Wednesday, April 9, 2008

more from Rocky Mountain . . .

Another fine presentation at the Rocky Mountain conference:  Hillary Burgess, an adjunct professor at Rutgers School of Law - Camden and Rowan University, presented " Facilitating Structured Peer Group Work and Enhancing Thorough and Efficient Grading Using Wiki Technology in Legal Writing Courses."

In the presentation, Hillary discussed the benefits of and how to use wiki technology to allow students to submit their papers online.  Such benefits included divorcing class time from deadlines so as to avoid common student phenomenon like coming to class late to turn in their papers and skipping class to give themselves default extensions.  She also discussed the benefits of divorcing class time from deadlines for working students, students with families, or other students whose commitments might conflict with the date and time the assignment is due. 

Hillary discussed strategies for creating successful peer group work.  One strategy included providing specific instructions for peers to follow when reviewing fellow students work to avoid students feeling like the blind leading the blind and to avoid cursory, non-helpful reviews.  Hillary also discussed how to use wiki technology to allow students to submit peer reviews to each other outside of the designated classroom times without requiring students to meet with each other. 

Hillary discussed using a master comment file to provide common feedback on students papers, indicating that these common comments could be customized to provide individual students specific references to their own papers.  She indicated that these master comment files reduced the number of in-line comments, thereby reducing some student anxiety about feedback.  Finally, she reported her own experience of providing more balanced feedback to students in terms of positive and needs-improvement comments and more consistent feedback in terms of length and tone of comments from the first student paper through to the last student paper.  She discussed how having papers and master comment files within wiki allows her to grade from anywhere with a computer and Internet connection without having to haul papers.

Hillary has made her slides and notes available at: .

Thanks, Hillary !


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