In Jerusha Achterberg's first and second Expos workshops of the semester, she chooses two paper drafts from the section and all the other students read and comment on those two papers. The authors also serve as the moderators for each other's discussion. First, Jerusha chooses two drafts. She tries to choose papers that show representative strengths and weaknesses and that take different positions. This is because she does not want the students to think that one response is the "correct" response, because there isn't one. She also chooses one "moderator." She also tries to choose people that will be good discussion leaders because each author is tasked with being the discussion leader for the other author. She emails these students individually to explain what is expected of them and make sure they are willing to take on this role.
Before class, everybody reads the two drafts and writes a "reader's letter" to the author giving feedback. Then, during class, the author listens to feedback for 10 minutes and then, for the second 10 minutes, they can ask questions and discuss the feedback with the class.
The idea behind this activity is to have students practice critically analyzing writing so that they can apply this type of thinking to their own writing. Jerusha notes that all Expos teachers do workshops, but they do them differently.
For more detailed guidelines, including promps for the "reader's letter," see the handout.