Peer review

Peer review of teaching is an opportunity to gather feedback from a colleague in a supportive peer environment. With good structures, clear boundaries, guidance and support, the process will encourage the development of professional practice. Peer review can be done face-to-face, and in blended and online environments through mechanisms such as observation, review of learning resources, assessment design, site administration and management.

Points to consider:

  • Peer review can be used in a formative way to give and receive feedback on any aspect of online and blended teaching and learning practice. It's often confidential and encourages collegiality.
  • For the results of peer review to really mean something, they need to be conducted in an atmosphere of trust and respect. The relationship is critical to give and receive feedback. There needs to be a good understanding between the reviewer and the reviewee. 
  • Reviews that target specific areas of teaching are of most use in a feedback situation.
  • As a reviewer, when giving feedback, balance positive and negative comments and consider the power of your words. People commonly focus more on the negative feedback and can overlook the other details, so a planned approach to feedback that is structured and targeted will help guide the discussions.
  • As a reviewer, listen carefully and take a step back to consider the advice being given. Remember, this isn't personal. It's about how to make your teaching better, from a colleague who is there to support and encourage you. A good mentor is a respected colleague who walks alongside, helping you to achieve your goals.
  • Feedback can be used in a summative way for proof of professional learning and as evidence for important career processes such as recruitment and promotion.

How to use: Read through and adapt the resources below to suit your peer review focus. The feedback questions provided can be adapted to suit the focus you want.

Peer review project resource kit (2014)

In 2014, a peer review project was led by the Centre for Teaching and Learning and funded through an Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) extension grant involving seven academics from the School of Business and Tourism with The University of Queensland. All participants reported they enjoyed the process and gained significant benefits from both being a reviewer and a reviewee. As a result, a larger project also sponsored by the Centre for Teaching and Learning involved 18 academics from the Schools of Education, Law and Justice, Business and Tourism, and Health and Human Sciences.

  • Peer review of teaching resource kit was developed for the project providing a simple introduction to peer review of teaching in online and blended learning environments. Resources are for both the reviewer and the reviewee, and include many questions for you to consider to guide this process.
  • The peer-review resource is not just forms and checkboxes and is based on a 'learning conversation' framework. Working through the framework, each person controls their own review by deciding: Why be reviewed? Who will review? What will be reviewed? How will the review happen? How will the review outcomes be reported?

Peer review of teaching module

A module of the Foundations of University Teaching Practice (FUTP) program, Peer Review of Teaching: A Collaborative Approach, offers a range of resources developed through evidence-based research to guide online teaching.

  • Working through the stages of peer review, you and a colleague have the opportunity to discuss the benefits of peer review, to think critically about how you teach online, and to engage as reflective practitioners.

External peer review of assessment resource (2019)

The External peer review of assessment resource, co-developed by SCU, offers support for peer review where colleagues provide and receive feedback on one another’s unit outlines, assessment tasks, and marking criteria.

This resource addresses topics you need to consider and provides guidance sheets of review questions aimed to improve the alignment of learning outcomes, teaching and learning activities, and assessment tasks.

To focus and assist your review, consider using and adapting the questions located within the guidance sheets listed below:

  • Guidance sheet, Question 1. Are the specified unit learning outcomes aligned with the relevant course learning outcomes?

  • Guidance sheet, Question 2. Are the unit learning outcomes appropriate for the level of the unit at this AQF qualification level?

  • Guidance sheet, Question 3. Does the assessment enable students to demonstrate attainment of the unit learning outcomes and relevant course learning outcomes?

  • Guidance sheet, Question 4. Is the description of the performance standards (marking guide/marking criteria/assessment rubric/annotated work samples) appropriate for specified unit learning outcomes and course learning outcomes?

  • Guidance sheet, Question 5. Is the method of assessment capable of confirming that all relevant course learning outcomes and unit learning outcomes are achieved?

  • Guidance sheet, Question 6. Do the grades awarded reflect the level of student attainment?

Project reports on peer review - From University partnerships