Please find my comments to the professor on this issue he suggested I post on the blog for comment. The important part is the proposed rotation method in the final paragraph.

Todd

Your suggested method of randomly selected private comments would likely leave several persons each week without someone’s comments.

There are currently listed 14 students in the class. There is a 12/13 chance that any particular student will not be chosen when one person randomly selects a student. With this chance happening 13 times (as the person would not review herself), there is a 106993205379072/

302875106592253 or about a 35% chance any one student will not have their summary commented on. Thus it is statistically likely an average nearing 4.9 students per week will not have comments on their summaries.

A simple way of ensuring that each person receives comments would be to have each person comment on the person whose the name is the number of weeks into the course below their own name and if one reached beyond the bottom of the list, continue counting down at the beginning. Thus each week a person has an assigned commenter, and each person will comment on another person each week. One would, of course, skip themselves on week 14. The algorithm is also simple, approachable, and everyone would know who to expect a comment from.

[This was written before I learned that some on the list may not be posting summaries. The simple tweak for that would be to exclude them from the master list of order.]

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And, here’s what I wrote to Todd in my reply to his algorithm approach:

I have a much more mild attitude on the commenting of other summaries. They serve a few roles: a. to get people to finish their summaries in time to give them a day or so to let things settle before rethinking them, b. to give writers a chance to get peer feedback before getting mine; c. to see how some of the students are doing things.

So, my suggested method maximizes a and c. I agree that b isn’t maximized and that your algorithm would do better.

André