biomechanics and rehabilitation engineering as well as multi-disciplinary approaches to improving engineering education.

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Orlando M. Ayala Old Dominion University

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Dr. Ayala received his BS in Mechanical Engineering with honors (Cum Laude) from Universidad de Oriente (Venezuela) in 1995, MS in Mechanical Engineering in 2001 and PhD in Mechanical Engineering in 2005, both from University of Delaware (USA). Dr. Ayala is currently serving as Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology Department, Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA.

Prior to joining ODU in 2013, Dr. Ayala spent three years as a Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Delaware where he expanded his knowledge on simulation of multiphase flows while acquiring skills in high performance parallel computing and scientific computation. Before that, Dr. Ayala hold a faculty position at Universidad de Oriente at Mechanical Engineering Department where he taught and developed graduate and undergraduate courses for a number of subjects such as Fluid Mechanics, Heat Transfer, Thermodynamics, Multiphase Flows, Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulic Machinery, as well as Mechanical Engineering Laboratory courses.

In addition, Dr. Ayala has had the opportunity to work for a number of engineering consulting companies, which have given him an important perspective and exposure to industry. He has been directly involved in at least 20 different engineering projects related to a wide range of industries from petroleum and natural gas industry to brewing and newspaper industries. Dr. Ayala has provided service to professional organizations such as ASME. Since 2008 he has been a member of the Committee of Spanish Translation of ASME Codes and the ASME Subcommittee on Piping and Pipelines in Spanish. Under both memberships the following Codes have been translated: ASME B31.3, ASME B31.8S, ASME B31Q and ASME BPV Sections I.

While maintaining his industrial work active, his research activities have also been very active; Dr. Ayala has published 90 journal and peer-reviewed conference papers. His work has been presented in several international forums in Austria, USA, Venezuela, Japan, France, Mexico, and Argentina. Dr. Ayala has an average citation per year of all his published work of 33.25.

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Jennifer Kidd Old Dominion University

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Dr. Jennifer Kidd is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Old Dominion University. Her research interests include student-authored digital content, classroom assessment, especially peer review, and diversity issues. She currently has support from the National Science Foundation for research and development related to online peer review systems.

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This research paper investigated the effect of peer review in writing assignments in engineering courses. Writing is a critical skill for professionals, however, it is challenging to teach writing in engineering courses because of the technical content that must be delivered during the semester. Additionally, providing instructor feedback to writing assignments can be challenging because there may not be enough time to grade drafts of writing assignments in the short time between when drafts and final versions are due. To address these challenges, instructors in two different engineering courses introduced peer review in their courses. Peer review was shown to help both the peer reviewers and reviewees in writing assignments. It is thought to be beneficial not only because of the feedback it provides to students, but because the reviewing process prompts students to think more deeply about their own writing.

In both courses, the students’ writing focused on major design projects. The classes engaged in multiple rounds of peer review so students would receive feedback on their work several times over the course of the semester. In a fluid mechanics course, the students were assigned a semester-long design project, while in a project design and management course, the projects were senior capstone projects. Because of the content requirements in the courses, little class time was available to discuss writing, and class size made it prohibitive to provide instructor feedback on drafts in a timely manner.

The two engineering faculty were part of a small, multi-disciplinary team of instructors who committed to using peer review in their courses. The team met on a regular basis over the course of the academic year as they implemented the practice. This allowed them to share strategies, compare results, and tweak their approaches. In the engineering courses students engaged in peer reviews at different stages in their projects. There were shorter reviews at project inception and more in-depth reviews as students elaborated on their designs in formal drafts. Both in-class and online peer reviews were used. Online peer review systems, Expertiza and Blackboard, were used to facilitate the online reviews. Students used rubrics and made directed and open-ended comments in their reviews. In some assignments, students were also asked to document and reflect on the changes they made from their initial draft to subsequent versions.

Students’ perceptions of the process as well as student writing performance were assessed. Student perceptions of the peer review process were assessed in an online, anonymous survey given after each round of peer review. Student writing performance was assessed based on instructor grades awarded on the students’ final papers. Both instructors used a standard university rubric to evaluate student writing. Finally, the changes students made from draft to final copy were considered, both via students’ own reflections on these changes and via faculty assessment of the improvement (if any) between the versions. This paper will present the initial findings of the study and discuss the impact of peer review on two classes of engineering students.

Ringleb, S. I., & Ayala, O. M., & Kidd, J. (2017, June), Implementing Peer-Review Activities for Engineering Writing Assignments Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28483

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: © 2017 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