“Auto-Peer” helps students avoid writing mistakes

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A screenshot of Auto-Peer in action (COURTESY PHOTO)

By Jana Samy

UNIVERSITY CITY– The main purpose of the American University of Sharjah-based project “Auto-Peer” is to computationally turn writing-related problems into solutions, said an AUS professor Oct. 26.  

The co-developer of “Auto-Peer,” Professor Philip McCarthy, said that the program was developed alongside his former students Ayah Al-Harthy and Anuja Thomas. McCarthy said that the program helps students avoid “making the same mistakes” in their writing. He added that it accurately provides suggestions and therefore, saves time when grading.

Although the project remains a work in progress, McCarthy said that “Auto-Peer” took about three months to initially set up. He added that a “project is never done, it just runs out of money.” 

According to McCarthy, the biggest and most time-consuming challenge he faced when developing “Auto-Peer” was making it available to Mac computers. He added that Al-Harthy made sure the software was available during the COVID-19 pandemic since students needed it most during that time. 

More than a year ago, McCarthy alongside his colleagues attended an online workshop where they discussed “Auto-Peer” with around 70 graduate students, in which he said they received positive feedback.