Introduction to Peer Review and CritViz

Practice of engineering relies on peer review to improve work, catch mistakes, provide feedback and disseminate knowledge.  We use peer review in CEE300 for similar reasons.  In a previous post, we looked at a concept referred to as Network Based Education that described: Self Learning, Learning from a Teacher, and Peer-to-Peer learning. That particular blog post pointed out that peer-to-peer learning has some of the greatest potential for improvement and is subject to the Network Effect in which more students = more knowledge = more interaction = a better experience for everyone.

Now we can start describing what this “better experience” is in relation to Peer-to-peer learning. To start, let us take Howard Rheingold, the man behind the Peeragogy HandbookPeeragogy can be simply defined as self-organized peer learning. The handbook itself is a resource for co-learning based around the Peeragogy concept of peers learning together and helping each other to learn. The Peeragogy project seeks to empower the worldwide population of self-motivated learners who use digital media to connect with each other, to co-construct knowledge of how to co-learn.

The Handbook provided 29 chapters of information, too much to grasp at once, so the following is a summary of some of the general concepts the handbook promotes:

We are human because we learn together. Ever since the ye old days, people have gained experience, knowledge and progress by working with, collaborating and communicating with the people around them. “It is the essence of human culture”. Why change that now?

“Education is not an affair of ‘telling’ and being told, but an active and constructive process” – John Dewey.  Engage, participate and be present. You might actually learn a thing or two if you do.

Ideally, the need for peer review should not exist! In a perfect world. People should be in constant and open peer review dialogue so that the need for a formal peer review wouldn’t be necessary.  To make this ideal situation a reality, it starts with small steps. It starts with questions and curiosity, with in class assignments and with the desire to make yourself and others better.

Personal Supports Peer.  How we cultivate living, responsive webs of inspiration and support that help us be more effective learners. It is the “personal learning network”

Peer Supports Personal.  You have something to offer and something to learn. You can learn a lot from your collaborative efforts.

Peer-to-peer review is a teaching technique widely used in design disciplines, like the arts.  In courses where students are expected to create original artwork, it’s essential that they understand how to give and receive what is called critique.

But peer review is also an effective way to teach writing, which is an important learning objective in CEE300.  The following video, No One Writes Alone, provides some noteworthy tips for how to be an effective reader providing feedback to a peer author:

  • Provide the experience of the reader, don’t get caught up about what you “ought to say”
  • Be constructive and provide your perspective
  • Remember that you are a collaborator – be focused and specific
  • Point out what they did well (but don’t overdo it)
  • Ask Questions, be curious – Even the most basic questions can help
  • Help improve the quality of the work


Welcome to CritViz

Critviz is a program that was created specifically for the purpose of Peer Review by two professors, Loren Olsen and David Tinapple, from the School of Arts, Media and Engineering here at ASU. This is a beta or trial program that these professors originally designed to fit their classroom needs but since doing so, has allowed other classes to give the program a try.

To sign up for CEE300 Fall2016 on Critviz, navigate to and use the CEE300 course code IJKSHLEB.

1 thought on “Introduction to Peer Review and CritViz

  1. Ahmad Sayed Mostafa

    Commenting about group’s tech report by writing them the missing points will help them a lot when writing another tech report and will be more cautions to avoid the same mistakes.


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