Online Peer Editing

Active learning

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Peer Review in Canvas

Time and Effort
Instructor Prep Time Medium
Student Activity Time High
Instructor Response Time High
Complexity of Activity High


During the Fall 2020 semester, students were surveyed about their learning experiences. Among the results was a stated desire for greater and more meaningful engagement in their course, with their instructors, and among students. One way of increasing engagement is for instructors to create opportunities for students to engage with one another on course-related content. Peer editing is one strategy to increase student-student engagement.

Peer editing asks student pairs or small groups to review each other's writing assignments (essays, reports, arguments, etc.) Peer editing provides students with low-stakes feedback prior to submitting more polished drafts to the instructor and it also helps students develop evaluation skills.

In instruction, peer editing can be facilitated through the peer review feature in Canvas assignments.


Use it when you want...

  • To help students develop critical evaluation skills they can apply to their writing,
  • To show students how to identify good and poor writing through the review of other students’ work, or
  • To provide students a chance to receive constructive criticism that can improve their papers before submitting them for a grade.

What students will need

Accessibility and Other Considerations

  • The technologies recommended here should meet most campus accessibility requirements. However, you should check with the McBurney Disability Resources Center for guidance on any specific accommodations for your students.


When instructors create assignments in Canvas, they have the option to require peer reviews.

  1. From the Canvas course navigation menu, select Assignments.
  2. Select +Assignment and enter assignment information (e.g. name and description, point values, etc.)
  3. Check the box next to "Require Peer Reviews." Choose to assign reviewers manually or randomly, and if you want peer reviews to appear anonymously. Tip: when assigning reviews automatically, choose to assign reviews a day or two after the original assignment deadline. This will provide a buffer in case there are late submissions who should still participate in peer reviews.
  4. Consider how you would like students to share feedback. Will students submit their original assignment as a Word document? Would you like peer reviewers to download the Word document and track changes? Would you like students to use peer review tools directly in Canvas? Would you like students to complete a rubric? View and share this student-facing Canvas peer review video guide to consider these workflows.


Barkley, Elizabeth F. et al. Collaborative Learning Techniques: A Handbook For College Faculty. Wiley, 2014. pp. 153-158.

Keywords:Canvas, Peer review, peer-review, peer editing, peer grading, peer-grading, peer review in canvas, canvas peer review   Doc ID:107954
Owner:Julie J.Group:Center for Teaching, Learning & Mentoring
Created:2020-12-17 15:00 CDTUpdated:2023-06-28 10:16 CDT
Sites:Center for Teaching, Learning & Mentoring
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