Great projects take great dedication...and critique...and revision!

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Topic: Drafting, Critique & Revision

Email 6 (of 9)

Great projects take great dedication...and critique...and revision!

In projects, students and teachers generate multiple iterations of their work informed by critique, models, or instruction, in a trajectory towards increasingly meaningful and beautiful work.     
Embedding the culture of critique into your project is even more important when you are doing online learning, because doing creative work is especially psychologically challenging when students do it in isolation. Use assessments and critique as a support for students to feel motivated to turn in multiple drafts.

Activity #1: Create a model project that shows the process from start to finish


Activity Notes:

The purpose of this activity is to have you document the product creation process so that students have a model to critique and refer to as they go through the drafting and revision process themselves.

Considerations for creating your model project:

  • If you do not have process models, do the project yourself and take photos during each step of the process. 
  • Create your own gif that helps explain your instructions for students. You can use GIPHY capture or software like Snagit to help create dynamic tutorials. 
  • Clear instructions - you are writing for the Internet. You want students to remember things from your email as they practice those things. Practice making your writing concise, jargon-free, and highly skimmable. 

Activity #2: Create a critique checklist or critique questions


Activity Notes:

The purpose of this activity is to consider how you will structure critique to encourage students to provide feedback to one another using a virtual format.

Considerations for designing your critique questions:

  • Feed students language for the critique and make the structure easy to remember so that students can focus their energy on analyzing the work, and not on memorizing complicated instructions. 
  • Keep critique structures as consistent as possible
  • You might use a checklist with binary statements so students can quickly assess one another’s work for the key elements
  • Plan for the worst-case scenario: the student doesn’t get any critique from any of their group members. In this case, provide clear self-assessments and models so that students can move ahead to the next step confidently
This is the part of the emails where I start talking in the first person and tell you all the cool things I did in my project “Happy Science” that exemplify this email’s subject area.

Before I launched my project, I did the project myself from start to finish. I designed a happiness experiment, collected data, and then turned it into data art. I used my own process to create a step-by-step tutorial that illustrated each step. In the project documents, I presented my process as though a student did it so that it carefully mirrored all the steps my students will go through.

For the critique, I asked students to email evidence of their progress and a reflection answering four simple questions: 
  1. What have you accomplished so far? 
  2. What tip do you have for others based on what’s going right?
  3. What is challenging you?
  4. What question do you have for others based on what’s going wrong?


The resources for this section consist of samples that you can reference to help you complete the activities for this lesson. Additional resources can be found by going to the course landing page.


Sample Drafting, Critique, & Revision Email
This is a sample project email with activities, assignments, and highlighted resources.


Sample Product Process Tutorial
This email provides step-by-step directions with images for how to create the final product for the Happy Science Project.

Next Steps

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