Highlight: Peer-Review in the Classroom

Elvira Roncalli and her PHIL 495 Students

Elvira Roncalli Ph.D., professor of philosophy at Carroll College, needed the ability to create a double-blind simulated "peer-reviewed" student symposium for her course.  That's where the peer-review tools in Carroll Scholars came in to play, keeping the paper authorship and review process completely anonymous for all participants, and allowing the students to refine their papers through three revision and resubmission cycles before presenting their final version in person at a symposium titled "Power, Voice, Mandate: Moral Authority in The Contemporary Age".

Visit: https://scholars.carroll.edu/phil495/

This seminar was designed as a laboratory for students to do and practice philosophy. The topic of “moral authority” was selected in light of students’ suggestions of relevant themes for our time and for philosophy.

By reading scholars in the field who have written about “moral authority” in the last twenty years, students engaged in philosophical discussion with one another and identified a specific question on “moral authority,” they chose to investigate philosophically. They researched the specific question and submitted several drafts of their research paper.

The seminar was set up so that students were acting both as “editors” and “organizers” of a public event, a “Symposium on Moral Authority,” and as researchers and authors of papers they would submit to the event. In the former role, they would read and provide feedback on the draft submitted; as authors they would rewrite and edit their draft in accordance with editorial feedback. In order to simulate the review process as close as possible to what is known as “blind review process,” students submitted their drafts anonymously, and were asked not to discuss the papers as “reviewers.” This may have proven to be one of the most challenging aspects of this experience.

The seminar culminated in a public event: a symposium on “Moral Authority” where each student presented his/her findings and answered questions from the audience.

ELVIRA RONCALLI, PH.D.