Audio-Recorded “Big Picture” Peer Review

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Paco CT

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Paco CT

The goal of this peer review is to provide audio-recorded feedback that focuses on global, or “big picture,” elements of your peers’ papers. Using an audio-recording technology will allow you to talk through your feedback out loud and will, in turn, allow your peers to hear your words rather than reading them. Research on audio-recorded feedback suggests that students find it useful and that constructive criticism often comes across less “harshly,” thus making the process feel less critical.


1. Select an audio-recording technology. Some that you might consider are SoundCloud (web-based), Quicktime (MAC computer application), Windows Media Player (PC computer application), or Audacity (download application from web).

2. Choose two other students’ drafts (preferably students who have not yet had their draft reviewed) to read and reply to as a peer reviewer.

3. Read their drafts carefully and make notes/annotations in response to the following “big picture” questions:

  • What did you like about the draft? How/why did you like it? How might the author build on that section?
  • What sections are confusing to you? How/why? Ask your classmates questions that would help you to make sense of the section.
  • Do you have any unanswered questions after you finished reading the draft? What are they?

4. Note: If you only say “this is great” or comment on commas and spelling, you will NOT get full credit. If it is a really good draft, try to break down how and why it is good. Make sure both you and the author can repeat the characteristics of “good” in future papers.

5. Record your feedback using the audio-recording technology you chose. Don’t worry about “scripting” your response, and time each recording between 3 and 5 minutes.

6. Post a link or download your file and send it to your classmates. If downloading a SoundCloud file, make sure your SoundCloud file is “public.”

7. Share-out: Take a screenshot of your resulting soundfile and post it to the comments thread.