I think that peer-review is an under-utilized assessment tool, which I intend to use more often in my teaching. Through peer-review, students become more aware of the criteria for assessing learning, allowing them to be more self-reflective when doing their own work. For effective peer-review, thorough rubrics are extremely important. It is through the rubric that students can clearly see what is expected of them, making them motivated to succeed (see below for example). Peer-review is ultimately a form of authentic assessment in my opinion. As more organizations become “horizontal”, and even in traditional work hierarchies, being able to effectively evaluate and provide feedback on the work of others as well as your own is an asset to any group.
Written feedback, peer-review or otherwise, can only go so far, as it is really just a one-sided conversation. I feel strongly about being available to students both for formal consultation about specific issues and questions and for more informal interactions. I think some students don’t reach out to faculty because they don’t have a specific reason to interact, i.e. a grade to discuss, a problem set to work though. By having regular office hours where students are encouraged to come by just to talk about class topics or other ideas, I hope to extend their learning as well as extend myself as a resource beyond the class material.