From the short readings this week concerning peer review, I was secretly hoping the articles would denounce this practice and sentence it to a quick painful death. The consensus, from my take, is that there are benefits especially in specific contexts and within the conditions laid out in Debbie Morrison’s blog post titled “Why and When Peer Grading is Effective for Open and Online Learning.” Now don’t get me wrong, I still have reservations and feelings of dread because I immediately think about obstacles such as language barriers, cultural differences, non-constructive “nice nice” feedback (because you don’t want to come off as a jerk), insufficient knowledge, lack of peer review practice, and so forth. However, I do recognize the value of the collective, crowd sourcing, and community collaborations. After all, in most work environments, teamwork and collaboration are the norm (or should be). Plus, peer review is an activity of Connectivism that we read about in session 3.

The exercise of having to do peer reviews this week did make me want to stare blankly at the chalkboard and whisper “really?” What was funny is that I really appreciated the feedback I received. It showed me perspectives and things I missed or thought I had vocalized, but in fact had not communicated adequately. The feedback sparked ideas. I might have gained more than I was able to offer to my fellow classmates on the exercise. Still, I like to tell myself it was the learning process that was more important than the actual feedback I gave (my classmates might disagree). Maybe the medicine was not as bad as I had thought after all.