+ Peer Review

Description: Based on our in-class workshop time on November 17, you will each write a peer-review letter to the group whose webtext you reviewed. Each group will use these letters to revise their projects for final turn-in.


  • to refine your analytical skills using the peer-review criteria for multimodal scholarship that you created during the first month(s) of class
  • to practice addressing your analysis to a specific audience (an editor, with a secondary audience of the authors)
  • to understand the peer-review process that your major projects will go through (for grading and for evaluating by the journals, if submitted)

Due Dates/Turn-in Instructions:

  • due: midnight Friday, November 19, emailed to the entire group you reviewed, copying me
  • revisions: December 8, as part of your portfolio. (If I ask you to revise your peer review letter, which I will do by Dec. 1 in class.)

Instructions: There are three parts to this assignment:

(1) copies of previous letters. In class, I gave you four letters that students in the Fall 2009 section of Multimodal Composition wrote after peer reviewing one of two scholarly multimedia projects that students from the Fall 2008 class created. These two projects —  a video (right-click to download) or a MySpace page — were made after attending an academic conference on multimodal composition and were accepted for publication in a digital book collection about the conference. (The audience for this book collection is the same as the audiences for Kairos or C&C Online.) You don’t need to read the two projects above; they are linked for your reference. The final versions of these projects, which used the feedback from the letters I gave you in class, are part of this final version of the chapter. Again, just for your reference. Read these sample letters thoroughly as a way to understand the genre of peer-review letters I’m asking for.

(2) read/review your classmates’ webtext(s). In class on November 17, you will be assigned to review one of the four group webtexts. You will have nearly the entire class period to begin this review.

(3) write a review letter. Write a 2(ish) page, single-spaced letter (in a word-process document) that will be given to the authors of the webtext. In this letter, you should discuss how the piece meets (or doesn’t meet) the peer-review criteria we discussed in class (you can use any formation of that criteria you’d like) as well as the values of the journal to which it’s being submitted.

The letter should be addressed to me, filling in as the “Editor” of the publication for which you are reviewing. (In order to make sure that the webtext “submission” meets the review criteria, you also need to know–based on an earlier homework assignment (see also the Sept. 22 entry in our Schedule, particularly the blog entries you were supposed to do for homework after that class)–what the particular journal values in their publications. The letter should be more formal than colloquial and should contain feedback for the author that is constructive and offers revision suggestions, if you have any. As a peer-reviewer, you are an expert in the field and are qualified to evaluate this piece of multimodal scholarship–in this case, you are a student going through the same writing processes other students did and are authoring pieces for a similar publication venue (with the same audiences), so you are qualified to comment on and evaluate these pieces based on your experience as students in this class.

Some basic suggestions for reviewing and drafting the letter:

  1. read the piece, figuring out its purpose based on the publication venue, taking notes on how you react/respond to the piece as you read;
  2. from your notes, figure out the main points you want to address in regards to the peer-review criteria, and begin to summarize your thoughts in relation to those criteria;
  3. the beginning paragraph of the letter often summarizes the submission’s purpose back to the editors/author, to ensure that you understood the piece and evaluated it with the criteria in mind; and
  4. remember that the editor of the publication is your audience but that the editor often sends your letter to the author, so the language should be helpful and respectful.
  5. how you use the criteria in your letter is up to you. Some reviewers address the criteria directly, and others do it implicitly. In any case, make sure that your revision suggestions are clear.

5 thoughts on “+ Peer Review

  1. Shayla

    Culture Jamming Project:

    After the commercial is shown a 3rd time, it ends with the “go forth” image. That image is intended to go at the very end of the video, we are just missing images and clips to go in with the last section of audio word.

    There is also going to be music played in the background, but it can’t be edited in until all the images and videos are packaged.

  2. Jason, Mike, Katie, Shane

    Title: Distracted Book Review

    Our video for our project still lives in Final Cut. In order to view it you must:

    1. Sit down at Mike’s computer.
    2.Visit http://students.english.ilstu.edu/kaerics/eng239/final_project/index.html
    3. In the right menu, click on Video Content, view and read the screen shots. These are the “content” of our argument.
    2. In the right video screen, press play.
    3. View video.

    Notes: We were not sure whether or not to add voice overs in the video. What do you think? If we do, should each person read their separate section or should it all be read by one single person?


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