Documentation:CTLT programs/PROT/Peer Review of Online Teaching
In this section of our website, you will find information about the CTLT (formative) Peer Review of Online Teaching Program.
Peer review of teaching is a process and/or form of evaluation designed to provide feedback to instructors about their teaching. It has been variously defined and is sometimes called "peer observation of teaching" (we use the terms interchangeably on this website).
Peers may provide feedback on the following elements of teaching:
- online teaching or classroom observation (for those who teach in a blended learning environment or flipped classroom)
- teaching materials (i.e. syllabi, assignments)
- feedback on student work
- instructor’s teaching philosophy
- self-assessment documentation such as a teaching dossier; and
- comments from graduate students' supervisees
Currently, the formative CTLT program focusses on review of face-to-face classroom teaching. We are beginning to offer peer review of teaching for online delivery including teaching in a blended learning environment and flipped classroom.
Ideally, the peer review of teaching is a reflective and collaborative process in which the instructor under review works closely with a colleague or group of colleagues to discuss teaching. Though the process outlined in this section is uni-directional (i.e., a reviewer giving feedback to an instructor), we highly encourage you to consider a reciprocal peer review process where instructors observe each other's teaching, reflect on what they learned through the observation, and share feedback as relevant.
Watch our video series aimed to help reviewers and reviewees who are participating in the formative peer review of teaching (the series is focussed on teaching done in a physical classroom). The first video is below.
To watch the rest of the videos in our Peer Review of Teaching series, visit our YouTube channel.
For information about the UBC Summative Peer Review of Teaching Initiative, click here.
For information about the Graduate Formative Peer Review of Teaching (for graduate students), click here.
For information about the Instructional Skills Workshops (for faculty), click here.
Formative Program & Purpose
What is it?
The Formative Peer Review Program coordinated by the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology offers you the chance to participate in a cross-Faculty formative peer review of teaching process. The formative program described below is open to anyone at UBC.
Though the process outlined on this site is uni-directional (i.e., a reviewer giving feedback to an instructor), we highly encourage you to consider a reciprocal peer review process where instructors observe each other's teaching, reflect on what they learned through the observation, and share feedback.
How does it work?
As a reviewee, you will select and meet with up to two volunteer peer reviewers (reviewers are listed on our website). The reviewers are experienced in the peer review of teaching at UBC and have completed at least one workshop offered by CTLT on becoming a peer reviewer.
The peer review process is typically organized around your goals and a structured classroom observation. In such a case, a peer reviewer will meet with you before the observation, observe you teach a class and then provide you with formative feedback based on your goals and what they observed during the class.
What aspect of my online teaching is being reviewed/observed?
Online teaching is complex and multi-faceted. A review of online teaching can include online course design considerations, universal design principles and accessibility purposes, to the articulation of learning outcomes, or the design of a particular learning sequence online. In a formative review, you, the person requesting the review, gets to decide what aspect of your teaching you most want feedback on based on your goals for growth as a teacher.
How will I benefit?
The Formative Peer Review Program aims to encourage dialogue about teaching amongst instructors (faculty members, graduate students, instructors and others who teach) of all ranks at UBC. By talking with your reviewers, you will likely gain new insights into your teaching and information about different teaching strategies or ideas. Reviewers also learn a lot about teaching by participating in the process. If you request, you will receive written feedback that you may choose to use as evidence in your teaching portfolio, and in future course and lesson planning. You may choose to use the written feedback in your case for tenure and promotion.
What support is available to me?
At least once a year, we offer a workshop on the peer review of teaching through the UBC Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. Note that this workshop focuses on in-class teaching. To request a peer review of online course, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
How it works
The peer review process is organized around an online course observation. A peer reviewer will get “observer” access to the course, navigate the course and review a particular element of the online course, or learning sequence and provide the reviewee with formative feedback. Generally, the reviewer uses a checklist or rubrics that has been validated by the reviewee to generate a more complete observation of the online course.
Anyone interested in participating in the peer review of online teaching may contact an individual reviewer listed on our website. Details of the peer review process will be worked out between the reviewer and the reviewee and will revolve around the reviewee's goals.
Your goals for growth as a teacher are at the centre of this process and they will influence who you approach for--and how you structure--your review . That's why we encourage you to reflect carefully on your goals. If you are not sure what your goals are, you may wish to go to the "Resources" section and look at some sample protocols as these can provide ideas. For example, would you like to focus on how you use questions in your teaching? or how you pay attention to student diversity? or how you use the physical space for active learning? or something else? There are so many potential areas you could focus on. Select a small number (one is just fine!) and see how it plays out in various aspects of your teaching.
The following describes what happens before, during and after the classroom observation:
Part 1: Before the course review (once the reviewer has been determined)
- The reviewee reflects further on their goals for peer review.
- The reviewee decides which element of the online course will be reviewed and prepares a list of online modules (if course hosted on Canvas) or online materials (if course hosted outside of Canvas) the reviewer can choose from when scheduling an online review.
- Before the online course review, the reviewee should plan and prepare for the online course as they normally would for a classroom observation. In addition, the reviewee must also prepare to brief the peer reviewer about their goals for the review, as well as any details relevant to the course and the class that will be observed. This pre-observation meeting document may help the reviewee prepare in advance of the first meeting with the peer reviewer(s).
- Approximately one week before the online course review, the peer reviewers and reviewee meet for approximately one hour to set goals for the peer review process and to discuss the course, the reviewee’s development goals, and his/her plans for the online module or learning material to be reviewed.
Watch videos on:
Note: the focus of the videos is on face-to-face classroom teaching.
Part 2: Online Course Review
- The reviewee releases the online module while the peer reviewer reviews the online material. The peer reviewers’ observation is guided by a set of questions (see post-observation discussion questions below) and any goals set before the course review meeting.
Watch the video on The classroom observation
Part 3: After the Online Course Review
- The peer reviewer(s) will prepare a written report based on the reviewee’s goals and the online course review.
- No more than a week (approximately) after the online course review, the reviewee and peer reviewer will meet to discuss the online review and the report. See here for post-observation discussion questions.
- Following the meeting the peer reviewer may revise their report and send it to the reviewee. The reviewee may then choose to use the report to guide future curriculum or professional development or, in some cases, as evidence in a teaching portfolio, tenure and promotion request.
Watch the video on The post observation.
The Peer Review of Online Teaching is a new addition to our existing program. As such, we are currently building our team of reviewers. If you have experience with online teaching and would like to be part of our team of reviewers, please contact email@example.com.
For a full description of the formative peer review process, please read the Peer Review Process section of our website.
When you email a reviewer for a request, please indicate:
- Indicate the course format (e.g. Fully Online Course, Blended Learning Environment, Flipped Classroom)
- What you would like to have reviewed (e.g. modules, assignments, syllabi or other material, teaching philosophy statement, other)
- A brief statement of your goal for peer review
- A time range within which you are hoping to be peer reviewed
- Your contact information
List of peer reviewers
- Judy Chan (Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology and Faculty of Land and Food Systems)
- Manuel Dias (Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology)
- Isabeau Iqbal (Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology and Faculty of Education)
- Lucas Wright (Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology)
Additional Information on Reviewers
- Judy Chan, PhD. Sessional Lecturer and Faculty Liaison, Land and Food Systems (LFS); Education Consultant, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology
I teach a large, introductory food science course, FNH 200, each year and I have taught on-line version of the same course in the past. I adapt a wide range of learning activities in my classes whenever they support my students' learning needs. Some of my favourite and most effective techniques included peer-based learning, immediate classroom respond systems such as iClicker, Polleverywhere.com, and mentimeter.com, wikipedia-based assignment, two-staged exam, etc. I consider it a privilege to have opportunities to visit classroom across campus and I learn so much from each classroom observation.
- Manuel Dias, MA, Educational Consultant in Learning Design, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology and Faculty of Science/Skylight.
I have been facilitating professional development activities with a particular focus on the integration and implementation of learning technology in Science. I have a keen interest in instructional design and regularly consults with faculty to implement innovative practices or fully online or blended learning courses. I am cross appointed between the Science Centre for Learning and Teaching (Skylight) and the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT).
- Isabeau Iqbal, PhD. Senior Educational Consultant, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology
I have conducted peer reviews for numerous faculty members at various career stages and consider it a privilege to be invited into someone's classroom. My teaching and learning experience is primarily through my role as an educational developer at the Centre. I am also a contract faculty member at the Justice Institute of British Columbia and an Instructional Skills Workshop facilitator; I have been a sessional instructor in the Faculty of Education at UBC. I would be happy to peer review in any discipline or Faculty, in classes of any size. When contacting me, please provide information on your teaching context (course name, class size, Faculty etc) and your predominant teaching methods. Please see isabeauiqbal.ca for more information.
- Lucas Wright, Senior Educational Consultant in Learning Technologies, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology]
I support faculty and staff in integrating technology in their teaching and learning practice. I am an adult learning instructor with more than 15 years of experience teaching adults online, face-to-face and in blended contexts. I have a keen interest in blended learning, open education and the role of learning portfolios in teaching and learning. I support professional development programs at CTLT including the Instructional Skills workshop, Teaching in a Blended Learning Environment, the Learning Technology Hub and the Qualtrics Studio sessions.
The Peer Review of Online Teaching is a new addition to our program.
Frequently asked questions about the Peer Review of Teaching Program
Peer review of online teaching
Peer review of online teaching is informed assessment, by colleagues or peers, of online teaching-related activities for the purposes of fostering development and/or making personnel decisions. There are two main types of peer review: formative and summative. Both formative and summative are integral to a comprehensive evaluation of teaching.
Summative peer review
Summative peer review of teaching is informed collegial judgment about teaching intended for evaluative purposes. Summative peer review is used to aid in making personnel decision, such as hiring, promotion, and tenure. The primary goal is to assess instructor performance relative to criteria. The information is for public inspection (I.e., by the department head or dean, and by tenure and reappointment committees) and may be more comparative in nature than formative peer review (Cassidy & Lee, 2011; Chism, 2007; Cavanagh, 1996).
Formative peer review
The primary goal of formative peer review of teaching is to develop and enhance teaching practice. Formative peer review provides instructors with information they can use to grow professionally in their teaching. The information is confidential, constructive, and intended for an instructor's personal use. The process is usually rich in detail, ongoing, and fosters self-reflection and insights into teaching (Byrne, Brown & Challen, 2010; Chism, 2007; Gosling, 2014).
Byrne, J., Brown, H., & Challen, D. (2010). Peer development as an alternative to peer observation: A tool to enhance professional development. International Journal for Academic Development, 15(3), 215-228.
Cassidy, A. & Lee, J. (2011). Peer Review: Structured, informal, confidential, helpful. Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching, 4. 68-73.
Cavanaugh, R. (1996). Formative and summative evaluation in the faculty peer review of teaching. Innovative Higher Education, 20(4), 235-240.
Chism, N.V. (2007). Peer review of teaching: A sourcebook (2nd ed.). Bolton, MA: Anker Publications.
Gosling, D. (2014). Collaborative peer-supported review of teaching. In J. Sachs & M. Parsell (Eds.), Peer Review of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. New York, NY: Springer. Professional Learning and Development in Schools and Higher Education, 9, 13-31.
Note: The following questions are aimed at instructors teaching in the classroom. Questions specific to online teaching or a blended learning environment will be available soon.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FORMATIVE PEER REVIEW PROGRAM
- What is the purpose of peer review of teaching?
- What is the difference between a formative and summative peer review?
- What is the benefit of having more than one person review my teaching?
- What is the benefit of selecting a reviewer from outside the faculty?
- What is the advantage of participating in this program, if there is already a departmental peer review of teaching process?
- Is this peer review summative or formative?
- Do academic rank or job classification matter in the process?
- How is confidentiality handled in the formative peer review of teaching program?
- I teach a PBL class. May I participate in the program?
- What will be done with the information about my teaching generated during the peer review?
- What control do reviewees have over and during the process?
- Who will review my teaching?
- What training do the peer reviewers receive?
- When should peer reviews take place?
- How will reviewees receive feedback?
- What is formative feedback?
- What is implicit bias and what does it have to do with peer review of teaching?
- How much time will the process take?
- What form will the reviewers' reports take?
What is the purpose of the peer review of teaching?
Within the context of higher education, the peer review of teaching has two broad purposes: 1. to assist instructors enhance their teaching, and 2. to assess an instructor’s teaching as part of a formal reward system linked to the individual’s career advancement (i.e. tenure, promotion and other personnel decisions).
What is the difference between a formative and a summative peer review?
In the formative peer review of teaching process, colleagues generate information for you about your classroom teaching that you can use to improve your teaching and your students′ learning. You control the process and how the resulting information is used. For example, in the formative process, you would select the person who conducts the observation and would then decide whether the written comments—if there are any—would be kept confidential or added to your personnel file. In a summative peer review, colleagues observe you teach and report back to the department head or dean for the purpose of reappointment, promotion or tenure.
What is the benefit of having more than one person review my teaching?
Two reviewers will give you two different perspectives on your teaching. Because teaching is such a complex activity, the reviewers may focus on different aspects of your teaching and the students′ learning. Having two reviewers may give you more reliable information about your teaching.
What is the benefit of selecting a reviewer from outside the faculty?
Because they are unfamiliar with the discipline and learning environment, external reviewers are like new students encountering your class for the first time. They will be able to give you an outsider’s perspective on your class. External reviewers can provide feedback on aspects of teaching like how you structure learning activities, facilitate discussions, and communicate with students. They also will be able to share teaching ideas and strategies used in their discipline.
What is the advantage of participating in this program, if there is already a departmental peer review of teaching process?
Too often, institutional boundaries prevent colleagues interested in teaching from having sincere conversations about common educational issues and challenges. The program seeks to foster cross-faculty discussions about teaching and learning.
Is this peer review summative or formative?
This program is intended to be formative. However, if you think your department would value knowing about your progress over time, then you may consider including the reviewers′ reports in your teaching portfolio, tenure and promotion request, or in your annual review.
Do academic rank or job classification matter in the process?
All educators are invited to participate and learn from one another. In this program, reviewers may be at the same or different rank from the reviewee.
How is confidentiality handled in the formative peer review of teaching program?
The only people involved in the discussions will be the reviewee and the reviewers. The process is confidential, unless the reviewee decides to include reflections or documentation about the process in their teaching portfolio or personnel file.
I teach a PBL class. May I participate in the program?
Yes, because the peer review process is designed for various forms of teaching and learning.
What will be done with the information about my teaching generated during the peer review?
Reviewees receive written reports from their reviewer(s). Reviewees decide how they will use the information contained in the reports and with whom they will share the information. The aim of the program is to generate useful feedback that a reviewee may be able to use to develop and/or revise aspects of his/her teaching, to incorporate into a teaching portfolio or to bolster an argument for tenure and promotion.
What control do reviewees have over and during the process?
Each reviewee selects the peer reviewer with whom they will work, decides which class the reviewer will attend, sets the objectives and focus for the classroom observation, and decides what to do with the feedback they receive from the reviewers.
Who will review my teaching?
The list of reviewers is available on a section of this website. You will choose a reviewer among the people listed.
What training do the peer reviewers receive?
All peer reviewers complete an intensive training course run by CTLT which teaches them how to conduct peer reviews and to observe classroom teaching. Many of the reviewers have also completed the UBC Faculty Certificate Program on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, the Instructional Skills Workshop, or a graduate degree in Higher or Adult Education.
When should peer reviews take place?
The peer review can happen any time deemed suitable for you and your reviewer. Each reviewee may decide when to schedule the classroom observations. Scheduling them earlier or towards the middle of the term will give you timely and relevant feedback that may be useful in the later stages of your course. Also keep in mind that reviewers will be busy towards the end of semester with their own teaching.
How will reviewees receive feedback?
Reviewees will receive verbal and written feedback. Reviewees will meet with their reviewers after the classroom observation and engage in a friendly, collegial dialogue about the class that the reviewer observed. The reviewers will also summarize their feedback and suggestions in a written report.
What is formative feedback?
Formative feedback is information that is intended to support an educator′s growth towards becoming a better teacher. The feedback aims to be non-evaluative and is not intended to be a snapshot or final judgement of an educator′s fitness or competence. Rather the goal is to provide information that can help you reflect on your teaching and plan changes for the future. Formative peer review aims to help you better understand how you approach the task of university teaching, and who you are as a teacher.
What is implicit bias and what does it have to do with peer review of teaching?
Implicit biases refer to our unconscious associations linked to race, sex, age, and other identity markers that influence our evaluative thoughts and attitudes toward others (e.g., instructor’s favorable attitude toward certain students, reviewer’s negative assessment of an instructor’s teaching effectiveness based on a stereotype of the instructor’s social group). Because implicit biases are unconscious and automatic, it takes time to unlearn or control them. However, becoming aware of your own implicit biases can help you better regulate them.
It is important for both you and your reviewer to be cognizant of the implicit biases (http://kirwaninstitute.osu.edu/research/understanding-implicit-bias/) that both parties inevitably bring into the classroom. You (and your reviewer if possible) can take the Implicit Association Test (https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html) and discuss what you learned from the results.
How much time will the process take?
The process normally takes a minimum of five hours to complete.
What form will the reviewers′ reports take?
The report consists of the following materials:
- Notes from the pre-observation meeting. This may include notes taken by the reviewer during the meeting, a summary that the reviewer writes after the meeting, emailed or written answers that the reviewee wrote (if they wish to submit them to the report), or similar kind of notes.
- Notes that the reviewer takes during the classroom observation, or a summary they write immediately after. It may take the form of prose, a chart or other similar kinds of notes.
- Notes taken during the post-observation meeting. This may include notes or a summary that the reviewer may take during the conversation and notes that summarize the conversation between the reviewer and the reviewee.
These notes/summaries make up the report, which is shared with the reviewee during the post-observation meeting and left with them at the end of the meeting.
Developing Your Skills as a Peer Reviewer of Online Teaching: Introductory Workshop
At this time, we do not offer workshops on the peer review of online teaching. We do, however, offer a workshop focused on peer review of classroom teaching.
For more information, please email Isabeau Iqbal. Documentation:CTLT Resources/Peer Review of Online Teaching Resources