Documentation:Peer Review of Teaching Program - Information for Graduate Students
- 1 About
- 2 Peer Review of Teaching Program
- 3 Process
- 4 Reviewers
- 5 Alumni Reviewers
- 6 FAQs
- 7 Workshop
- 8 Resources
In this section of our website, you will find information about the CTLT Graduate Peer Review of Teaching Program (GPRT).
Peer review of teaching is a form of evaluation designed to provide feedback to instructors about their teaching.
Peers may evaluate the following elements of teaching:
- classroom 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; and
- comments from graduate students supervisees
Ideally, the peer review of teaching is a critically reflective and collaborative process in which the instructor under review works closely with a colleague or group of colleagues to discuss his or her teaching.
For information about Formative Peer Review of Teaching for faculty, see here.
For information about the Summative Peer Review of Teaching and the UBC Peer Review of Teaching Initiative, see here.
Peer Review of Teaching Program
What is it?
The Graduate Peer Review of Teaching Program (GPRT) 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 all graduate students who teaches at UBC.
How does it work?
As a reviewee, you will select and meet with up to two volunteer peer reviewers. 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 reviewers will learn about your teaching, observe your class, and give you formative feedback.
How will I benefit?
The Peer Review Program aims to encourage dialogue about teaching amongst graduate students at UBC. By talking with your reviewers, you will likely gain new insight into your teaching and information about different teaching strategies or ideas. You will receive written feedback that you may choose to use as evidence in your teaching portfolio, and in future course and lesson planning.
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. For example, you will discuss “what” you want to have peer reviewed (i.e. Will it be a class observation? Would you like someone to look at some of your teaching documents, such as assignments or syllabi? Do you want feedback on the way you provide feedback to your students? etc.).
The following describes what happens before, during and after the classroom observation:
Part 1: Before the classroom observation
- The reviewee decides which course will be observed and prepares a list of classes the reviewer can choose from in scheduling an observation.
- Before the classroom observation, the reviewee should plan and prepare for the class as s/he normally would. In addition, the reviewee must also prepare to brief the peer reviewer about the course and the class they will observe. A list of pre-observation questions (PDF) (Word Document) is available to help the reviewee prepare to meet with his/her peer reviewer.
- Approximately one week before the classroom observation, the peer reviewers and reviewee meet 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.
Part 2: Classroom Observation
- The reviewee teaches his/her class while the peer reviewer observes the session. The peer reviewers’ observation may be guided by a set of classroom observation questions (PDF)(Word Document) and any goals set at the pre-observation meeting.
Part 3: After the classroom observation
- The peer reviewers will prepare a written report (PDF) (Word Document) based on the observation and the reviewee’s particular goals.
- Approximately one week 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 (PDF) (Word Document)
- Following the meeting the peer reviewer may revise his/her reports 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.
Part 4: Feedback to reviewers
- Reviewees fill out the following electronic feedback form to reviewers
All peer reviewers have completed the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology workshop: "Developing Your Skills as a Peer Reviewer: Introductory Workshop" and have completed an Isntructional Skills Workshop (ISW).
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:
- The type of peer review you would like (classroom observation, review of assignments or syllabi or other material, PBL review, 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
- Jeff Bale (PhD Student in Physics and Astronomy)
- Laura Bulk (PhD candidate, Rehabilitation Sciences)
- Madeline Doering (PhD student, Department of Mathematics)
- Katie Faulkner (PhD student, Department of Mathematics)
- Annie Montague (MA student, Department of Educational Studies)
- Natasha Pestonji-Dixon (PhD student, Department of Psychology)
- Laura Super (PhD Candidate, Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences)
- Paisly Symenuk (MSN/MPH student, School of Nursing and School of Population and Public Health)
- Jens Vent-Schmidt (PhD Student, Experimental Medicine)
- Roselynn Verwoord (PhD Candidate, Faculty of Education)
Additional information on reviewers:
- Jeff Bale, PhD Student in Physics and Astronomy
My research interests lie within the emerging field of Physics Education Research. Currently, I am involved as a Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology Facilitator, helping people improve their teaching practices. I am also involved in my department’s Teaching Assistant Professional Development team, providing mentorship to both incoming graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants. My past has included interacting with the public as a science facilitator at a local science museum, as well as running science summer camps. I look forward to catering the mentorship program to best fit your needs and goals!
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; please write “GPRT” in the subject line.
- Laura Bulk, PhD student, Rehabilitation Sciences
I have been teaching in various contexts since my undergraduate days, running workshops for youth, professionals, teachers, politicians, and on and on. As a practicing occupational therapist, I teach and provide feedback to clients on a daily basis. When starting my PhD, I was excited by the opportunity to teach more formally in a higher education context, where I mentor and teach students in the Master of Occupational Therapy program.
As a member of the Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology’s (CTLT’s) Graduate Facilitator Team, I facilitate Instructional Skills Workshops and departmental TA training workshops. In 2016 I got to pilot my department’s first offering as part of the UBC Vancouver Summer Program, with the support of our department head. This was an exciting chance to design, coordinate, and teach in an entire program from the ground up – and I certainly benefited from feedback during this process!
I am now glad to be of service to other learner/teachers. It would be my pleasure to be part of your journey as a teacher, and I anticipate that I will learn a lot in the process too!
Email: email@example.com; please write “GPRT” in the subject line.
- Madeline Doering, PhD student, Department of Mathematics.
I am a graduate student in the Department of Mathematics as well as a Graduate Student Facilitator with CTLT. My background is what some might call “eclectic” and others might call “diversified” — that is to say: I love learning. I’ve found various outlets for that passion throughout my life, including becoming heavily involved in all things teaching within the UBC Math Department and helping others discover their love of teaching through CTLT’s Instructional Skills Workshops (but also silly things like sending high-altitude balloons 100,000ft into space). I’ve taught in various capacities from formal calculus lectures to individual piano lessons and always find my abilities as an instructor are continually evolving. I’d love to help you hone your teaching to fit your specific context, and together we’ll create an open space for reflection and self-growth fueled by constructive feedback focused on your priorities.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; please write “GPRT” in the subject line.
- Katie Faulkner, PhD student, Department of Mathematics.
I am currently a PhD Student in the Department of Mathematics, studying mathematical biology. As a mathematical biologist, my academic career has taken me through all areas of STEM and beyond, giving me an appreciation for the similarities and unique quirks of teaching in various subject areas. I enjoy sharing my passion for math and science with others through teaching and discussing with students at all levels, whether it’s for outreach or in a course at UBC. I am also a graduate facilitator at the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology, where I have the opportunity to help graduate students improve their teaching techniques and discover their own teaching style. As a peer reviewer, I look forward to learning from you and working with you to reflect upon and improve your teaching. I hope that I can bring a new and unique perspective to discussion of your teaching and help you to think outside of the box while we tackle your personal goals and challenges.
Email: email@example.com; please write “GPRT” in the subject line.
- Annie Montague, MA student, Department of Educational Studies.
I belong to many communities; I am an educator, facilitator, consultant, and change-maker. My work stems from an interdisciplinary background in Anthropology and International Studies and I am currently in the second year of my Master of Arts degree in the Department of Educational Studies, where I examine the relationship between young learners and environmental sustainability. Beyond my role as an early childhood educator, I have professional development experience in instructional skills, program development, diversity training, and peer review. I am currently a Literacy Coordinator for a community centre in the Downtown Eastside where I create and implement lesson plans and experiment with connections between theory and practice.
My pedagogical philosophy is rooted in self-awareness, social action, and a connection to place and community. These learning concepts are as relevant with children as they are with adult learners, although there are differences in how we engage with them. Learning to communicate effectively through teaching is a process we all undergo, and I believe peer support is an excellent way to gain clarity in our individual practices. I look forward to collaborating with graduate instructors to develop strategies and approaches in classroom teaching methods and lesson plans.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; please write “GPRT” in the subject line.
- Natasha Pestonji-Dixon, PhD student, Department of Psychology
During my time as a graduate student in the department of Psychology at UBC, I have discovered a passion for teaching, and have taken initiative to find opportunities to teach, to develop my own teaching practice and skills, and to participate in the teaching and learning community. I have been a TA since 2012, and am well-versed in both small tutorial classroom settings (~25 students) as well as large introductory courses (>300 students), and understand the unique challenges and strengths of each. I have been a TA mentor in the department for two years, and have facilitated our department's TA training, and TA technology training workshop. I have also co-taught introductory psychology with two fellow graduate students through a graduate course in my department, receiving and providing thorough feedback on our lessons.
To continue developing my own reflective teaching practice and teaching skills, I have participated in many CTLT graduate teaching workshops, completed the lesson planning certificate through the teaching assistant institute at CTLT, and am currently in this year’s cohort of the Certificate in Advanced Teaching and Learning (CATL).
As a peer reviewer, I hope to provide a safe space for us to discuss your teaching philosophy and goals, and to ensure that we engage in reflective practice together to best work towards them. I am happy to partner with you at any stage of the teaching process, from lesson planning and design to implementing new strategies/activities in the classroom.
Email: email@example.com; please write “GPRT” in the subject line.
- Laura Super, PhD student, Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences
I thoroughly enjoy research and teaching. As an educator, I am especially interested in how the arts, sciences, and education combine (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics with the Arts, STEAM). I have experience as a TA for first year biology and upper level biostatistics; a visual analytics mentor for the Vancouver Institute for Visual Analytics (VIVA, an SFU, UBC, BCIT joint initiative); a K-12 science and mathematics tutor; a tutor for university students with special needs for Access and Diversity at UBC; a designer of curricula for SelfDesign Learning Community; and a volunteer creating science outreach activities for organizations such as Let's Talk Science and the UBC Beaty Biodiversity Museum. For my PhD, I am studying how humans impact the ecology of plants, soil health, and species interactions. With respect to my scientific training and education, I have the most background in biology (e.g., general biology, botany, mycology, soil science, plant ecology, community ecology, landscape ecology, agroecology) in the field, in the lab, and on the computer, as well as some research experience in psychology and education from research collaborations.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ; please write “GPRT” in the subject line.
- Paisly Symenuk, MSN/MPH student, School of Nursing and School of Population and Public Health.
I am a registered nurse currently a Masters student in the School of Nursing and School of Population and Public Health, and the Certificate in Advanced Teaching and Learning (CATL). I have training in qualitative and quantitative research methods. Over the past four years, I have worked exclusively in a variety of research areas including pediatric home health, emergency medicine, longterm care, global health, public health, and more. I now work at UBC on a community-based research project for women facing systemic and interpersonal violence using mixed methods and interventional design. My thesis is focused on exploring and de-constructing the way global health in undergraduate education is situated and taken up. I am drawn to teaching because I believe education (formal or informal) is a tool to create societal change by challenging, re-examining, unlearning, and thinking about other ways our future could look. My interests are rooted in critical pedagogy at the intersection of health sciences education and global health. I am passionate about supporting teaching and learning, especially peer reviews outside of the health field! I approach all of my activities in a strengths-based and relational way because we are all on a continuous path of learning and growth!
Email: email@example.com ; please write “GPRT” in the subject line.
- Jens Vent-Schmidt, PhD Student, Experimental Medicine
My PhD program is in Experimental Medicine, specializing in Immunology and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. I hold an MSc from the University of Freiburg in Germany in Molecular Medicine and have a background in both Biology and Medicine. Through my degree, I have presented at many local, national and international conferences.
Since 2013, I have worked as Graduate Facilitator for CTLT, where I facilitate Instructional and Presentation Skills Workshops and departmental TA training workshops many departments in science, business and the arts, I enjoy working in this interdisciplinary environment. As a facilitator, I create, refine and implement lesson plans and aligned online-modules in a blended learning environment. My lessons draw heavily on active learning techniques and I am a strong believer in just-in-time teaching. During my small group facilitation, I provide a supportive and positive environment in which my participants take risks in their teaching practice and learn from feedback through guided self-reflection and facilitate peer feedback.
As a peer reviewer of teaching and presentation, I will support you through the entire process of your session, planning, delivery and feedback. During the process, I will encourage you to reflect on your teaching practice before I will provide feedback myself. Please reflect on a few goals you want to achieve during your session and how the peer review process will help you with these. Please also include information on the topic of the lesson, the date, and your teaching, reviewing and ISW experiences.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; please write “GPRT/GPRP" in the subject line.
- Roselynn Verwoord, PhD Candidate, Faculty of Education
As an educator, facilitator, and curriculum developer, I have worked in a variety of formal and informal educational settings both locally and internationally. Presently, I work as a Learning Design and Curriculum Consultant at the UBC Centre for Teaching Learning and Technology where I support departments and units to design and develop curriculum and related courses and materials. When I’m not at UBC, I enjoy teaching in the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program at Vancouver Community College and in the Early Childhood Education Program at Douglas College. My formal education includes a Bachelor of Education in Elementary Curriculum as well as a Master of Arts in Society, Culture, and Politics in Education. I am currently completing a PhD in Educational Studies from UBC with a focus on pre-service teacher education.
Email: email@example.com; please write “GPRT” in the subject line.
- Genevieve Breau (PhD, Interdisciplinary Oncology, Faculty of Medicine)
- Tim Came (Graduate Student Facilitator - Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology) - 2007-2016
- Deb Chen (PhD, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine) - 2016-2019
- Matt Coles (PhD, Department of Mathematics)
- Oralia Gómez-Ramírez (PhD, Anthropology)
- Mabel Ho (PhD, Department of Sociology)
- Dhaneesh Kumar (BSc., Dept. of Physics & Astronomy)
- Stephen Mattucci (PhD, Biomedical Engineering) - 2014-2018
- Philippe Sabella Garnier (PhD Candidate, Dept. of Physics)
- Emily Scribner (PhD, Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences)
- Grace Truong (PhD, Dept. of Psychology)
- Cole Zmurchok (PhD Candidate, Mathematics Department) - 2017-2018
All of my teaching assistant experience during my PhD is in the School of Nursing. I am was the teaching assistant for NURS 552, which is the research methods course for students in the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program, and have also been the teaching assistant for NURS 549, the advanced statistics course for MSN students. I was also the Senior TA for the School of Nursing: I coordinated the ongoing TA training for the School of Nursing, and acted in a mentorship role. My background is in the health professions: my MA is in Health Promotion, and my BSc. (Hons) is in Neuroscience, both from Dalhousie University. In addition, during my MA studies I was a Problem-Based Learning Tutor for the Dalhousie College of Pharmacy, and the Study Skills Coach for health professional students within the Studying for Success Program. Thus, I am well qualified to provide assessments for classes in the health sciences , life sciences, and social sciences. I am able to provide a peer review of classroom and tutorial teaching: the majority of my experience is with small seminar classes (6-20 students). I am also able to provide feedback on curriculum development and developing assessments. Finally, I have experience with online courses using Connect, thus I am able to give feedback in these areas.
- Tim Came, Graduate Student Facilitator at the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. 2007-2016
Tim's experience includes teaching small (6-30 student) first- and second-year undergraduate classes in my discipline (political science) and working with graduate students on a range of teaching-related skills as a CTLT facilitator. In nine years with CTLT, Tim enjoyed opportunities to work with (and learn from) graduate students from a wide range of disciplines in workshops on specific skills such as lesson planning, leading discussions, and assessment, and in the Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW). Part of his role as an ISW facilitator has been working one-on-one with participants to help them to develop their ability to reflect on their own experience of their teaching as a source of valuable insights. While he was prepared to provide feedback as a peer reviewer, he also encouraged our reviewees to reflect on their teaching practice. Tim reviewed classroom teaching (including tutorials) and teaching materials such as syllabi, lesson plans, assignments, etc.
- Deb Chen, PhD, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
As a perpetual student, I am constantly on the lookout for opportunities to grow in different, and often chaotic, directions. Teaching was one of those many exploratory undertakings that serendipitously came into focus during my graduate studies; my experience at the internationally recognized Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) anchored my decision to cultivate my teaching practice in a more intentional and reflective manner.
As a Graduate Facilitator at Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology (CTLT), I facilitate ISWs and various departmental TA training workshops. In the UBC Vancouver Summer Program, I co-instructed and co-designed course curriculum tailored to international students from diverse (cultural and disciplinary) backgrounds, with numerous opportunities for peer teaching and ample formative feedback through small group discussions, student team presentations, and use of two-stage examination (Package J: Introduction to Medical Laboratory Science). I also enrolled in a curriculum design course (Psyc 508: Teaching in Psychology) and in the Graduate Certificate Program (or now the Certificate Program in Advanced Teaching and Learning) to further integrate my personal learning, deepen my teaching practice, develop skills in course design, and to ultimately become an effective scholarly teacher.
It is my wish and goal in my role as a Graduate Peer Reviewer to inspire and to support other graduate students on their personal journeys to teach with fervor. I look forward to working with and learning from you!
- Matt Coles, PhD, Department of Mathematics.
Matt was a Graduate Student Facilitator with CTLT. He taught in the Math department for a couple of years and benefited early on from peer review of his teaching. Matt Believes that peer feedback is an important and valuable part of developing one's teaching and he was excited to provide this service. His focus was on providing an opportunity for reflection and self growth as well as targeted non-judgemental feedback based on reviewee priorities.
- Oralia Gómez-Ramírez, PhD, Department of Anthropology
Oralia taught a third-year undergraduate ethnographic seminar in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Simon Fraser University, and the International Teaching Assistants and Graduate Students (ITA) Program in the Centre for Intercultural Communication at the University of British Columbia. Additionally, she facilitated workshops and had extensive TA experience in first-, third-, and fourth-year undergraduate courses in the fields of anthropology, sociology/family studies, and gender/sexuality/women’s studies. Oralia was keen on applying anti-racist and feminist principles to promote social change from within the classroom. Her preferred peer review activities included reviewing classroom teaching practices and lesson plans.
At UBC, I facilitate the internationally recognized Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) and various workshops at Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology (CTLT). I have also co-instructed an Introduction to Sociology course and have been a teaching assistant for a number of courses such as Inequality and Social Change, International Migration in a Globalized World, and Social Construction of Gender. As a facilitator and peer reviewer, I would be happy to work with you on lesson planning and design. I look forward to hearing from you and discussing strategies and approaches to improve your teaching skills.
- Dhaneesh Kumar, BSc., Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, UBC.
Graduate Peer Reviewer of Teaching at CTLT 2015-2017 Dhaneesh was an undergraduate TA for the first-year undergraduate physics laboratories with class sizes of approximately 40 students each when he joined our team of peer reviewers. He had various teaching opportunities outside the university to further bolster his teaching experiences. These include his teaching as a Scoutmaster as well as a Red Cross CPR Instructor. These enabled him to have the awareness and the understanding of the different teaching practices that exist and their effect on student learning. Being involved in the Physics and Astronomy Education Research (PHASER) Group since 2013 further allowed him to become more adept at looking at the various aspects that help create a conducive learning environment. Aspects such an effective pedagogy as well as an understanding of student epistemology just to name a few. Dhaneesh was also involved in developing a complementary TA training to further reinforce the various support structures in place in the Physics department for TAs to teach more effectively. As a mentor TA, Dhaneesh reviewed and offered feedback to newer TAs in the department on how they can improve their teaching in physics classrooms. These experiences and opportunities enabled him to be more familiar with the qualities and traits that an effective instructor should possess and how a person may then strive to be such an effective instructor.
- Steve Mattucci, PhD, Biomedical Engineering.
Steve has a PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering from UBC and was on the CTLT facilitator team from 2014-2018. Teaching was often the highlight of his week and left him feeling energized when he left the classroom. Steve was involved in facilitating Instructional Skills Workshops, developing and facilitating the Engineering TA Training program, and developing the new first-year engineering curriculum. Steve believes that the process behind teaching is just as (if not more) important as classroom time. Some of his main priorities as a teacher are structuring lessons around learning outcomes, developing a positive classroom climate, and in-class activities focused on sustained learning. Steve was involved in facilitating Instructional Skills Workshops, developing and facilitating the Engineering TA Training program, and developing the new first-year engineering curriculum. Steve believes that the process behind teaching is just as (if not more) important as classroom time. Some of his main priorities as a teacher are structuring lessons around learning outcomes, developing a positive classroom climate, and in-class activities focused on sustained learning.
- Philippe Sabella Garnier, PhD Dept. of Physics.
As a teaching assistant for various physics courses at UBC since 2011, I have teaching experience in different contexts. I led labs and worksheet-based tutorials for groups of about 50 first-year non-physics students as well as smaller, less formal help sessions for second and third-year physics students. In addition to this, I have provided support for instructors in larger class settings: lectures for about 200 first-year students and tutorials for about 150 second-year students. I have been a TA for groups of 20 to 30 Vantage College students. This proved to be an entirely different challenge as the focus was less on having students understand the technicalities of the material and more on communicating efficiently with them despite language barriers and overcoming cultural barriers to create an effective learning environment. I’ve also been involved in the training of new teaching assistants in my department in various capacities. I started by being a mentor and peer reviewer for new graduate student TAs, observing and providing feedback to mentees through a program similar to this one that exists in the Physics and Astronomy department. Since 2014, I coordinate the team of mentors in our department and help run the 8-hour TA training workshop all new graduate students attend before teaching. These activities have made me examine more actively my own teaching and made me accustomed to reflecting more systematically on the teaching of others.
- Emily Scribner, PhD, Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS)
I am a PhD Candidate in the Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS) and a Graduate Facilitator with the Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology. I am also currently the instructor for an online introductory EOAS course and I have experience as a teaching assistant (TA) in the Department of EOAS and with the Integrated Sciences program. As a TA, I have had the opportunity to work in a wide variety of courses from large (> 200 students) introductory courses on natural disasters to small (~30 students) courses on systems thinking and sustainability. Many of these TA positions involved coming to classes and observing the instructors, providing me with classroom observation experience in a variety of class settings and with instructors that employ a range of pedagogical techniques. I strive to provide a space where you can reflect on your own teaching, create strategies to improve your teaching skills, and in which we can discuss pedagogical practices that align with your teaching philosophy.
Over the course of 3.5 years as a graduate student, I have experience teaching at all levels of psychology, from first year intro classes to graduate-level statistics seminars. These courses have ranged in size from 8 to 270 students and have included in-class as well as lab-based teaching components. For a second year class on research methods, I facilitated my students’ brainstorming sessions for research ideas, assessed their presentation skills and research designs, managed their experiment sessions, taught them how to use Microsoft Excel for data analysis, and discussed with them the main parts of the American Psychological Association (APA)-style format. For a third year class on sensory systems, I prepared a series of in-class group activities for the chapter on psychophysical perception. For both of the graduate-level statistics courses that I have TA’d, I have been the lab co-instructor for two years. In this role, I have co-created the lab outline, selected required readings, designed and conducted in-lab activities, crafted assignments and tests, led exam review sessions, and brought in outside speakers to discuss the importance of statistics skills in research and the job market. As part of my professional development in the teaching field, I have participated in a number of teaching-related workshops on instructional skills, research assignment design, assessment, teaching assistant mentoring, and peer review of teaching. Beyond the classroom, I have volunteered with Let’s Talk Science to promote science education through a variety of programs like the Teacher Partnership Program, All Science Challenge, and Brain Bee.
Cole was a Graduate Student Instructional Skills Workshop Facilitator at CTLT, and an organizer of a community of practice for Graduate Student Instructors in the Mathematics Department. Cole has taught both large classes (130 students) and small recitations and workshops (20 students) at UBC, and has worked as both a TA and a TA trainer. Cole spent many years teaching skiing and leading ski instructor certification courses, and as a result, the idea of a guide lies at the core of my teaching.
As a peer reviewer, Cole applied the same philosophy, and guided our reviewees through the peer-review process. He often started the reviewee's own goals and desires to provide an aim for the review and for feedback. He then worked together with the reviewee to figure out how the review could have the most benefit to them and to their students. After the review, he worked with the reviewee to draw some conclusions through reflection and discussion, and shared relevant feedback and stories from his own experiences!
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?
- 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 seeks to address the concept of advancing knowledge and understanding within and across disciplines outlined in Place and Promise: The UBC Plan.
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?
Professorial rank and job classification are disregarded in the program. All educators are invited to participate and learn from one another.
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 you decide to include reflections or documentation about the process to your 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. All of the reviewers have also completed an Instructional Skills Workshop.
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.
How much time will the process take?
The process will take approximately three to 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
Description: 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 will 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
- Write a relevant and concise report to be discussed in the post-observation meeting
This workshop is open to all graduate students who teach at UBC.
You can find a variety of resources on the Peer Review of Teaching. Below are links to websites that focus on the subject, a list of academic references (journal articles, book chapters) and UBC resources on the peer review of teaching (i.e. departmental protocols and other).
If you have a resource that you would like to add, please email Isabeau Iqbal.
- Academic References
- UBC Resources
- UBC Summative Peer Review of Teaching Initiative
- UBC Guide to Re-appointment, Promotion and Tenure
- Dr Harry Hubball, Faculty of Education, talks about the relationship between formative and summative Peer Review of Teaching in the context of a presentation session to the Faculty of Dentistry.
Sample Forms and Protocols for Classroom Observation
- Peer Review of Teaching for Promotion Purposes (2009), Australian Learning and Teaching Council, The University of Adelaide, Australia.
- Provides a literature review on the summative peer review of teaching. This review examines the status of summative peer review in Australian universities, prerequisites for establishing a successful program, necessary elements of a summative peer review program, criteria for peer evaluation, and academics’ responses to summative peer review of teaching programs. This resource also provides observation forms for various types of reviews.
- Guide to Peer Review of Teaching (2002). Prepared by the Flexible Education Unit. Based on material prepared by Associate Professor Jackie Lublin. University of Tasmania.
- Provides information, advice, and a variety of tools to assist one in carrying out a peer review of teaching. This guide defines peer review of teaching, outlines the process of peer review, provides guidelines for reviewers, and also includes example proformas for both formative and summative peer reviews.
- LEO (Lecturers' Employee Organization) Classroom Observation Form (2015). University of Michigan-Flint. Retrieved from: http://www.umflint.edu/cas/leo.htm.
- This sample classroom observation form looks at creating an objective summary of the class session, responding to critical questions about the instructor’s performance, and offering advice on improving teaching.
- Peer Review Forms (2011). Centre for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence. MacEwan University.
- Provides various observation forms e.g., pre-observation meeting discussion guide, review of teaching materials checklist, online observation checklist, classroom observation forms in rating, checklist, and narrative formats. All forms are in Word and can be downloaded and modified.
- Peer Review of Teaching Classroom Observation Instruments. Centre for Teaching and Learning. University of Minnesota.
- Provides documents that define the peer review of teaching, provide recommendations for the use of peer review in formative and summative assessments of teaching, and suggest a format for reporting peer review of teaching data in dossiers for promotion and tenure.
- 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.
Resources for Online Peer Review of Teaching
- Peer Review Forms (2011). Centre for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence. MacEwan University.
- Provides various observation forms e.g., observation of online instruction and checklist for online interactive learning. All forms are in Word and can be downloaded and modified.
- The Peer Review Guide for Online Teaching (2010). John A. Dutton e-Education Institute. Penn State.
- Provides a process for peer review of online courses that can be adapted easily. Includes an instructor input form, a peer review guide and feedback form for the peer reviewer. All forms come in Word and PDF, and can be customized. Sample written documents created by peer reviewers can also be found here.
- Faculty Classroom Observation Form: Online and Hybrid Courses (2010). Learning Unit at Central Piedmont Community College.
- Checklist that focuses on the following elements in an online and hybrid course environment: variety and pacing of instruction, course design and usability, assessment and measurement, clarity, content knowledge, instructor-student interaction and use of technology.
- Rubric for Online Instruction (2009). Exemplary Online Instruction. Chico State.
- This resource provides an online rubric for categories such as Learner Support, Online Organization, Instructional Design, Assessment and Evaluation of Student Learning, Innovative Teaching with Technology, and Faculty Use of Student Feedback.
- Online Course Checklist (2014). Peer Review of Teaching. North Dakota State University.
- This resource is a checklist that focuses on feedback. A peer reviewer can tick whether or not the objectives of the course are non-existent, developing, or fully met.