Frequently Asked Questions for Listeners

Posted September 1, 2011 from United States

Hello Listeners,

We have compiled this list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for you to review. After running two cycles of the Voices of Our Future program we are ready to answer many questions that we will face as Listeners over the next month. Just like the Applicants, we are on our own learning journey in new media. If you have new questions, please post them as comments here and we will get back to you as soon as possible!

Someone has already commented and reviewed the assignment. Should I still leave a comment?Yes, you should! We have made sure that each assignment receives three reviews to better help us assess each Applicant's assignment. The more comments, the better!

Do we offer praise and constructive criticism in the comment, or elsewhere?Please provide your feedback in the comment under each assignment. Here are some suggestions, or prompts, to get you started in forming your comments...remember though, there is no one right way, only learning along the way!

  • "I really loved the way you..."
  • "I was inspired by..."
  • "I was moved when..."
  • "One thing that I would have liked to have seen was..."
  • "The assignment asked you to speak to _____, and I felt..."
  • "I would love to know more about _____..."
  • "One thing that I really liked about your assignment was..."

In general, keep a supportive, encouraging tone. Most importantly, use your authentic voice. If you feel uncomfortable leaving a critique, it is fine to leave only positive comments. However, feeling uncomfortable can be a good part of the learning journey. Relax, share your voice, and communicate directly. The Applicants will appreciate it.

We do ask that you not tell the Applicants you are evaluating what their score is. As the assignment scores are only part of our review process, this might cause confusion.

I am noticing a lot of punctuation and grammar mistakes in my assignments. Is this important?We joyfully say "no!" At this stage of the journey, we ask Listeners to focus on drawing out the VOICE of individual Applicants, and not worry too much about punctuation and grammar.

This does not imply that you should rate every assignment a "5" just to be nice. We encourage you to gently point out when an Applicant strayed from the rules or instructions, to ask clarifying questions, and let the Applicant know how you felt after reading their assignment.

Since applicants come from such a wide variety of backgrounds, levels of education and English-language abilities, it is most important to reflect back to the Applicant how a post engaged you. It has taken courage to post their words in such a public forum, and we want to build on that courage in the next four weeks.

The assignment is in a language that I can't read. What do I do?We have asked the Applicants to submit their assignments in English. We have suggested that they use the Google translation tool if they need assistance with this. If you come across a submission that is not in English, please notify [email protected] and we will see what we can do to support their application.

How do I know which Applicants I am going to Listen to?Over the next four weeks you will receive a link via email to our Weekly Assignment document where you will find links to the assignments you will read and review. When you are ready, simply open this spreadsheet and follow the instructions. Each Listener will be reviewing a different set of Applicants each week. A link to this document is also in your welcome manual. Email [email protected] if you have any questions or issues accessing this document.

How do I count the number of words in an assignment?Highlight and copy the text of the assignment. Paste into the box on for an instant number!

What is a good method for reading through and reviewing the weekly set of assignments?There is in general no one right way to complete your weekly set of reviews. However, some previous Listeners have told us that they like to use these methods:

  • First, read through all of the assignments once before evaluating. Then, re-visit each one with the Review Form.
  • If you read better on paper, you can copy and paste each assignment into a Word document to read.
  • If you want, you can copy and paste your row of assignments into a separate spreadsheet for later reference. This is instead of coming back to the table we have created for you.
  • We highly recommend that you copy and paste the full text of each assignment into the WordCountTool in order to get the word-count.
  • Ask other Listeners in this group for their tips and tricks!

How many Applicants will I be Listening to each week?We anticipate that each Listener will be reviewing between 7-10 assignments per week, depending on the number of applications we receive. If you anticipate being unable to meet your deadline for any reason, contact Scott as soon as possible.

How do I review the assignment?To review the assignment, simply follow the link to our Evaluation Form, powered by GoogleDocs. In the spirit of Web 2.0, we are harnessing this technology to compile all of our Listeners' hard work. You will simply answer the questions on that form and hit "Submit" for each assignment you are reviewing. We will receive the information immediately.

Can I finish an Evaluation that I started earlier?If you walk away from an evaluation form in progress, we recommend that you leave the browser window open. Unfortunately, if you close the window or navigate away before hitting "Submit" we will not receive your information and the assignment will not be evaluated.

Who do I contact if I have questions about the form, if I made a mistake, or if I am unsure of something?If you accidentally submit information on the form that is wrong, incomplete or needs to be changed, or if you encounter technical issues, contact Scott at [email protected]

For all other questions, please feel free to review the Voices of Our Future Listeners Group journal for more information. Post your question, or contact Scott at [email protected] or Emily at [email protected]

When are my evaluations due?Your evaluations for the week (read the entry, submit evaluation form, post your comment) are expected to be finished by the dates noted on the landing page of this group. This gives you about one full week to complete them, on your own schedule.

What if I can't get to all of the Applicants that I've been assigned to review?If you for some reason are unable to complete your assignment evaluations, please contact [email protected] as soon as possible.

Why is World Pulse so great?We are powered by women from 185 countries, including amazing volunteers like you! Thank you!

Comments 4

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Natasha Leite
Sep 08, 2011
Sep 08, 2011

Hi, everyone! My name is Natasha and I was an applicant last year, coming back this year as a listener. I just realize I lost the last call and I had some questions: - How many posts are we going to be reviewing a week? - How do we balance form vs. content? And in this one I can elaborate a little more... Last year, there were a lot of posts written in form of poems. Some of them were really beautiful and moving... Others, really hard to understand. Voices should be nurtured and one does not want to limit the applicants freedom of expression, but it is important to have a clear message or people won´t understand you. How do we appropriately comment on those situations? Or should we talk to the midwives? Is that their role? - This is a question a little off Q&A listener. I know that people can use Google translator, but a lot is lost in this process. So, are there any plans to open the VOF to other languages? -Tip: you can count the words of an assignment if you paste it to a blank Word doc as well.

Thank you everyone and I´m sorry for annoying you all from early on.

All the best,


Sep 08, 2011
Sep 08, 2011

Hi Natahsa,

Great to have you back here for this side of the program. And, don't apologize for having questions-- it's not annoying at all, it's helpful!

  1. Depending on the number of assignments that we receive each week, Listeners will be reviewing around 10 assignments each week.

  2. Balancing form and content is one of the tight-ropes that we walk as Listeners. All the points that you make are absolutely spot on... we want to nurture, but it's important to have a clear message. At this stage the Midwives are not involved-- that's during the program phase. However, for the application, you can provide some constructive comments like I mention above-- "What I liked about your post..." and "The assignment asked you..." or, "I feel that you could have...". Does that help?

I would invite other past Listeners to comment on this question as well! What worked for you in the past?

  1. Yes, Google translate can leave something to be desired. At this point that is the tool we have to work with, but we do hope to develop our curriculum in other languages eventually!

Thanks for sharing the tip, Natasha. Other tips or advice out there? Please share!

Feel free to send any more questions our way, we're here to help. Regards, Scott

Sep 16, 2011
Sep 16, 2011


Quick question: one of the submissions I am reading this week is 514 words. Is there a particular way I should respond to this?

Thanks for your input!

Sep 17, 2011
Sep 17, 2011

Hi Dextra,

We have a question on the review form asking if the Applicant followed all of the instructions, so that's one place where you can address it.

I would also recommend that you use your comment on the assignment as a place to give feedback about that, encouraging her to double-check her word count on the next three assignments with

Thanks for asking! I hope this helps. Best, Scott