June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Educational Research and Methods
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
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