© 1998-9 Rainer Glaser. All rights reserved.
The University of Missouri at Columbia
Chemistry 412, Computational Organic Chemistry, FS99

Collaborative Learning
and Peer Review
in Chemical Learning Communities


Project #2: Project Proposal


Peer Review Instructions

The evaluations of the Projects #2 will be carried out by your peers in this course. The peer evaluation will assess the project proposals posted on the Chemistry 412 Course Web Site as well as their presentations & defense. The peer review will be carried out by indivviduals (if they are not part of a group) or by groups. Each unit is required to evaluate the projects of all other groups. Complete evaluations need to be submitted to the instructor by email (not to the discussion list). Separate emails should be used for each evaluation made by each unit. The subject line should read "Peer evaluation of group X by group Y".

Your group can assign up to 100 points to each project proposal. The evaluations from all review groups will be averaged. Do take these evaluations seriously, you are affecting the grade of your fellow students. Try to be fair and objective. In contrast to project #1, the peer evaluations of the project proposals will involve an anonymous review! You send the peer evaluations to the instructor and the instructor will keep the identity of the evaluating group concealed (guaranteed and no exceptions ever). Nevertheless, you must be comfortable with your judgment. Your evaluations have to be made in writing and they will be made available on the web after all identifiers of the evaluators will have been removed (e.g. email headers & footers). This is as close to the "real thing" and it can be quite uncomfortable.

Your evaluation report should contain the following items. Please stick exactly to the format. Use the same item numbers.

(A) Unit Number and Unit Name of Evaluating Unit

(B) Unit Number and Unit Name of Evaluated Unit

(C) Responses to Various Evaluation Categories
In the next few items, you will be asked to assess various aspects of the project proposals generated by the individiual or the group you are evaluating. You will also be asked to evaluate the presentation and defense part of the project. For each item, your peer-evaluation report should contain one line that contains the number of the item followed by the headline of the item in which you replaced the X by a number in the range indicated. Below each such line, you should very briefly justify your assignment. More detailed justifications should be given if the assigned score is either very high or very low.

(1) Context Definition and Selection: X Points (0-15)
Has the general problem been defined clearly and in a complete fashion? Is the topic interesting, important, significant, and timely? Or is it boring, narrow-minded, artificial, and far-fetched?

(2) Problem Definition and Selection: X Points (0-15)
Does the solution of the specific goal constitute a step towards a general solution the larger challenge described in the introduction. Or is this just a sideshow? Has the problem been isolated clearly. Has a clear statement been made as to whether theory and computations are used advantageously.

(3) Choice of Methodology: X Points (0-15)
It the methodology appropriate for the problem. This is a key issue. Can credible results be obtained in the way proposed. Are error bars addressed? Is the proposer fully aware of the limitations of the methods (s)he wants to employ?

(4) Scope of Project: X Points (0-15)
There are two issues to consider. First there is the scope of the arsenal of methods used. Is the proposal merely a bread & butter structure & energy study or is a higher purpose apparent? Are properties computed? Would it be good to compute properties? Which ones? Secondly, there is the issue as to the "chemical scope". How many systems will be studied? Is this an in-depth analysis of one case or is this a survey? To be bold: Do you want to know everything about nothing or nothing about everything? (To know everything about everything is not an option.) Will the data be sufficient to establish generality of conclusion and/or to firmly establish a trend?

(5) Interpretation: X Points (0-15)
Your study will provide a few numbers (with numerical and systematic errors) that characterize an idealized model system. To take these data for the purpose of making statements about reality is a bold and courageous enterprise: The interpretation. Make sure there is logic in place, separate clearly assumptions from fact, and be cautious to derive conclusion ever so carefully. Pay particular attention as to whether all options have been considered! Fixed idea interpretations are common place and lead nowhere.

(6) Facilities & Feasibility: X Points (0-5)
Consider whether the proposed work can be accomplished on the hardware suggested. Consider both the "computational scope" and the "chemical scope" of the proposed study.

(7) Timeline: X Points (0-5)
Assume that you work (as in actual professional work) 8 hours a day 5 days a week.

(8) Pros & Cons: The Verdict. X Points (0-15)
Assess the promise of this project proposal. How would you rank it? Top 10%, top 20%, top third? Top half? Did the proposal "excite" you? Is the subject "novel." Is the proposer "scholarly" and "creative."


Relevant Dates and Deadlines

Submission of Evaluations. Friday, December 3 (midnight), 1999.


Absolument mon ami, l'excellence est une habitude.