||Jul 13, 2003 by Teacher Education
|| CPR represents a self-contained online environment for creating and managing
peer review writing assignments. The process works as follows:
1) An instructor creates a writing assignment through following a sequenced set
of CPr prompts requiring the entry of assignment goals, source materials,
instructions for students, word-count quidelines, due-dates, guiding questions,
writing prompt, and three "rubric-like" responses-to-prompt of varying quality.
2) Students respond to assignments online basing their writing on the source
materials and guiding questions that their instructors have provided within
their CPR assignment.
3) When all student responses have been entered, students re-visit the
assignment, and CPR walks them through the process of:
a) "Calibrating" their scoring of a given assignment by reading and evaluating
the instructor-generated rubrics.
b) Reviewing and scoring three of their peers reponses to the assignment (these
are presented anonymously)
c) Reviewing and scoring their own response to the assignment.
Once all of the peer and self reviews are posted, CPR generates an overall score
for each student.
|| Calibrated Peer Review is an Internet-based instructional tool that enables
students to learn by writing about important topics in a course. The overall
goal of CPR is to encourage and enable students to explore content in depth
through involvement in the process of writing and reading/reviewing. Students
learn to be better writers,
reviewers, and critical thinkers.
|Target Student Population:
|| All college, university, and high school students should use CPR. It is usable
across high school, undergraduate and graduate populations, and across
curricula. Instructors who want students to experience the writing process
itself as a way of learning may find this site valuable, along with instructors
who value content-centered approaches (CPR focuses on content more than
authorship) and/or community or cooperative-learning approaches. Online
instructors may find CPR very helpful in allowing writing assignments to be
read, responded to, and graded without their direct involvement in all stages
of the process (online teaching tends to increase communication workload, so a
reduction in evaluation workload may be crucial/necessary -- the CPR software
effectively automates much of the peer review process).
|Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
|| Basic understanding of peer-review as a process is important for using CPR; the
peer review process is fairly complex conceptually and, while the CPR interface
is intuitive and straightforward, there is only so much a computer interface can
do to render or replicate complex processes. On the other hand, going through
the CPR process in a trial or "learn by doing" mode may be a good way to teach
students about the peer review process.
|Type of Material:
|| CPR is usable across grade levels and curricula to involve students in the
learning process as writers and reviewers of content. It may also be useful to
instructors in that the assignment creation process in CPR requires instructors,
in effect, to write better or more complete assignments (ones that include
guiding questions for students, etc.)
|| Internet connection and a browser (Netscape Navigator version 4 and later or
Internet Explorer version 4 and later). Your browser should have Java enabled,
be able to accept cookies, and have the cache (temporary Internet files) set to
?check every time.?
|| CPR is most basically an online work environment, and as such enables
adaptation to individual instructors' needs and philosophies. At the same time,
it effectively automates in large part the peer review process, and in so doing
has the potential to actually save time and work for instructors while also
providing students with valuable responsibilities and experiences as reviewers
The Calibrated Peer Review software is unique and innovative. CPR enables
frequent student writing in most any discipline and level without overloading
the instructor because once the assignment is created the students and the CPR
software do all the work. The fact that it is free online for any instructor to
use in a class is very strong feature. The CPR process consists of three stages:
Stage 1: Text Entry Stage Stage 2: Calibration and Review Stage and Stage 3:
Results Stage. The content and criteria for a writing assignment is crafted by
the instructor, but the software offers opportunities for students to write a
response to the questions or assignment posed, review model responses (this is
the calibration part), review and evaluate the writing of others, and then
self-assess their original essay. The iterative nature of this process promotes
metacognitive thinking about the content and the structure of one?s own writing
in response to the original assignment.
|| Because the peer review process is fairly complex conceptually, some instruction
in the process itself may be needed in order for the CPR interface to be easily
intelligible to students. The content of the sample assignments varies, but the
CPT Tour is excellent.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
|| CPR is very flexible and its use is limited only by an instructor?s imagination
and expertise in developing good questions and assignments. Extensive feedback
in the assessment of the calibrations clarifies students? understanding of the
issues and corrects any misconceptions that they might have. Assignment
possibilities include abstracts, proposals, micro-themes, positionpapers,
analyses, descriptions, ethics, and policy issues. The student tour that gives
an overview of a CPR assignment and explains how to complete each stage using
the updated student interface is invaluable. Instructors can create their own
assignments or use others in the growing database of writing assignments
submitted buy other instructors. In well-chosen assignments, students encounter
engaging ideas and ponder important issues. The instructor generates both
content and style questions to focus students on the essential issues in the
source material. Students can also develop higher-level thinking skills such as
abstracting, persuading (proposals), developing arguments, describing,
assessing, criticizing, analyzing, and reviewing. Although CPR stems from a
science-based model, CPR is discipline independent and level independent. When
children first begin to write a paragraph, they can use CPR profitably, and yet
the same program serves college and university students as well as graduate and
professional students. In our view CPR constitutes an environment that actually
*does* some teaching. For example, instructors and students can learn the
process and value of peer review by using CPR.
|| It takes time and thoughtful planing for any instructor to generate a good
assignment and students also need time to work through the various steps in the
CPR process. This is not a single assignment,
but a multi-step project.
For some faculty, the interface may be daunting. However, for those familiar
with computers, we think it is intuitive and well-designe. The explanatory and
support documents on the CPR website are good, and the value of getting
accustomed to the interface would seem to outweigh learning curve issues even
for novice computer users.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
|| CPR's strengths in this regard are that it very carefully disaggregates the
process of peer review into step-by step procedures, and maintains consistency
across the interface (e.g., the steps for entering an assignment are similar in
kind to the steps for entering a review text, etc.).The course management and
authoring tools for CPR work well and offer many features. CPR uses a SQL
database to store account information The class list feature displays names,
student IDs, CPR usernames, and e-mail addresses. Instructors can export the
class list using the download tool. Administrators can enter and edit the e-mail
address. While CPR collects information about users during their new user
registration process, CPR does not reveal any personal information that users
provide to us to any third party. Several help documents are available,
including a handout for students about CPR, and there is place to report bugs
and read FAQs.
|| As previously stated, our only concern is that it is very difficult for a
computer interface to replicate a very complex process such as peer review;
some supplementary conceptual instruction may be necessary. It may be a
difficult tool for some learners with disabilities to use, especially because of
the text intensive nature of the interface.
|Other Issues and Comments:
|| As part of this review,
we invited three colleagues to complete an assignment
created in CPR. This was a valuable way for us and these colleagues, to learn
about CPR and they provided us with feedback for this review. We recommend this
"hands-on" approach to exploring CPR and plan to use CPR in our courses.