Friday, March 16, 2012

Reflection on the Peer Review Process

In the process of peer-reviewing the wiki pages, I learned the importance of effective visual rhetoric and design – “delivery” or “performance” (Brooke) – in conveying information to an audience. At the beginning of Laura and Cheri’s page, the very cool and appropriate graphic engaged my interest and positively predisposed me to the subsequent text. Similarly, Sarah and Suzanne’s page used a very cool cartoon of Baudrillard that nicely complemented the content of their introduction. Both images/designs primed me to read the pages. 
After reviewing my classmates’ pages, I realized that we had not created and included a poll, survey, or any other interactive media in our page. I simply hadn’t considered trying to engage the reader in this way. My peers’ pages added significant interest and engagement through these media and their roles in complementing the text.
Marshall McLuhan in his youth
James Gregory reviewed our wiki page on McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage and other articles. I was surprised and confused by some of James’ comments. Without specifying which concepts were missing, he suggested double-checking that we had accounted for each of the twelve key concepts. I double-checked the graphic depicting the relationships among McLuhan’s ideas and the key concepts, and each of the twelve concepts is explicitly addressed. Also, he praised the C.R.A.P. design of our page but then later suggested redesigning the page so it mirrored a website’s design. At the risk of sounding defensive, the contradictory feedback was less than helpful.

Laura Ray also reviewed our page, and then she commented on this blog entry. I was surprised that she also felt the C.R.A.P. design could be improved. I certainly don't think our page is "God's Gift to Designers," but I also don't think our "very concise yet thorough" text (to use Laura's words) needs more bullets, sub-headings, etc. I agree, however, that each of the images could be left-aligned with text-wrapping. This would create the illusion of less text and even more concision. Laura also provided some good ideas for incorporating more interactive elements, and she brought up the difficulty of noticing the sub-pages. Lastly, Laura nailed the previously unnoticed problem with the "Usefulness for Producing New Media" section, in which the only example relates to print rather than new media.

Works Cited
Collin Gifford Brooke. Lingua Fracta: Towards a Rhetoric of New Media. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2009. Print.
Image of Marshall McLuhan posted on Wikimedia Commons from the Library and Archives Canada.


  1. Hi Eric!

    Not sure when you will get this, but I just left my review this evening. Please let me know if you have any questions. :)

  2. Eric,

    Thanks for the shout-out about our How We Became Posthuman page! I'm happy you liked our first graphic and that it was effective in grabbing your attention. For me, these wiki pages have been fun to put together, and I'm enjoying learning about how to effectively use visual design methods (such as CRAP) to engage readers with content. You're right, there is so much to remember - that's why I think it is so helpful to be able to look at each others' work and have the opportunity to share ideas, give/get feedback and revise/refine.

    I finally got the chance to review your McLuhan post earlier (so sorry for the delay - it has been a crazy week!), and I think you have a great start. I did my best to provide detailed comments, but please let me know if I can elaborate further on anything I said.

    I loved that graphic depicting the connections to the key concepts - whoever did that, bravo! Can you guys feature that better somehow? I believe I did comment on adding some additional format options to engage your readers. I left some other comments as well that I hope you will find helpful. "See" you soon! :)

  3. I'm glad you took your classmate's comments as advise and take the authority to listen/revise as you see fit. I figure review comments should at minimum get me to closely revisit what was commented upon, even if I don't change it.