Spring 2013 — UC Irvine — Information & Computer Science — ICS 139W — David G. Kay
Changing the System: Peer Editing Guidelines for the Change Proposal
You will edit your assignments in groups of
two or three. It doesn't matter whether you work with the same people
you worked with last time. Take a couple of minutes to identify each other.
We will help form groups if necessary.
As you read and comment on each other's papers, keep in mind the purpose
and audience of the paper (that is, to convince decision-makers to support
the proposed changes).
On the editor's written comments, the editor should be sure to write
"Edited by" and his or her name. Each author must turn in the
editor's written comments along with the revised version of the paper.
Before reading the paper, talk to the author
and get clear answers to the questions below; then answer the same questions
for the person editing your paper.
Who is the intended audience? Corporate executives,
project managers, technical people? Who actually makes decisions about
changing this product?
How much does the audience understand about
the software already? Have they used it? Do they know what its advantages
and shortcomings are? In other words, what background does the author assume
(and thus not have to address explicitly in the proposal)?
Does the author expect the audience to be
receptive to the proposal, neutral, or hostile towards it? What does the
author estimate the chances are of approval?
Read your classmate's paper once through
without making any comments. Then, write down briefly your first impressions:
Do mechanical errors get in the way of reading
Is it well organized and easy to follow?
Does it do the job? If you were the decision-maker,
would you spend money on this proposal (given that you have many other good
things to spend the money on)?
Read it again, more carefully, making comments
in the margins. Focus your comments on the organization and content; don't
spend much time proofreading for spelling or grammatical errors (which the
author should have cleaned up already).
Write down brief answers to these questions:
Does the author give the decision-makers the
right level of information? Is too much (or to little) assumed?
How is the paper organized? Can you draw
a clear outline or flowchart?
Does the opening paragraph make the reader
want to read more?
Do the paragraphs follow one another to build
a convincing argument?
Is there any place where a concept is mentioned
that isn't explained until later in the document?
Does the closing paragraph summarize the reasons
for making the change?
Does the author make a convincing case? What
else would help persuade the decision-maker?
Review the author's slides, making written
comments on these issues:
Content and Organization
Do the slides "walk the reader through"
the main points of the proposal? Are there major points of the proposal
that are not reflected in the slides? Do they seem to be paced well through
the whole presentation?
Is each slide adequately identified, for example
with a title, so that its place in the presentation is clear?
If a slide uses bullet points, is parallelism
Is the wording crisp, clear, and concise?
Are the slides too crowded or too sparse?
Are they easy to read at a glance, from a
distance? (Is there too much text? Are the graphics too small?)
Does every pixel pay its way?
Does the color, if used, convey better information
than monochrome or gray-scale?
If a background pattern is used, does it interfere
with reading the foreground?
If there are graphics or screen shots, do
they help make the point effectively? Can the back row of the audience
read the important parts of these illustrations?
If the author plans to use live, computer-based
slides, does the "live-ness" add something that makes it worthwhile
to use the technology? ("Dissolves" or "wipes" between
otherwise static slides don't really justify taking the time and trouble.)
Is the type size appropriate?
Are the other typography guidelines observed?
Review your comments with the author (and
vice versa). Be sure to put your name on your comments and give them to
the author, who will submit them with his or her revised version. Also
be sure to get your editor's written comments on your paper.