This round of peer review was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I had no problems using Google docs and I still enjoy reading and commenting on the papers I read. However, I was generally disappointed with the comments I received. In fact, one comment I received honestly didn’t make sense to me. I asked for clarification, but we never really came to a final agreement. In the end, I decided to go against what my peer stated, which is very rare for me. That’s not to say I didn’t fully evaluate the criticism, because I did, but I found myself in total disagreement with the suggestion. That was a new experience for me, for sure.
Personally, for me, the most useful aspect of peer review is seeing how my peers approach the same assignment. It usually reassures me that I am on the right track with my own thoughts. There’s nothing worse than pouring hours of blood, sweat, and tears into a paper only to find you have totally missed the mark! As for what is least useful… I just didn’t get as much out of the comments as usual. Well, one reviewer seemed to give me more in-depth criticisms than the other did and I was a little disappointed by that. Of course, it’s entirely possible the one reviewer was so thorough that the other didn’t have much to add, so I’m not going to hold it against them. However, I still felt a little disappointed all the same.
I’ve learned that I appreciate in-depth analysis of my work and therefore strive to provide useful criticisms to my peers. I’ve been labelled a harsh editor in the past by friends and peers, but I tried very hard to include positive comments with the bad. I think that will be an important lesson to remember when I begin teaching! In turn, I’ve learned to more thoroughly evaluate what my peers say to me. In the beginning of the semester, I was likely to follow the advice of my peer reviewer, even if I mildly disagreed with their assessment. However, as we’ve gone on, I began to question their comments more and make decisions against them.
My biggest concern about peer review is whether I will use it in the future. It can be difficult and unpleasant for the students involved. With the current bullying atmosphere in many schools, I don’t know that it’s worth using this technique. This is something I will have to really think about in the future.