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A librarian in a peer editing session

December 13, 2010

On Wednesday, I stayed a bit late after work to attend a peer editing session for a class I’ve been working with all semester.  This wasn’t in our original plan, but a few weeks ago it made sense that perhaps I could offer students some assistance with their citations during the same session where they were reviewing their peer’s writing.  We didn’t have a well thought out plan for my participation, but decided to give it a try.

It was an incredibly good use of my time.

Wikipedian Protester

Wikipedian Protester. From the wonderful web comic xkcd

I had previously reviewed the mechanics of citation with the students, as well as discussed some best practices of in-text citation:

  • When to cite
  • What doesn’t need to be cited (and what the lack of a citation implies)
  • How to use author’s names as the subject of a sentence (and avoid the passive voice)

In the peer editing session, I simply went from group to group looking at papers, making suggestions and answering questions.  Students asked a lot more questions than they would have if they had to seek me out (via email or in my office), and one student’s question would often help out another student.

Overall, I would do it again.  In classes where I know they do peer editing, I may volunteer to come in and help with citation related questions.

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