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The WEx Training Guide

Scott Lloyd DeWitt, Michelle Cohen,


Kaitlin Clinnin, Susan H. Delagrange, Kay Halasek, Ben McCorkle, Jennifer Michaels, & Cynthia Selfe

The Ohio State University 2013

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Its an exchange.
We live in a social world, and in this social world, we exchange ideas. We tell stories. We brainstorm and solve problems. We debate. We offer advice and support. We listen carefully to new points of view and (we hope) respond appropriately. Here is an example. If you participate in social media, like Facebook or Twitter, or if you regularly read and post to a blog, you are exchanging ideas with people all the time. Its the give and take, or what we call reciprocity, that makes social media work. We communicate ideas to people, and that communication goes two (or more) ways. Its an exchange. We participate in the exchange of ideas in school and at work, too. If youve been in a writing class, or maybe an art class or a dance class, or if youve found yourself sitting at a table with co-workers at a brainstorming meeting, youve probably been asked to look at the work that someone else has created, and youve exchanged ideas about that work. Youve offered them feedbackhopefully feedback that is constructive, kind, and generousand one day, you hope to receive the same kind of feedback on your own work. Its an exchange. This give and take, or the conversation of ideas, is key to WEx, The Writers Exchange. In WEx, this exchange will be primarily in the form of feedback that you will provide for one another on the writing you produce for the class (although we hope youll find the time to exchange ideas in the courses discussion forums too). Admittedly, sometimes providing this kind of feedback creates an awkward situation. You might not know the person very well, and youre uncomfortable offering critique. Perhaps you feel that youre not sure of the most effective way to offer feedback, or youre not sure how to word your feedback. Perhaps you feel the piece is so strong that you have nothing to add. And often, youre just not sure whats at stake. Is this person really listening to your feedback? Will the feedback matter? Will the writer take your suggestions seriously? In WEx, we have done our best to address all of those questions. We believe that WEx works only when you keep the idea of exchange at the heart of everything you do. In other words, you recognize that while you are reviewing someones writing, someone else is also reviewing yours. Your goal is to provide your classmates with a perspective that perhaps they hadnt considered or to teach them something that they dont yet know how to do, and they, in turn, will be doing the same for you. And while its necessary to take this task seriously, to provide feedback that is truly helpful and to be generous of your time, we also know that the only way this works is if youre kind, considerate, and thoughtful. The tone of our exchange with each other is integral to WExs success, too. If we assume that were all doing the best work we can, and we keep this as the foundation of WEx, then theres no room for being overly critical or harsh. Its an exchange.

Also at the heart of WEx is training and practice. Providing constructive and useful feedback to your classmates writing is not easy, and we want to take the time to help you learn the best way to participate in WEx. That is why we have written the WEx Training Guide. Its extremely important that you read this guide completely before you begin participating in WEx. In this guide, you will find a practice module that you need to complete where you will be taught how to respond to a sample paper. Then you will compare your feedback to a strong, successful review of the same paper. This training will prepare you not only for the assignment youre working on, but also for your experience with WEx throughout the entire course. As the class progresses, we will ask you to provide different kinds of feedback to your classmates. The assignments will become more challenging, and how we ask you to respond to those assignments will become more complex. Reviewing your classmates writing in WEx is just as important as the actual writing assignments youre going to be completing. Not only do we believe youll develop strong skills in reviewing texts by the end of this class, but we are also certain that when you have multiple opportunities to review your classmates writing, you will become a better writer. Remember, its an exchange. The Writers Exchange.

Chapter 1: How WEx Works


So heres a snapshot of how WEx works. You will be given a prompt for each writing assignment. By the deadline, you will submit your assignment to WEx, where it will be distributed to a predetermined number of other students in the class. At the same time, you will receive writing from your classmates to review. You will follow instructions for reviewing your classmates writing, and you will submit your feedback to WEx. This feedback will then be returned to the writer, and you will receive feedback on your own writing. Once the review of an assignment is finished, we will provide you with some instructions on how to understand the feedback you received and how you might best use that feedback to revise your writing. Four key elements are at the foundation of training for WEx: 1. Understanding the assignment. 2. Understanding the assessment rubric. 3. Understanding the relationship between numerical scores and written feedback. 4. Understanding Describe~Assess~Suggest. For each assignment you review in WEx, you will be asked to follow a specific review scheme, and you will be trained how to review each individual assignment. For Assignment 2, lets look more closely at these four elements:

1. Understanding the assignment


For your first experience in WEx, you will be working with Assignment 2 (Getting To Know One Another). The good news is that you are all working on the same assignment, so you should immediately feel a sense of comfort in that. This also allows you to make connections between how you approached the assignment as a writer and how you are going to provide feedback to other writers. We recommend that you view the two videos that walk you through Assignment 2, but for now, lets review the key elements: The assignment gives you a task: Explore the connections between your identity as a writer and other peoples identities as writers in a reflective essay. The assignment asks you to connect the story that you told in Assignment 1 (Getting To Know You) to stories that other writers have told. You were asked to select one or two meaningful points of comparison and explain why they might be particularly meaningful to your success and development as a writer and to the success and development of other writers. The assignment also tells you your audience: your classmates. The instructions tell you to aim for 800-1000 words, but its ok if you feel inclined to write a bit more.

2. Understanding the Rubric


When you were given the prompt for the assignment, you were presented with three outcomes or objectives that constitute a successful essay. These will make up the rubric that youll use to review your classmates writing and that theyll use to review yours. Lets look more closely at these outcomes: You will identify meaningful insights about yourself as a developing writer and convey these effectively to an audience. Simply put, this outcome is linked to your story in the paper and how you convey that story to your audience. You will examine your own writing experiences within the larger context of others writing experiences. Simply put, this outcome connects your story to the stories of others those stories you chose to work with in this assignment. You will compose a reflective essay that is engaging and compelling for other individuals who consider themselves writers. Simply put, this is the outcome that gets at how you tell your story. Youll want to consider how concrete details and vivid language are used, how the opening captures readers attention, and how the ending helps readers understand the so what question.

3. Understanding the relationship between the numerical score and the written feedback.
For each item on the rubric, you will be asked to provide numerical and written feedback on the writing you are reviewing. The quantitative assessmentassigning a numberis on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being high: 1. Not at all 2. Minimally well 3. Moderately well 4. Very well 5. Extremely well It can be challengingmaybe even a little stressfulto assign a numeric score to your peers work. But you will also be asked to provide written feedback to the writing you are reviewing. The trick is understanding how the numerical score and written feedback work together. The score and the written feedback should reflect one another. When you write feedback in response to one of the outcomes, you are basically explaining, or justifying, why you assigned the score that you did. In other words, if you assign a score of 3Moderately well, you need to explain how you came to that conclusion. We suggest that you keep this process fluid while you are reviewing your classmates texts. In many cases, while you write feedback, youll find that you want to change the numeric score. Writing helps us clarify our thinking, especially about things like numeric scores.

4. Understanding Describe~Assess~Suggest.
When you are composing written feedback to a writer, you should complete three steps for each rubric item:

Describe
In your own words, describe the part of the writing that you are responding to. This is helpful to writers because it allows them to understand how you are reading their writing.

Assess
After you describe the part of the writing you are responding to, assess what you are reading by pointing out both strengths and weaknesses. This is helpful to writers because it points out where their writing succeeds and where it falls short of succeeding.

Suggest
After you describe and assess the part of the writing you are responding to, suggest how the writer might make changes if he or she were to revise or how the writer might think differently about writing in future assignments. In this class, writers might choose to revise simply because they want to improve their writing. Also, writers might take advantage of Level Up assignments, optional opportunities for them to publish their writing for a public audience, and your suggestions will help them produce their best writing for a wider readership. When you are writing this feedback, you can address the writer directly by using you. Even though you do not know whose writing you are reviewing, its important to remember that a writer, a real person, wrote the paper you are responding to and will be reading your feedback. Following these three steps and addressing the writer by using you will help you to provide constructive feedback to your classmates. Your feedback matters, and if you take care to provide constructive, kind, generous feedback that seeks to produce better writing, you will find that your perspective will be greatly valued by the writers in this class. Now we would like you to try this on your own.

Chapter 2: Practicing WEx


Before you begin reviewing your classmates writing, we want you to complete a practice module where you review a sample student paper according to the guidelines outlined above. Once you complete this training module, you will then compare your work to a strong, successful review and note the similarities and differences between this review and your work. Your task, then, is to make adjustments in your process of reviewing writing before you move forward and review the writing of your classmates. We ask that you follow these steps. 1. Read the sample student paper that follows this section of The WEx Training Guide. 2. Mark up the sample student paper: make notes, record your thoughts, underline, circle, draw arrows. You can print the paper and mark it up with a pen, or you can take notes on your computer. This part of the process is for your benefit. The writer of the paper will never see your notes. 3. Fnd the review sheet, WEx Practice Review Sheet, that begins on page 10. You can also print the review pages and complete them with a pen, or you can take notes on your computer. 4. Complete the review of this paper by providing the numerical scores and the written feedback to each of the three criteria on the WEx Practice Review Sheet. 5. Read the next section of The WEx Training Guide called Understanding the WEx Practice Module. It will ask you questions that will help you compare your results to the strong, successful review that weve provided for you that follows this section of The WEx Training Guide. We believe that working on this practice module either before or while you are writing your own essay will provide you with great opportunities for success with the assignment. If you can understand what is expected of you in this assignment, and you can effectively review a sample paper using the WEx guidelines, you will be able to write a stronger paper. Remember, its an exchange.

Sample Student Paper - page 1

The (Academic) Writer in Me When I was a kid, I used to write short stories and poems to amuse myself. In my dresser drawer, I hid a secret floppy disc of my works-in-progress (a screenplay about Snow White, poems that personified kitchen utensils) and spiral-bound notebooks half-full of silly stories Id composed to pass the time on family road trips. Sometime during my adolescence, however, my creative writing endeavors waned, as did my self-identification as a writer. I still wrote frequently for school assignmentsand now, in fact, as a full-time graduate student, I read and write constantlybut as my written work has become increasingly academic, Ive gradually shied away from the label writer. I was interested, then, to find that my sentiments were echoed in the personal anecdotes of others; while these individuals stories obviously recount unique details and life experiences, the general hesitation to embrace the term writer seems familiar. In investigating the assumptions underlying this common apprehension, Ive begun to embrace the writer in me, an identity which perseveres, regardless of the genres, conventions, or functions my writing abides by or serves. The Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives (DALN; http://daln.osu.edu) houses over 3,600 personal stories about reading, writing, or otherwise engaging with texts. While the collection offers an array narratives in a number of formsincluding video and audio files, and even hand-drawn comicsI consulted three traditional print essays composed in Microsoft Word. The titles of the essays that I chose from the DALN each promised to reflect upon the authors identity as a writer: specifically, I read Debbie Barollis My Life as a Writer, Danesh Prasads My Life as a Writer, and Priscilla Huis The Writer in Me. In an earlier Getting to Know You reflection on my own writing identity and experiences, I described my discomfort with the label writer and considered a few isolated instances in which Ive used writing

Sample Student Paper - page 2

creatively or enjoyed positive feedback on my academic writing. I found that while I could reflect upon my writing practices, I still skirted around the task of describing myself as a writer. The DALN essays express a similar, if unspoken, discomfort that the authors have with fully expanding upon their identities as writers. Instead of investigating how or why (or even whether or not) they are writers, they tend to concentrate on their strengths and weaknesses whether they are good or bad writersespecially based on their comfort and success with various academic genres and conventions of writing. I think what was most striking to me about this observation is that most of these authors implicitly questioned whether or not they are writers, or how well they write, based on school-based assignments. Similarly, Ive come to consider myself a good writer based on my success on academic papers, but I dont quite think of myself as a writer (unmodified by the terms good or bad) because I dont write creatively outside of the classroom anymore. Each of the essays that I read seem preoccupied with academic writing but then throw in some kind of underdeveloped twist or allusion to an interest in another kind of writing. For example, after writing exclusively about her experiences writing within a classroom setting, Priscilla concludes surprisingly. She writes, I still plan to free write as long as it does not pertain to school work. Aside from that the writer in me will always be hidden. Debbie similarly talks about her academic experiences as an ESL student, explains why she considers herself a good writer, and then very briefly describes her plans to pursue a career as a magazine writer. Danesh seems under-confident as a writer, describing his struggles with academic writing, but writes more enthusiastically about his interest in literature. I wondered as to what assumptions underlie these three narratives. Perhaps Debbie considers herself a writer because she plans to write for a living, or Danesh considers himself

Sample Student Paper - page 3

one because he wants to write literary pieces. Perhaps Priscillas writer self is hidden because she doesnt seem to haveor at least talk aboutaspirations to write creative or public pieces. When the various authors are invited to explore their writing identities, they spend the bulk of their essay looking at essay conventions they learned in school and question their success in these exercises. These academic criteria seem to be their basis for judging whether or not they are good or bad writers, but their outside writing interests (or lack thereof) may be what determines their identity as simply a writer (unmodified by good or bad). Because I mainly write for school, I think I might have similar assumptions: When teachers or professors tell me that I write well or give me high marks on a paper, I feel confident as a good writer. But to describe myself simply as a writer, outside of an academic environment, I feel like I need to have ambitions similar to Debbies or Daneshs. that to be a writer, I have to compose certain kinds of texts (namely, creative pieces). The writer in me isnt hidden, as Priscilla says, but after reading these other essays, I wonder what I expect of self-labeled writers (especially in terms of the genres and forms of writing they engage in) and to what extent school experiences affect or complicate my confidence as a writer. In fact, it wasnt until I considered some of the pieces on the DALN that I understood my own assumptions and their associated consequences. To fail to see myself as a writer seems to be tantamount to ignoring or rejecting the writing that I engage in on a regular basis. These days, I may rarely compose poems or fictional stories; my writing has taken on other forms and conventions, and my purpose is typically academic, but the writer in me is still alive and well.

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WEx Practice Review Sheet


Please provide a numerical score and written feedback for each criterion. Also, please provide additional feedback for the writer that was not covered by the three criteria. Remember Describe~Assess~Suggest: Describe: Assess: Suggest: What are you seeing? Why did you assign this rating for this criterion? What might the writer to do improve this piece if he or she were to revise?

What might the writer think about when working on future assignments?

Criterion 1
Rate how well the writer identifies meaningful insights about his/her identity as a writer. 1. Not at all 2. Minimally well 3. Moderately well 4. Very well 5. Extremely well Describe:

Assess:

Suggest:

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Criterion 2
Rate how well the writer reflected on his/her own experiences in connection with others writing experiences. 1. Not at all 2. Minimally well 3. Moderately well 4. Very well 5. Extremely well Describe:

Assess:

Suggest:

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Criterion 3
Rate how well the writer composed a reflective essay that is also engaging and compelling for other individuals who consider themselves writers. 1. Not at all 2. Minimally well 3. Moderately well 4. Very well 5. Extremely well Describe:

Assess:

Suggest:

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Additional Feedback: Please take the time to share a few overall thoughts with this writer about how you read this essay as an audience member, what you felt was done well, and how this writer might improve this piece of writing.

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STOP HERE
To get the most out of this training exercise, please make sure you have carefully completed the first four steps from page 6: 1. You have read the sample Student Paper. 2. You have marked up the sample Student Paper according to the instructions. This part of the process is for your benefit. The writer of the paper will never see your notes. 3. You have found the WEx Practice Review Sheet following the Sample Paper on page 10. 4. You have completed the review of the Student Paper as instructed.

After you have completed these four steps, you are ready to turn the page and read the next section of Practicing WEx. It will ask you questions that will help you compare your results to the strong, successful review that weve provided for you in this section of The WEx Training Guide. 1. Look over the comments the reader wrote on the Student Paper. 2. Compare the notes you wrote on the Student Paper to the notes this reader wrote. 3. Compare the ratings and Describe~Evaluate~Suggest comments you wrote to those writen by this reader in Strong, Successful Review of Assignment 2: Getting to Know One Another.

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Sample Student Paper with Comments - p.1

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Sample Student Paper with Comments - p.2

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Sample Student Paper with Comments - p.3

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Strong, Successful Review of Assignment 2: Getting to Know One Another


Criterion 1
Rate how well the writer identifies meaningful insights about his/her identity as a writer. 1. Not at all 2. Minimally well 3. Moderately well 4. Very well 5. Extremely well Use the three steps outlined in The WEx Training Guide, Describe~Assess~Suggest, to provide written feedback about this criterion. Describe: Your essay talks about the way your identity as a writer changed after reading the DALN essays. You originally assumed that in order to be considered a writer, you would need to be a creative writer; however, over the course of the essay, you make conscious moves to assert and value your identity as an academic writer. Assess: You do a good job of alluding to your changing identityfor instance, by including examples of the shift in your writing practices and identity from childhood to now, as a graduate student. You come to an arguable conclusion (that academic writers are also writers) and support it through comparison to the DALN pieces. Your assertions about being a good or bad writer can be little confusing, and your argument gets a little repetitive through the first few paragraphs. Suggest: Your newfound understanding of your identity as a writer is interesting, but a little general. If you choose to revise, you could make your claims more concreteand maybe even complicate your argument in interesting waysby adding more details as evidence for analysis (maybe bring in more anecdotes from your original Getting to Know You essay, or give us more descriptions of your role as an academic writer?).

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Criterion 2
Rate how well the writer reflected on his/her own experiences in connection with others writing experiences. 1. Not at all 2. Minimally well 3. Moderately well 4. Very well 5. Extremely well Use the three steps outlined in The WEx Training Guide, Describe~Assess~Suggest, to provide written feedback about this criterion. Describe: You read three print essays from the DALN and notice that each of these writers also hesitates to self-identify as a writer. You use their preoccupations with learning academic writing conventions to question your own assumptions about academic writing. You also observe a twist in each of the essays that suggests that real writers are creative or professional writers. Assess: Your claims are useful to your larger insights/argument about yourself. However, you dont include much detail about the essays youve read; instead, you tend to lump them all together. The details you do include in the third paragraph are a bit vague and could use a bit more analysis. Finally, I dont see clearly how they point to the larger argument. Suggest: It would be great if we could get some more details here (specific anecdotes or quotes?), to put us into conversation with these other writers who we, the reader, havent read. You also could tell your reader how you see these details as evidence for your larger claim. This might also be a place to look at topic sentences of paragraphs to see what the paragraph is actually proving by using these three narratives.

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Criterion 3
Rate how well the writer composed a reflective essay that is also engaging and compelling for other individuals who consider themselves writers. 1. Not at all 2. Minimally well 3. Moderately well 4. Very well 5. Extremely well Use the three steps outlined in The WEx Training Guide, Describe~Assess~Suggest, to provide written feedback about this criterion. Describe: You start off with some concrete details in the introduction, explain some of the context of the assignment, and then assert your main point. You give us some background on the DALN and the narratives you chose, and have a fairly clear argument throughout that you attempt to support by comparing your own experiences to those of the other writers. As a reader, I found your writing voice generally clear and easy to follow. Assess: As Ive mentioned in the criteria above, the writing can be a bit vague. The organization is mostly clear (it can get a little repetitive, and there are places where your claims within certain paragraphs seem underdeveloped).

Suggest: More detailsboth from your own original essay, and especially from the essays you use for comparisoncould make this piece more vivid and engaging for the reader. By supporting your claims with evidence (plus analysis, hopefully), the addition of detail could make your main point more compelling for the reader. Also, some of your most interesting claims seem to come in the conclusion; introducing these sooner might pique the readers interest.

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Additional Comments Please take the time to share a few overall thoughts with this writer about how you read this essay as an audience member, what you felt was done well, and how this writer might improve this piece of writing. Great job on this draftI enjoyed reading it! You have a lot of interesting observations that I think will become even more clear and compelling in your next draft. I hope you choose to revise and submit it for the Level Up. When you revise this piece or when are writing pieces in the future, really think about adding details (like quotations from the text youre writing about, for example); theyll make your piece more vivid and interesting. But dont just toss details in as summary either! If you take it a step further and analyze those details, well get to hear more of your voice and your interesting claims. Another revision suggestion that I think might help: Sometimes the first draft is about discoveryfiguring out what youre trying to sayso dont be afraid to go back to the beginning to tweak your thesis and add topic sentences; this will clarify and tighten up your argument for the reader.

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Chapter 3: Understanding the WEx Practice Module


By now, you should have completed the WEx Practice Module for Assignment 2. So now what should you do? Rhetorical Composing is a class that asks you to examine your performance within the context of others performance on a set of predetermined criteria. The WEx Practice Module works this way, too. You need to compare your review to the sample of a strong, successful review that weve provided for you. Below is a list of questions that will help you understand this comparison. You will notice that we are not asking objective, yes or no questions. Instead, these questions are designed to help you to reflect on how you reviewed the sample paper and to guide you in refining and adjusting your approach to reviewing your classmates writing if necessary. Remember a time when youve received feedback on your writing in the past. What did you find useful, and what didnt you find useful about that feedback? Now consider the sample review, as well as your own review. In what ways do you think this feedback is constructive, useful, generous, and kind? How is the sample review mindful of the assignment prompt and assessment rubric? In what ways is your own review similarly mindful of the prompt and rubric? How does your quantitative assessment compare to that of the sample review? How did you choose these scores? Do the numbers you chose tend to be higher or lower than the sample? Why do you think this is? How does the length of your review compare to the sample review? Are there any sections where you should give the writer more information? Consider what you wrote next to the heading Describe. In what ways are your descriptions similar and different from the sample review? Are your descriptions neutral and objective? Consider what you wrote next to the heading Assess. Does your feedback include both strengths and weaknesses? How does the sample review address areas in which the author succeeds and falls short of succeeding? Consider what you wrote next to the heading Suggest. In what ways are your suggestions similar and different from the sample review? Could the writer use them to think differently about his or her writing choices in revising this assignment or completing future assignments?

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Chapter 4: WEx & Assignment 3, Making a Visual Argument


For your next assignment, you will be creating a public service announcement (PSA) on a pressing social issue that you find worthwhile. You will be reviewing this text in WEx, The Writers Exchange, so we need to think about how the skills of peer review you developed in the previous assignment translate to the PSA assignment. Earlier in The WEx Training Guide, we said that four key elements are at the foundation of all successful peer reviews: 1. Understanding the assignment. 2. Understanding the assessment rubric 3. Understanding the relationship between numerical scores and written feedback. 4. Understanding Describe~Assess~Suggest. This is certainly true for reviewing the PSA assignment. The good news is the some things are going to remain the same. We still want you to think about the relationship between numerical scores and written feedback. Also, we still want you to use Describe~Assess~Suggest when you review your classmates Public Service Announcement and writing. So #3 and #4 on our list stay the same. If you read The WEx Training Guide, you are prepared in those areas. (And if you have not read The WEx Training Guide, please do so as soon as possible.) So that leaves understanding the assignment and understanding the assessment rubric. You can find the assignment along with other course materials on our class website. Please review these carefully and use our discussion forums to discuss your ideas and share resources. You will notice that because you are creating a visual text for this assignment, the directions for submitting your work to WExMOOC are significantly different from our last assignment. Please read the instructions carefully when submitting your work. The assessment rubric you will use consists of three criteria: How well does the PSA combine words, images, and overall design to target and potentially persuade a specific audience? How clearly does the PSA identify a specific issue of social concern and suggest a course of action for addressing it? How well does the accompanying reflective statement (i.e., the short paragraph submitted along with the link to the PSA) explain the rhetorical intentions, context, and goals for the PSA? The peer review for this assignment will work in much the same way as it did for our previous peer review. By the deadline, you will submit your assignment to WEx, where it will be distributed to other students in the class. At the same time, you will receive assignments from your classmates to review. You will be asked to review four assignments. You will follow instructions for reviewing your classmates Public Service Announcement and writing, and you will submit your feedback to WEx. This feedback will then be returned to the writer, and you will receive feedback on your own project. As you are completing your reviews, we invite you to submit reflections on our discussion forums. Remember to be supportive of one another and to help each other when you face challenges. You are our classs best resource when it comes to offering advice and answering questions.

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Chapter 5: WEx & Assignment X


Congratulations! You have decided to participate in Assignment X, and we couldnt be happier. By accepting this challenge, you have committed to working on one more assignment and providing your classmates with quality reviews that will help everyone become better writers. For Assignment X, you were asked to revise and submit one of the assignments that we have already worked on in Rhetorical Composing. The choice of assignments is entirely up to you, but we can assume that you are submitting work that you would like to improve and about which you hope to receive carefully written and thoughtful feedback. Of course, that makes this round of review in WEx a bit different from what you might be used to. Because people are working on many different assignments, you need to be prepared to review whatever project is delivered to you. We dont think that will be too difficult because you are already familiar with the assignments. Youve completed the assignments and reviewed your classmates work, so there should not be any surprises. If you would like to review any of the instructions for past assignments, you can find them on the Print/Text Resources page on our class website.

Writing a review for Assignment X


As with the reviews youve already completed, you will rate the Assignment X projects according to three criteria. These criteria, we believe, will apply to all of the assignments that your classmates might submit for Assignment X. After you have rated a project, you will then do something slightly different with this review. Instead of writing three discrete responses, we would like for you to write a single, unified review letter that describes what you are reading, assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the writing, and suggests places where the composer might improve his or her work. At this point, you are probably beginning to realize that you already possess the skills to write this letter. Throughout the class, we have been asking you to write responses to individual review criteria. These responses are actually individual paragraphs that, when stitched together, could make a single, unified review letter. So think back to Assignment 2 of this class when we asked you to read The WEx Training Guide and complete the practice module. In that module, we asked you to read a sample paper and review it according to the guidelines we outlined for you. Then, we asked you to compare your practice review to an example of a strong review. Using the actual text from that same review, we have written an example of the quality work we would like for you to complete as you provide feedback to each others projects. As you read this example, you should note the following: The review begins with a greeting and a short opening paragraph that establishes a relationship with the composer. Each paragraph of the review is about one topic that is made clear early and uses the WEx guidelines of Describe~Assess~Suggest. The review provides constructive feedback while maintaining a positive, encouraging tone throughout. The review concludes by urging the composer to continue in his or her future writing endeavors.

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Dear writer/composer: Thank you for the opportunity to review your project submitted for Assignment X. I enjoyed reading your work and found how you relate your own experiences to other writers compelling and engaging. I have a few suggestions for you that I hope you find helpful. Your essay talks about the way your identity as a writer changed after reading the DALN essays. You originally assumed that in order to be considered a writer, you would need to be a creative writer; however, over the course of the essay, you make conscious moves to assert and value your identity as an academic writer. You do a good job of alluding to your changing identityfor instance, by including examples of the shift in your writing practices and identity from childhood to now, as a graduate student. You come to an arguable conclusion (that academic writers are also writers) and support it through comparison to the DALN pieces. Your assertions about being a good or bad writer can be little confusing, and your argument gets a little repetitive through the first few paragraphs. Whereas your newfound understanding of your identity as a writer is interesting, I found it to be a little general. If you choose to revise further, you could make your claims more concreteand maybe even complicate your argument in interesting waysby adding more details as evidence for analysis (maybe bring in more anecdotes from your original Getting to Know You essay, or give us more descriptions of your role as an academic writer?). As you read the three print essays from the DALN, you noticed that each of these writers also hesitates to self-identify as a writer. You use their preoccupations with learning academic writing conventions to question your own assumptions about academic writing. You also observe a twist in each of the essays that suggests that real writers are creative or professional writers. Your claims are useful to your larger insights/ argument about yourself. However, you dont include much detail about the essays youve read; instead, you tend to lump them all together. The details you do include in the third paragraph are a bit vague and could use a bit more analysis. Finally, I dont see clearly how they point to the larger argument. It would be great if we could get some more details here (specific anecdotes or quotes?), to put us into conversation with these other writers who we, the reader, havent read. You also could tell your reader how you see these details as evidence for your larger claim. This might also be a place to look at topic sentences of paragraphs to see what the paragraph is actually proving by using these three narratives. As a reader, I found your writing voice generally clear and easy to follow. You start off with some concrete details in the introduction, explain some of the context of the assignment, and then assert your main point. You give us some background on the DALN and the narratives you chose, and have a fairly clear argument throughout that you attempt to support by comparing your own experiences to those of the other writers. I also find your organization to be very clear. As I mentioned above, in places, your writing is a bit vague. More detailsboth from your own original essay, and especially from the essays you use for comparisoncould make this piece more vivid and engaging for the reader. By supporting your claims with evidence (plus analysis, hopefully), the addition of detail could make your main point more compelling for the reader. Also, some of your most interesting claims seem to come in the conclusion; introducing these sooner might pique the readers interest.

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Again, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to review this piece of writing. I hope you have had a positive experience developing your writing abilities in this class and that you find my feedback helpful, and I hope you continue to write after this class is over. Best, One of your fellow Rhetorical Composing classmates

You should use this letter as an example of the quality of feedback that we would like you to produce for the projects you are reviewing.

Assessment Criteria for Assignment X


The assessment rubric you will use consists of three criteria that you will rate on a scale of 5 (high) to 1 (low): Rate how well the submission is crafted to appeal to a specific audience. Rate how well the composer demonstrates an awareness of and facility with rhetorical concepts (e.g., ethos, logos, pathos, kairos, commonplaces) in crafting the argument. Rate how well the composer treats the subject in ways that are insightful, engaging, and compelling. You should allow these criteria to guide the review letters you write, but if they do not encompass a particular feature of the project that you would like to discuss, please feel free to move beyond the items on this rubric.

Quality Reviews
Because you have chosen to complete Assignment X, we ask that you make one very important commitment. Please provide your classmates with the best possible reviews you can write according to the guidelines described above. Assignment X only works if everyone is dedicated to providing each other the best possible reviews they can. Remember, its an exchange. We are thrilled that you have decided to join us for one more assignment!

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