Documentation:CTLT programs/PRT/Peer Review of Teaching
In this section of our website, you will find information about the CTLT Formative Peer Review of Teaching Program.
Note: Much of the information on this site focuses on peer review of in-person teaching. While many of the skills for peer review of in-person and online teaching are similar, we suggest you visit the "online teaching" tab (see above) for processes and resources specific to online teaching.
Peer review of teaching (PRT) 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".
Peers may provide feedback on the following elements of teaching:
- classroom teaching or online teaching.
- teaching materials (i.e. syllabi, assignments)
- feedback on student work
- instructor’s written statement of teaching philosophy
- self-assessment documentation such as a teaching portfolio
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 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 teaching is being reviewed/observed?
Teaching is a complex and multi-faceted. A review of teaching can potentially include attention to anything from sensitivity and attention to student diversity, to the articulation of learning outcomes, to the clarity of one's presentation slides, to the design of one's syllabus (and/or many other elements). 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. Customized workshops and consultations are available for individual departments, schools, and Faculties upon request.
How it works
The peer review process is generally organized around a structured classroom observation. A peer reviewer will observe a participating educator (reviewee) teach a class and provide the reviewee with formative feedback based on what she or he observed during the class.
Anyone interested in participating in the peer review of 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 classroom observation (once the reviewer has been determined)
- The reviewee reflects further on their goals for peer review.
- The reviewee decides which course will be observed and prepares a list of classes the reviewer can choose from when scheduling an observation.
- Before the classroom observation, the reviewee should plan and prepare for the class as they normally would. 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 classroom observation, 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 class to be observed.
Watch videos on:
Part 2: Classroom Observation
- The reviewee teaches their class while the peer reviewer observes the session. The peer reviewers’ observation is guided by a set of questions (see post-observation discussion questions below) and any goals set at the pre-observation meeting.
Watch the video on The classroom observation
Part 3: After the classroom observation
- The peer reviewer(s) will prepare a written report based on the reviewee’s goals and the classroom observation.
- No more than a week (approximately) after the classroom observation, the reviewee and peer reviewer will meet to discuss the classroom observation and the peer reviewer’s reports. 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 reports 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 reviewers listed on this page are available to conduct confidential peer reviews of their teaching. We thank them for their service and contributions!
All peer reviewers below have completed the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology workshop: "Developing Your Skills as a Peer Reviewer: Introductory Workshop". In addition, many of the reviewers have a university degree in education and/or have completed the International Program for the Scholarship of Educational Leadership: UBC Certificate on Curriculum and Pedagogy in Higher Education. Several of the peer reviewers for this program are teaching award winners.
For a full description of the formative peer review process, please read the Peer Review Process section of our website.
How to request a review (suggested process)
- Read over the reviewer bios
- Select 1 or 2 reviewers you feel might be a good match for you
- Email the reviewer(s) with a brief description of your request and a query about their availability.
When you email a reviewer for a request, please indicate:
- Type of peer review you would like (classroom observation, review of online teaching, review of assignments or syllabi or other material, review of 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 and details of when/where you teach (if you are hoping for a classroom observation)
- Your contact information
If you have any questions or want help, please contact Dr. Isabeau Iqbal (firstname.lastname@example.org).
|Meghan Allen, Associate Professor of Teaching. Department of Computer Science and Vantage College|
|I have been teaching at UBC since 2007 and have taught undergraduate courses from first- through fourth-year with class sizes from 14 to 200. These courses have taken a variety of forms, including lectures, labs, tutorials, online components, seminars, and directed-studies. In class time I use a variety of active learning strategies and require the students to complete pre-class work so that they are prepared to participate. I've completed the UBC Faculty Certificate on Curriculum and Pedagogy in Higher Education and would be happy to review classroom teaching including in-class activities, online materials, assessments, or any other teaching and learning activity.
email: meghana AT cs DOT ubc DOT ca
|Silvia Bartolic, Associate Professor of Teaching. Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts|
|I have been teaching face-to-face and online for approximately 23 years at several higher education institutions including UBC, Athabasca University, Royal Roads University, the University of Victoria and the University of Texas at Austin in Sociology, Psychology, Family Studies and Educational Studies/Distance Education. I have taught classes ranging from 30 students up to 400 students. I am interested in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), specifically to determine if ‘new’ teaching strategies improve academic outcomes (e.g. retention of information, skill building). I use blended, problem based, student centered and active learning strategies and skill building assessment in my classes. I would be happy to review both small and large classes, online and face-to-face.
|Luisa Canuto, PhD. Assistant Professor of Teaching, Language Program Director (Italian), PRT Coordinator, Faculty of Arts|
|As a faculty member, I have been teaching since 1996. I have taught mainly language and culture classes, in a lecture or blended format, to classes ranging in size from 10 to 50. I have designed over 10 new courses, and contributed to the development of a blended course. My classes are highly participatory and include a number of different learning activities. I use different educational technologies and assessment techniques. I have reviewed colleagues from different disciplines since 2010 and coordinate the PRT program for the Faculty of Arts and for my department as well.
|Judy Chan, PhD. Sessional Lecturer and Faculty Liaison, Land and Food System; Education Consultant, CTLT|
|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.
|Majid Doroudi, PhD. Associate Professor of Teaching, Dept. of Cellular and Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Medicine|
|I have been teaching the anatomical sciences to medical, dental, undergraduate, and allied health students since 1995. This includes teaching large classes with around 500 students to small group teaching in the lab and problem-based learning settings. I currently teach an undergraduate anatomy course, the anatomy of several blocks in the Faculty of Medicine curriculum, the anatomy, histology and neuroanatomy labs in medicine and dentistry and a graduate course in the faculty of dentistry. My preferred peer review activities include reviewing classroom teaching practices and course syllabi. I have completed the UBC Faculty Certificate Program in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in April 2013. So far, I have won a UBC Killam Teaching Award in 2009, Ten UBC Medical Undergraduate Society Teaching Awards and one Dentistry Undergraduate Clinical Teaching Award.
|Florian Gassner, PhD. Associate Professor of Teaching, Department of Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies, Faculty of Arts|
|My teaching duties in the Department of Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies include all levels of German language instruction as well as courses on the cultures and literatures of Central and Eastern Europe. My current portfolio features lectures on German Cinema, the cultural history of Ukraine, and ‘Words and Music in German Literature.’ I serve as a peer reviewer for both the Department of Asian Studies and the Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies. As an educational leader, I am particularly interested in effective ways to engage ever larger groups of students in our classrooms.
|Brett Gilley, Associate Professor of Teaching, Earth and Ocean Sciences and Vantage College|
|I have taught in a wide variety of post secondary settings both large (500) and small (18) undergraduate classes, graduate level courses, seminars, labs, tutorials, online classes and many workshops on teaching and learning. I am happy to give feedback on classroom teaching, in class activities, clicker use, online teaching, labs, assignments, or any nearly any other aspect of teaching. I am trained in the use of Classroom Observation Protocol in Undergradute STEM (COPUS, the best acronyms have acronyms in them) which can give you a good idea of how both you and your students use your class time. Though I am part of the Faculty of Science I am used to working with people from all faculties and can definitely help you with your teaching.
|Gail Hammond, PhD. Associate Professor of Teaching, Faculty of Land and Food Systems: Food, Nutrition & Health Program|
|At UBC I teach large and medium-sized undergraduate nutrition courses using lecture, self-directed learning activities, community-based experiential learning, and problem-based learning pedagogies.
I graduated from the UBC Faculty SoTL Leadership Program with a Faculty Certificate on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in 2011. As a formative peer reviewer, I will observe your instruction with a critical eye to providing constructive feedback that supports your goals for professional development and growth in teaching. I enjoy participating in reviews of classroom teaching and providing feedback on course syllabi, lesson plans, teaching activities, and assessment tools for large and not-so-large classes. I’ve had the privilege of being a formative reviewer in the faculties of Applied Biology, Land and Food Systems, Law and Pharmaceutical Sciences. When contacting me for a formative PRT, it is useful if you can provide brief information about your teaching history, your current teaching practices, challenging teaching situations that you have faced and why you perceived them as challenges, and what you would like to gain by participating in a formative peer review of your teaching. Also, if you have completed the Teaching Perspectives Inventory, including your dominant teaching perspective(s) is also helpful. Thank you, and I look forward to working with you!
|Shahid A. Hassan, Faculty (General Studies), Yorkville Univ., BC Campus; Subject Expert, BC Min. of Advanced Education and Skills Training|
|I have been a classroom practitioner, academic researcher, and teacher development facilitator in higher education settings for over two decades in many countries. I currently teach language and communication courses. I have served a journal editor position (Wiley-Blackwell) and several leadership roles with TESOL International Association. My professional interests include pedagogical efficacy, learner motivation, educational assessment, and teacher development. I work on curricular projects related to peer pedagogical support or review, reflective teaching, and learner-centered instruction.
|Isabeau Iqbal, PhD. Senior Educational Developer, 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; in the past, I was 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.
|Suzanne James, PhD. First-Year Coordinator, Department of English Language and Literatures|
|In a teaching career of more than thirty years, I have taught English literature and language, as well as English as an Additional Language, to students from grade six through graduate studies. A lot of this teaching took place internationally, in Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Romania. Since 2006, I have worked as a lecturer at UBC. I currently teach African, Canadian and Children’s literature. Over my teaching career I have supervised and mentored student teachers and currently supervise TA’s who run seminars supporting my lecture classes. In 2011, I was awarded an Ian Fairclough Prize for Excellence in Teaching, and in June 2017 I became the coordinator of the first-year program in the Department of English Language and Literatures. I am also Chair of the interdisciplinary African Studies Minor program. As well, I work as a senior examiner for the International Baccaluareate Organization. I am a dynamic teacher who believes in actively engaging students in learning and in constructing meaning for themselves.
|Surita Jhangiani, PhD. Assistant Professor of Teaching, Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education|
|I have been teaching for over 15 years. I have taught courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level in a variety of formats including, large and small lectures, seminars and online (synchronous and asynchronous). I also have experience developing courses, both online and face to face. My teaching pedagogy focuses on a student centred approaches. I am happy to review face to face and online teaching, class activities, online material, syllabus, assessments, or other teaching related activities.
|Michael Lee, PDOT, MBA. Professor of Teaching, Associate Head of Educational Affairs, Dept. Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy|
|I currently teach in the Master of Occupational Therapy programme and, in the past, have taught at the Undergraduate level. Though I enjoy using small group teaching, I also teach in clinical lab sessions, lecture, small group work, large group discussion, tutorials, on-line discussions and many other formats. Other than teaching graduate students, I also offer workshops for clinical instructors, clinicians educated outside Canada, and am interested at adult teaching principles. I am happy to review classroom teaching, small group tutorials, lesson planning, assignment and evaluation outline; as I see those are my valuable learning opportunities as well. I have completed the UBC Faculty Certificate of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and am participating in various CTLT workshops to keep my skills sharp.
|Azita Madadi Noei, PhD. RD. Lecturer, Faculty of Land and Food Systems: Food, Nutrition & Health Program|
|Dr. Azita Madadi Noei is a lecturer and academic advisor for the Master of Food Science Program. She completed her PhD in the Food Science program at the University of British Columbia and her MSc in Food Science and Technology from Iran specializing in dairy chemistry, microbiology, and processing. She has undergone extensive training in analytical labs and different processing facilities including edible oil, meat processing, dairy processing, vegetable canning, and confectionary products. Dr. Madadi Noei has over 20 years of experience in teaching and academia and has been involved in the Master of Food Science program since its inception in 2007. She is currently focusing on pedagogical aspect of Food Science and is responsible for overseeing student progress and the fulfilment of program requirements. She also teaches undergraduate and graduate courses and coordinates the Master of Food Science Workshop series which is a prerequisite for the MFS practicum.
|Sue Murphy, Associate Professor of Teaching, Department of Physical Therapy|
|I have a particular interest in teaching professionalism. I mainly teach in the Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) program, which has a case-based curriculum encompassing clinical lab sessions, lecture, small group work, large group discussion, tutorials, and other formats. Some courses are taught in blended mode, and I am happy to review courses offered through remote learning. We currently have a class size of 100 so I am used to teaching larger classes in various formats. I also have several years of experience in the Clinical education of the MPT students, and have developed and run workshops for clinicians interested in becoming clinical preceptors. In the past I have taught undergraduate students, as well as learners in certificate and diploma level courses. I am currently an Associate Director for the Centre for Health Education Scholarship at UBC and also the Interprofessional theme lead for the MD undergraduate program. I have a Master’s degree in Adult Education and in 2012 was honoured to receive a Killam Teaching Prize; I have also completed the UBC Faculty Certificate of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. I would be pleased to review classroom teaching, lesson planning, evaluation of students, Interprofessional initiatives or other teaching and learning activities.
|John Pringle, Lecturer, Academic English Program, Vantage College|
|I’ve been teaching English as an Additional Language and Communication for 16 years in a wide variety of contexts, and joined UBC in 2016. The majority of my teaching has been to small classes where a high level of engagement and peer cooperation is encouraged so I’ve developed a repertoire of techniques to facilitate an inclusive and lively classroom. In the Academic English Program we work with first-year international students and have developed our own curricula based on the principles of Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL); therefore I collaborate very closely with colleagues in Applied Sciences to design and deliver discipline-specific academic writing education. I’ve also collaborated on research into student motivation and attitudes towards language learning. Currently I’m re-developing my own courses to include more peer assessment activities through Compair in Canvas. I’m also involved in training Teaching Assistants at Vantage. I hold a Master’s in Education (Applied Linguistics) and a Graduate Certificate in Post-Secondary Education. I’ve carried out classroom observations here at Vantage and I’m always happy to observe teachers in action and give structured feedback on any element of classroom practice.
|Jonathan Verrett, PhD. Associate Professor of Teaching, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering|
|I teach in Chemical and Biological Engineering with a specific focus on design education. I have experience teaching large undergraduate classes ranging from 100 to 200 students. I have also created training programs for teaching assistants. This can be quite helpful in leveraging and building their teaching abilities, especially in the context of large courses. I have designed wet labs and coordinated student project work and am happy to discuss how to implement these activities. I am particularly interested in engaging students in peer and team learning.
|Roselynn Verwoord. Curriculum Support, Strategic Curriculum Services, CTLT|
|I have taught small undergraduate seminar-based classes in social work and I have conducted peer reviews in a variety of settings including large lecture-based classes. Preferred peer review activities include providing feedback on classroom teaching (in any setting), and providing feedback on lesson plans and course syllabi.
I currently facilitate workshops on a variety of teaching and learning topics both within and outside UBC; facilitate Instructional Skills Workshops (ISW); facilitate Presentation Skills Workshops (PSW); and am a trainer for the Facilitator Development Workshop (FDW). When contacting me, please provide information on your teaching experience including courses taught and your predominant teaching methods.
|John Vigna. Assistant Professor of Teaching, Pedagogy Chair, Creative Writing Program|
|I have been teaching face-to-face, online and in blended and flipped classrooms at a variety of research- and teaching-intensive universities for the last 17 years. I teach undergraduate large lecture classes, advanced undergraduate seminars and graduate seminars in class sizes ranging from 12-250 students. A few of the other hats I wear include supervising thesis, running faculty-training sessions, directing the MFA summer residency, and overseeing pedagogy in our program. My classes are a mix of lecture, active learning strategies, skill building, peer collaboration and peer-to-peer review. I am particularly interested in integrating the Critical Response Process as a way to foster deeper discussions on student work (essays, creative work, presentations, etc.). I would be happy to review both small and large classes, online and face-to-face.
|Kristen Walker, PhD. Assistant Professor of Teaching, Applied Biology Program|
|My teaching experience covers a wide variety of courses at the undergraduate and graduate level from animal behaviour and animal welfare science to general biology. I have been teaching at the university level for the past 17 years, which has included the development of multiple courses in animal biology. I am a tenure-track Instructor in the Applied Animal Biology program. I focus on small to medium size discussion based courses that incorporate a variety of formats – lectures, small group discussion, active learning, and large group discussions. I am interested in experiential learning as a way to promote and grow critical thinking skills and gain real-life experiences in animal sciences.
I currently serve on the Peer Review of Teaching Committee for the Faculty of Land and Food Systems (LFS) and the LFS Curriculum Committee. In 2018, I completed the UBC Scholarship of Educational Leadership Certificate on Curriculum and Pedagogy in Higher Education.
I would be interested in serving as a peer reviewer to conduct classroom observations of small to large courses, as well as help to review course materials.
Peer Reviewee Testimonials
Dr. Lance Rucker, Faculty of Dentistry
Now that I’ve seen the split screen video recording of the lecture and have had more time to digest the interactive feedback reports with each of my two reviewers, I want to tell you what a fascinating and productive venture this new variation of peer teaching review has been for me. Thank you for the invitation to participate. I can’t imagine why any of our teaching faculty would pass up such an opportunity to enjoy the enhancement and reinforcement of the efficacy of their own teaching methodologies, and I expect that you will have your schedule full as you try to manage other requests for this truly outstanding project. Good work!
Dr. Jolanta Aleksejûniené, Faculty of Dentistry
Before the presentation I felt tension, but the atmosphere in the room was so friendly and completely uninterrupted by the observing reviewers that soon my presentation took its normal route of a pleasant interaction between me and my students. The post-review meeting was a welcome surprise. I got so much feedback from my reviewers, Karen and Susan. Both came with superb ideas on how to make my future teaching more efficient to best facilitate student learning. Now, after I have gone through Peer Review, I admit that my first impressions were wrong. Overall, the entire process was a positive and useful experience. I have no doubt that our ambition as academics is to provide only high quality teaching and we all know how easy it is to get too comfortable in our routines, i.e. stop growing in our scholarly performance. I see Peer Review as a wonderful tool for continuous professional improvement and a friendly process where colleagues have an opportunity to share their visions.
Peer Reviewer Testimonials
Dr. Anthony Clarke, Faculty of Education
…all in all, the process–from pre-conference, through to the teaching event, and onto the post-conference–was textbook in its execution! It was a pleasure to be invited into such an organized and well structured framework. I think it would be fair to say that we all benefited from the experience.
Dr. Ellen Rosenberg – Faculty of Science
I think the process of peer review is very important – if not essential – to faculty development and to the development of a teaching collegiality in the department and the university. This process is very organized and well laid-out. All participants know what to expect and it is not very time-consuming.
Danielle Woo – 2nd year Dental Student
I can say that I actually didn’t find the peer review session disturbing at all. If anything, it was a nice change from the ordinary and may have actually prompted the class to pay more attention to the Student Learning questions asked and answers delivered by instructors and peers respectively. I may, however, suggest that an additional mic or two be used to make transitioning a little bit easier between student answers around the classroom.
Frequently asked questions about the Peer Review of Teaching Program
Peer review of teaching
Peer review of teaching is informed assessment, by colleagues or peers, of 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.
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 Teaching: Introductory Workshop
The peer review of teaching process introduced in this experiential workshop is intended primarily as a form of formative (and developmental) feedback.
By the end of this workshop participants should be able to:
- Describe the peer review of teaching process
- Provide constructive feedback for the person being reviewed
- Conduct appropriate pre- and post-observation interviews
- Respond to various peer review of teaching situations
This workshop is open to everyone in the UBC teaching and learning community.
For more information, please email Isabeau Iqbal.
- Classroom Climate (CTLT Indigenous Initiatives)
- Inclusive Teaching Resources for Faculty (Inclusive Teaching @UBC)
- UBC Summative Peer Review of Teaching Initiative
- UBC Guide to Re-appointment, Promotion and Tenure
- Alternatives to traditional peer review of teaching:
Sample Forms and Protocols for Classroom Observation
- Peer Review in the Active Learning Classroom
- The Mosaic Initiative, Indiana University, has developed helpful resources for peer review of teaching in the active learning classroom. These resources take into consideration special elements that are part of classrooms designed to support active and collaborative learning approaches. With permission from Mosaic Active Learning Initiative at Indiana University, we share these here:
- Rubric Examples. Dimension of Teaching. Utah Valley University.
- These rubric examples from Utah Valley University allow one to determine whether the instructor’s dimensions of teaching are poor, acceptable, or excellent, and provides sources of evidence of when these situations may occur.
UBC Peer Review of Teaching video series
- Reviewer's first steps
- How to prepare for a pre-observation meeting
- The pre-observation meeting
- The classroom observation
- The post observation
Formative Peer Review of Online Teaching
In this section of the website, you will find information about the CTLT Formative Peer Review of Online Teaching (PROT) Program.
A formative PROT may be requested when an instructor seeks feedback on:
- course design
- student engagement strategies
- teaching materials (i.e. syllabi, assignments)
- their dossier
It is recommended to limit the scope of the feedback one is requesting.
Before Engaging in PROT: Self-Assessment
Prior to requesting a peer review of online teaching (PROT), you (the instructor) may wish to conduct a self-assessment of your teaching and course. You can use the Online/Blended Learning Course Quality Checklist to help you. Download the Online/Blended Learning Course Quality Checklist here.
Steps in the Formative Peer Review of Online Teaching
There are 4 main steps in the formative peer review of online teaching (PROT). They are:
Step 1: Initiating the review
Step 2: Preliminary meeting and access to the course
Step 3: Review of online teaching (“observation”)
Step 4: Post-observation meeting and follow-up
Each step will be outlined in more detail below. Please note that specifics of each step can vary depending on the individual, the unit, the institution etc.
Step 1: Initiating the review
A formative PROT is initiated by the instructor who seeks feedback on their teaching. That instructor approaches a trusted colleague to request their support. In some departments, formative reviews are required and initiated by someone who has formally been appointed to lead that initiative.
If you are approached by a colleague to do a review, discuss these important questions to help determine if you are a good fit for one another:
- What are your goals for the review?
- What is the timeline for this review?
- What are you looking for in a reviewer?
Once a reviewer and reviewee have agreed to collaborate, here are some recommendations and tips for success:
- Acknowledge (and remember throughout) that it takes courage to request a peer review
- The success of a formative PRT depends a lot on the relationship between the reviewee (person being reviewed) and reviewer(s)
- As a reviewer, you are likely to learn a lot! Bring a learner's mindset to the review.
Note: We recognize that many faculty members do not feel equipped to do a review of online teaching, even if they have extensive experience with peer reviews and with teaching.
Before the preliminary meeting
Before the preliminary meeting, the reviewer may find it help have some information about the instructor's course and teaching. If so, they can create a Qualtrics survey that includes any or all of questions below and send it to the reviewee with a request that the responses be provided ahead of the preliminary meeting. Please note that the survey is optional; the information in the survey can be gathered during the preliminary meeting.
1. Course design:
- What was your role in designing the course?
- If you were assisted by an instructional designer or other person, please describe their involvement in the design of your course.
- When was your course last updated? What updates did you make and what prompted you to make these changes?
- Which tools are you using in the course outside of Canvas? How do these tools support student learning?
2. Content development:
- What is the extent of your contribution to content development? How, if at all, did others contribute to the development of the content?
- Are there aspects of the course content that you would like to have changed but you didn’t have time or resources? Please explain.
- Are there aspects of the course content that you cannot change due to program policy or other factors? Please say more.
- Is there anything else you would like your reviewers to know about the content and design of this course?
- Is there anything else you would like to let your reviewers know that might help support this process?
- Are you interested in collecting feedback from your students about their experience of learning in this course? If so, we can discuss options during the preliminary meeting.
Step 2: Preliminary meeting and access
At the preliminary meeting, the reviewer and reviewee will revisit the reviewee's goals for the review. Even though these were shared early in the process, it is useful to keep the reviewee's goals at the centre of the review.
Step 2a: Preliminary meeting to discuss online teaching
The preliminary meeting allows reviewers and reviewees to build rapport while they discuss online teaching and the logistics of gaining access to the course. It has other benefits that include promoting a culture of teaching and learning and enhancing collegiality. The preliminary meeting is a key element of the formative PRT.
If the reviewee has completed the survey (see Step 1), the preliminary meeting can build upon the responses. If the survey was not done before this meeting, you can incorporate a discussion of the suggested questions into the preliminary meeting.
Some of the questions to discuss at the preliminary meeting include:
1. Canvas Module or Section for observation
- Is there a particular module or section to be reviewed?
- What is the significance of this module in the course as a whole?
2. Synchronous and/or asynchronous teaching
- Are there any synchronous sessions/activities that you’d like to be observed? Why?
- Are there any asynchronous lectures/activities that you’d like to be reviewed? Why?
3. Student Engagement In the online space, student engagement encompasses three types of interactions: interaction with peers, interaction with content and interaction with instructor/facilitator.
The points below address various types of student engagement.
- Explain steps you have taken to foster a learning environment that is supportive, inclusive and motivates students to learn.
- Describe how you encourage student-to-student interaction in course assignments and other learning activities.
- Discuss how you communicate your expectations for participation and collaboration.
- Explain strategies you use to encourage students to take responsibility for their learning (e.g. allowing learners to participate in the design of course activities or other).
4. Assessment and Learning Activities
- Explain how your assessments reflect and measure the intended learning outcomes.
- Are there additional skills/competencies that are being measured by your assessment(s)?
- How do you clarify expectations for students (e.g. rubrics, checklists, other)? Are students given choice(s) about how to engage in their assignments? Say more...
- How do you design assessment activities that are meaningful and relevant to your students.?
- Describe your approach to delivering timely and appropriate constructive feedback
5. Communication and Responsiveness
- Discuss your approach to responding to student concerns and course-related issues.
- What kind of office hours do you hold?
- What means of contact are you using?
6. Ongoing Reflection and Improvement
- Explain how you evaluate the effectiveness of your course.
- What strategies do you employ for updating and refining course content and assignments?
- Explain how you make sure that your course promotes student learning and intellectual growth.
- Describe ways in which you seek out student feedback to improve your course.
Step 2b: Access to the course and to other documentation
In order to complete the review, the reviewer will need access to the online course. If you need assistance for a course associated with the UBC Vancouver campus, contact the Learning Technology Hub: lt(dot)hub@ubc(dot)ca
Depending on the focus of the review, the reviewer may also need access to other documents such as the teaching portfolio, teaching philosophy statement, student evaluations of teaching, etc.
Step 3: Review of online teaching (Observation)
Below are two different tools for assessing online teaching. Both tools can be modified to your context.
Assessing Online Facilitation: http://www2.humboldt.edu/aof/aof.htm
“The Assessing Online Facilitation instrument can be used to guide a current course's facilitation or review a recent course's facilitation.”
We extend our thanks to Dr. Cynthia Flores Gautreau, lead for the development of Assessing Online Facilitation, for granting permission to adapt this tool.
Rubric for Online Instruction: https://www.csuchico.edu/eoi/rubric.shtml
“The Rubric for Online Instruction (ROI) is a tool used to create or evaluate the design of a fully online or blended course, and was developed at Chico State. The rubric was designed to answer the question, "What does high-quality online instruction look like?"
This tool is licensed with a Creative Commons attribution license.
If the reviewee has indicated they would like to solicit feedback from students on their experience of learning, a process (i.e., an anonymous survey, small group feedback, or other) can be implemented.
Step 4: Post-Observation Meeting and Follow-Up
This is a chance to have a confidential conversation about the PROT.
- invite the reviewee to reflect on the experience.
- please remember to focus your feedback on the instructor's goals for review.
- if you have feedback to share that is outside the scope of what the instructor asked for feedback on, check with the instructor if they want to hear or use your own judgement to gauge whether this is the right time/place to share.
- let the reviewee know what you learned from participating!
If you (the reviewer) have written notes to share, let the reviewer know how/when they can access these. If you have resources to share that can further support the instructor, let them know about this too.
The CTLT Formative PRT Program & Resources
The UBC Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology has a long-standing program on formative peer review of teaching. Please see the Formative Peer Review of Teaching section of our website for details and for a list of reviewers.
If you are interested in having your online course peer reviewed, please contact Dr. Isabeau Iqbal to discuss options (email@example.com).
Our resources include:
Developing Your Skills as a Peer Reviewer of Online Teaching: Introductory Workshop
Once or twice a year, we offer a workshop focused on peer review of teaching. It is suitable for reviewers and reviewees and is not specific to the review of online teaching. See the CTLT Events page for upcoming dates or contact our Events Team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Videos about Formative Peer Review of Teaching
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 videos include:
- Reviewer's first steps
- How to prepare for a pre-observation meeting
- The pre-observation meeting
- The classroom observation
- The post-observation meeting
Summative Peer Review of Teaching
- Information about the summative PRT, including documentation from UBC-Vancouver Faculties, a list of Faculty Leaders in the PRT, a rubric for SPRT and more. See here: https://ctlt.ubc.ca/programs/all-our-programs/ubc-peer-review-of-teaching-initiative/
For more information about formative peer review, please email Isabeau Iqbal.