Albertson described a writing assignment that offered enhancements to my own assignments in Composition II. Albertson assigns a non-fiction book to the whole class and leads them through several steps to write a critical review (including literature review) of the work. The assignment starts with a 100-word overview of the book's contents. Instead of traditional peer review, the students post their overviews to the discussion board and discuss which ones best summarized the book and why. In the next step, students conduct a literature review on reviews of the book. Albertson does not tell them to use scholarly sources only, and students discover through discussion and trial/error that some sources are better than others. In the next step, students learn how to organize the literature review. Instead of organizing as "for and against," Albertson has students discover similarities and differences among the reviews: some reviews talk about style, others about concepts, and so on. These become categories, and as a class they color code reviewers' comments. The final step is writing the analysis in which the student recommends or criticizes the book (or some combination).
This assignment is somewhat similar to what I teach in Composition 2, except I haven't used a single book or focused on book reviews. However, I believe that this approach could be quite helpful, and I am considering using this assignment in the beginning of Composition 2.
Albertson, K. (2015). Persistence, responsibility, and flexibility in first-year-writing. Teaching English in the Two-Year College, 43(1), 71-79.