Then I read this quote from Bud's blog...
One of the most frustrating parts of teaching and assigning writing is that I can't read, digest, and respond to everything that I ask my students to do in as timely a manner as I would like. By the time I get to some papers, students have moved on to other thoughts, ideas, and assignments, and the opportunity that might have existed to push a particular student's thinking in a new direction has moved on.
That sums up one of the reasons I want to do this. Not only can I respond much more quickly when I can do it online, but the Moodle and the blog make it possible for others besides me to give them feedback. To that end, we posted our essays into Moodle and students have begun commenting on each other's work.
I am pleased with their comments. Most students responded to the content of the piece. A few even commented on the writing itself. Thus far, the comments seem more focused and useful than the student-led peer conferencing we have done. Those tend to leave the writing far behind as their conversation wanders off to football, video games, and who likes who.