Alexis Hart (Allegheny College)

The premise of this module is that all writers benefit from receiving feedback on their written work at multiple stages and in multiple forms. Instructor feedback (oral and written) is often the most influential and respected feedback for students, particularly for L2 writers. However, peer- and self-review are also effective strategies to improve writing, editing, and reading competencies. The module incorporates scaffolded activities (see: Syllabus Design as “Response System,” below)  to assist faculty, peers, and writers to provide structured feedback at various stages (prewriting/planning, drafting, revising, reflection) of the writing process.

Syllabus Design as “Response System”

Rationale: Ferris (2015) defines a “response system” as “a thoughtfully designed approach to feedback (from various sources) that serves as a central organizing principle of a writing class… [and includes] these components:

  • get-acquainted mechanisms (to help [the instructor] quickly understand the students and become familiar with strengths/challenges
  • assignment and task design
  • structured peer review and collaborative sessions
  • teacher feedback (written and in-person) built into various stages of the process
  • regular reflection and analysis activities for guided self evaluation.” (p. 15)

Considerations for adaptation: While designing a syllabus as a “response system” may be feasible for a writing course, it may be less feasible for a disciplinary course that contains some writing assignments. Therefore, faculty may not be able to incorporate all the elements of a fully developed response system for each writing assignment in their course. Instead, they may incorporate some elements in each (e.g., a peer review and an in-person conference for one assignment, and formative written feedback from the instructor on a rough draft and a self evaluation on the final draft for a second assignment).

First day of class: First Day Reflection and Goal-Setting (get acquainted” mechanism)

Sample 3-week Syllabus for 2nd formal writing assignment (first-year seminar, “From Palate to Pocketbook: The Business and Pleasure of Food”)

Friday (assignment and task design)
Hand Out: Restaurant Review Assignment and Rubric

Read: “Questions to Ask When Evaluating Restaurants,” “How to Review a Restaurant Like a Pro,” “Where People Get Information About Restaurants,” and “Quick Guide to an Evaluation Essay”

Monday (reflection and analysis)
In-class: Rhetorical Analysis of Sample Restaurant Reviews: NYT, The Morning Call (Allentown, PA)
: “Descriptive Essays” and “Descriptive Writing”; W-3 “Writing Processes” in The Little Seagull  Handbook (pp. 9-11)

Write: Prewriting for the Restaurant Review Assignment

Wednesday (assignment and task design)

Invention workshop

Read: W-3 “Writing Processes” (p. 11) and W-4 “Developing Paragraphs” in The Little Seagull Handbook (pp. 17-29)

Write: First draft restaurant review

Friday (assignment and task design)
Writing workshop: Paragraph Development

Read: “Responding, Really Responding, To Others’ Writing”

Write: Rough Draft (upload into course management system)
Self Evaluation Rough Draft Restaurant Review (reflection and analysis)

Monday (Rough Draft Restaurant Review Commented) (teacher feedback)
Writing workshop: Peer Review (During class, discuss reading and model peer review with existing samples or rough drafts of class volunteers) (structured peer review and collaborative sessions)

Write: Revised Draft

Wednesday (structured peer review and collaborative sessions)
Writing workshop: revision strategies

Peer Review Restaurant Review

Read: “Rethinking and Revising”

Write: Revision Plan (reflection and analysis)

One-to-one or group conferences (structured peer review and collaborative sessions/teacher feedback)

Read: W-3 “Writing Processes” in The Little Seagull Handbook (pp. 12-16)

Write: Final draft

Final Draft Restaurant Review Assignment Due (teacher feedback)
In-class: Essay Reflection (reflection and analysis)

When teacher feedback on the final draft is received:
Complete: Grammar/Error Log (reflection and analysis)


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