Part 5: Spring 2017 Labs

68 Canvas Peer Grading with John Zumbrunnen — 04.07.2017

The April 7, 2017 Active Teaching Lab explored peer grading tools in Canvas. John Zumbrunnen shared his experience and lessons learned from using these tools.


  • Peer review both reveals feedback that John might not have thought of, but it also reinforces many of the points that he makes. Hearing it from both the professor and their peers helps it sink in further for students.
  • In assignments, you can have Canvas assign peer reviews, set a date to assign reviews, and provide a due date.
  • SpeedGrader lets students have the same assessment and commenting tools that instructors have (Crocodoc comments in the margins, general comments, freehand notes, etc.)
  • After the peers have reviewed, there’s less for John to do.
  • John encourages peers to borrow and learn from each other.
  • Late papers don’t get reviewed. And late students don’t get papers assigned to them. So set the peer review assignment date after you’re sure all the papers are in.
  • After the semester is underway, John has a better understanding of his students, and he manually assigns groups for peer reviewing to take advantage of their strengths and balance the makeup of the groups. (This is extra work, but not much extra work in smaller classes).
  • View the session’s activity sheet for additional support materials

Active Teaching Labs are held every Friday from 8:45-9:45am (and every other Monday from 12:30pm-1:30pm, see events calendar for dates) in room 120, Middleton Building. Check out upcoming labs or read recaps from past labs — or see them all ( To stay informed about upcoming Labs, check back to this website or sign up for regular announcements by sending an email to

Watch John’s Story:

Watch the discussion that followed:

Get Started with Peer Grading in Canvas:


Active Teaching Lab eJournal Copyright © 2016 by DoIT Academic Technology and the UW-Madison Teaching Academy; Jennifer Hornbaker; John Martin; Julie Johnson; Karin Spader; Margaret Merrill; Margaret Murphy; and Jeffrey Thomas. All Rights Reserved.

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