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Virtual Peer Review

Teaching and Learning about Writing in Online Environments

Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch

Publication Year: 2004

In a reassessment of peer review practices, Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch explores how computer technology changes our understanding of this activity. She defines “virtual peer review” as the use of computer technology to exchange and respond to one another’s writing in order to improve it. Arguing that peer review goes through a remediation when conducted in virtual environments, the author suggests that virtual peer review highlights a unique intersection of social theories of language and technological literacy.

Published by: State University of New York Press


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p. vii

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pp. ix-x

The beginning of my journey on this book can be traced back to a hike in the Alaskan wilderness outside of Juneau, where friends and I were on our way to a remote cabin. There, far away from computers, teaching, and my normal routine, I paused to consider that several computer-based writing practices revolved around the sequence of creating text, sending text to peers, and corresponding with peers about text. Considering this sequence, I recognized the ...

List of Tables

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p. xi

List of Figures

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p. xiii

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pp. 1-5

Although great strides have been made in the field of computers and writing, there is still a great deal of tension that surrounds the transition of writing instruction to computer-based environments. In The Online Writing Classroom, Susanmarie Harrington, Rebecca Rickly, and Michael Day explain that while computers and writing has successfully been recognized as a “subfield” of rhetoric and composition, some very practical problems impede any ...

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1. Virtual Peer Review as “Remediation”

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pp. 7-35

It has been almost two decades since Kenneth Bruffee suggested in “Collaborative Learning and the ‘Conversation of Mankind’” that peer review resembled the kinds of conversation that academics most value: social interaction between colleagues about scholarship (639). Bruffee described peer review as an activity in which “students learn to describe the organizational structure of a peer’s paper, paraphrase it, and [suggest] what the author might do to ...

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2. Characteristics of Virtual Peer Review

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pp. 37-53

As I mentioned in the last chapter, virtual peer review is not exactly a new activity. Rather, it has been described in literature in the following ways: (1) some scholars suggest virtual peer review is an intuitive activity that simply transfers face-to-face peer review to computers; (2) some scholars have described the activity but have labeled it differently; and (3) some scholars have alluded to the differences between virtual forms of peer review and those of face-to-face peer review ...

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3. Virtual Peer Review as Abnormal Discourse

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pp. 55-77

As the last chapter has demonstrated, the introduction of computer technology means that virtual peer review is primarily an exercise in writing rather than an exercise in speaking. As such, it takes on characteristics that are different from those in face-to-face peer review in terms of time, space, and interaction. In this chapter, I suggest that while this remediation of peer review opens the door to many benefits, such as convenience, increased writing practice, and increased durability of peer comments, many writing instructors still resist virtual peer ...

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4. Challenges of Virtual Peer Review

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pp. 79-107

As I suggested in chapter 3, virtual peer review has marks of “abnormal discourse” because it requires a new way of thinking about peer review. I described this new way of thinking in terms of a “literacy of involvement,” or actively reading, writing, and interacting in virtual environments. This depiction of involvement and activity in virtual environments has not been accounted for in past literature that has emphasized peer review as an exercise of oral communication. In this chapter I further explore how this new way of ...

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5. Virtual Peer Review and Technological Flexibility

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pp. 109-128

As the last chapter demonstrates, conducting virtual peer review with no guidance and without the help of distinctions regarding collaboration and technology can lead to challenges and frustrations. Moreover, because so many new online activities are introduced every year in relation to the Internet, it is critical to become more specific about what certain online activities entail. Such a level of detail is especially imperative in the case of virtual peer review, ...

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6. Implications of Virtual Peer Review for the Writing Classroom and Beyond

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pp. 129-147

Throughout this book I have argued that virtual peer review is a remediation of peer review, and I have outlined the ways in which computer technology has the potential to change and shape peer review response. In essence, virtual peer review emphasizes written communication over oral communication, and it illuminates writing as an act of involvement through reading, writing, and interacting online. These aspects of virtual peer review fundamentally differ ...

APPENDIX A: Peer Review and Technology Instructions

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pp. 149-157

APPENDIX B: Consent Form

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pp. 159-160


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pp. 161-162

Works Cited

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pp. 163-175


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pp. 177-183

E-ISBN-13: 9780791485248
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791460498
Print-ISBN-10: 0791460495

Page Count: 183
Illustrations: 5 tables, 29 figures
Publication Year: 2004

OCLC Number: 62364739
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Virtual Peer Review

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • English language -- Rhetoric -- Study and teaching -- Data processing.
  • Online data processing.
  • English language -- Rhetoric -- Computer-assisted instruction.
  • English language -- Composition and exercises -- Computer-assisted instruction.
  • English language -- Composition and exercises -- Data processing.
  • Peer review.
  • Report writing -- Study and teaching -- Data processing.
  • Report writing -- Computer-assisted instruction.
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