Formative Peer Review of Teaching

About

In this section of our website, you will find information about the CTLT (formative) Peer Review of Teaching Program.

Peer review of teaching is a process and/or form of evaluation designed to provide feedback to instructors about their teaching.

Peers may provide feedback on 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 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.

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 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 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 she or he observed during the class.

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. 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.

Process

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.

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 her goals for peer review.
  • 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 her goals for the review, as well as any details relevant to the course and the class that will be observed. A 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 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.

Part 2: Classroom Observation

  • The reviewee teaches his/her class while the peer reviewer observes the session. The peer reviewers’ observation is guided by a set of classroom observation questions (Word) 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 reviewee’s goals and the classroom observation.
  • No more than a week after the classroom observation (ideally), the reviewee and peer reviewer will meet for approximately an hour to discuss the classroom observation and the peer reviewer’s reports. See here for post observation discussion questions (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.

For more information, see here for a 1-page process checklist (Word Document).

Reviewers

All peer reviewers 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.

When you email a reviewer for a request, please indicate:

  • 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 and details of when/where you teach (if you are hoping for a classroom observation)
  • Your contact information

List of peer reviewers


Additional Information on Reviewers

  • Eric Accili, Associate Professor, Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences
    As a faculty member, I have been teaching since 1998. I have taught mainly 3rd and fourth year courses in human physiology, in a lecture format, to classes ranging in size from 10 or so to 600. I have taught seminar style courses also to both undergraduate and graduate students, and have been involved in teaching labs for human physiology. I have developed a new course and contributed to the development of an online course while at SFU for undergraduates. In my lab and as a member of graduate and undergraduate thesis committees, I spend a great deal of time preparing students for presentations, oral examinations and thesis defences. I am also involved in evaluating oral presentations of undergraduates in our department.
    email: eaaccili@mail.ubc.ca
  • Sunaina Assanand, PhD. Instructor-I, Department of Psychology.
    I have over 10 years of teaching experience at UBC. Over these years, I have taught advanced undergraduate courses, ranging in size from 10 to 300 students. In addition, I have taught a graduate seminar on the Teaching of Psychology. During classes, I engage in varied activities, including the use of lecture and a range of active learning practices. I have extensive experience in the implementation of community service learning and international service learning. My preferred peer review activities include the review of course syllabi, classroom teaching practices, and assignments.
    email: assanand@psych.ubc.ca
  • Silvia Bartolic, PhD. Instructor, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts
    I have been teaching face-to-face and online for approximately 15 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 coordinate and facilitate TA Training in the Department of Sociology and co-facilitate the SoTL Community of Practice. I would be happy to review both small and large classes, online and face-to-face.
    email: bartolic@mail.ubc.ca
  • Susan J. Blake, PhD. Sessional Lecturer, Arts Studies in Research and Writing, Faculty of Arts
    I am a linguist and have taught and developed courses for more than 15 years in three related areas: Linguistics, First Nations Language Education and English Language Studies. I currently teach WRDS 150, a discourse-based approach to academic research and writing, and serve as a Faculty Mentor in the Arts Tri-Mentoring Program. I am particularly interested in the integration of research into undergraduate education. Teaching and learning strategies that I use are informed by the principles of holistic learning, the spirit of inquiry and reflective self-practice. For more information, please see: http://asrw.arts.ubc.ca/current-faculty/
    I welcome an opportunity to discuss strategies and ideas about teaching and learning in higher education. I have experience with the formative and summative peer-review process, both as a reviewer and reviewee, and am most willing to further engage in the process.
    email: blakesj@mail.ubc.ca
  • Mario Brondani, PhD. Assistant Professor, Department of Community Dentistry and Prosthodontics and Dental Geriatrics
    I have experience with PBL, small group (in-class) activities, clinical instruction (students in pairs and individually) and lectures (average 50 students) at the undergraduate level of single or interdisciplines. At the graduate level, I have experience with graduate seminars and directed studies (up to 5 students). I am available in Term 2 to conduct some classroom observations of teaching and/or provide feedback on syllabi.
    email: brondani@interchange.ubc.ca
  • Judy Chan, PhD. Sessional Lecturer and Faculty Liaison, Land and Food Systems (LFS); Education Consultant, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology
    I teach a large, introductory undergraduate class (FNH 200, with 150 students) each year and I have taught on-line version of the same course in the past. I have experience using problem-based learning as a teaching technique and teaching in a wet lab. I am available to peer review someone’s classroom teaching and PBL case writing.
    email: judy.chan@ubc.ca
  • Zahra Ezzat Zadeh, PhD, RD(t). Faculty of Medicine.
    I am an educator, a clinician and a researcher who has taught undergraduate classes averaging 80-130 students and supervised graduate and undergraduate students in the lab. Currently I facilitate educational workshops and small group learning on nutrition and health related topics. I use a blended strategy of active and interactive teaching along with visual and multimedia technology to inspire my student and encourage active learning and thinking process. This utilizes a thorough understanding of the subject materials, use of the training aids, appropriate plan timing and practice. I will be happy to peer review classes with different group sizes across different academic disciplines.
    email: zahra.ezzatzadeh@ubc.ca
  • Majid Doroudi, B.Sc. (PT), M.Sc., Ph.D. Senior instructor, Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Medicine.
    I have been teaching the anatomical sciences to medical, dental, undergraduate, and allied health students for over 22 years. 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 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 and have won several teaching awards at the university and faculty levels.
    email: mdoroudi@mail.ubc.ca
  • kele fleming, Associate Director, Teaching & Learning Professional Development, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology
    I bring twelve years experience developing and delivering professional development programs for faculty, graduate students and staff, with a particular focus on learning technology. Preferred peer review activities include providing feedback on using technology to support teaching goals in the face-to-face, blended and online classroom (e-portfolios, LMS/Connect, Web 2.0 tools, clickers, blogs, wikis) & on specific topics (digital tools for feedback & assessment, reflective writing, integrating technology into your learning outcomes). I have also led technology professional development days for K-12 classroom teachers. Developed & delivered a Web Architecture course at Emily Carr University. If you are contacting me about conducting a peer review, please let me know: What is your previous experience with using technology in the classroom?; what are your goals with using technology? (interest, address specific need, departmental/faculty mandate).
    email: kele.fleming@ubc.ca
  • Florian Gassner, Instructor, Department of Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies
    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.
    email: florian.gassner@ubc.ca
  • Brett Gilley, Instructor, 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.
    email: bgilley@eos.ubc.ca
  • Gail Hammond, Lecturer, Faculty of Land and Food Systems: Food, Nutrition & Health Program
    At UBC I teach large undergraduate nutrition courses using lecture and community-based experiential learning (and previously PBL) and smaller undergraduate courses using formal debate and seminar 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 provide supportive feedback in assisting you to meet your goals for improvement. I enjoy participating in reviews of classroom teaching and providing feedback on course syllabi, lesson plans, and teaching activities for both large and small classes. I have conducted peer reviews in the faculties of Applied Biology, Land and Food Systems, Law and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
    When contacting me please provide brief information about your teaching history, 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 peer review of your teaching. If you have completed the Teaching Perspectives Inventory, please also include your dominant teaching perspective(s).
    email: gail.hammond@ubc.ca
  • Shahid A. Hassan, Doctoral Program, Language and Literacy Education, Faculty of Education
    I have been a classroom practitioner, academic researcher, and teacher development facilitator in higher education settings for over a decade and a half in many countries across the world. I currently teach intercultural communication and work as an official ESOL examiner. I have served a journal editor position (Wiley-Blackwell) and several leadership roles with the TESOL International Association. Some areas of my professional interest include pedagogical efficacy, learner motivation, alternative assessment, and teacher development. I am passionate about peer pedagogical support or review, reflective teaching, and learner-centered instruction. So, not just teaching but EFFECTIVE teaching!
    email: shahid@alumni.ubc.ca
  • Isabeau Iqbal, PhD. Educational Developer, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology and Sessional Instructor, Faculty of Education
    I teach classes of 30-40 students in the Bachelor of Education program where I use various active learning strategies, such as discussion (large and small group), reflective writing, collage, and concept mapping. I am an experienced Instructional Skills Workshop facilitator and, in my role at CTLT, have designed and facilitated numerous workshops on enhancing teaching and learning in post-secondary education. 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.
    email: isabeau.iqbal@ubc.ca
  • Suzanne James, PhD. Sessional Instructor, Department of English
    In a teaching career of almost 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. During the last nine years, I have worked as a lecturer at UBC and SFU. I currently teach small seminar writing classes (16 students at SFU; 35 students at UBC), classes in African and Canadian literature of 45 students, and larger lecture courses in introductory literature with 150 first-year students. 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. I am a dynamic teacher who believes in actively engaging students in learning and in constructing meaning for themselves.
    email: sujames@mail.ubc.ca
  • Michael Lee, PDOT, MBA. Senior Instructor, Department of Occupational Science and 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.
    email: michael.lee@ubc.ca
  • Azita Madadi Noei, PhD. RD. Lecturer, Faculty of Land and Food Systems: Food, Nutrition & Health Program
    I started my teaching career in 1989 teaching nutrition short courses in high school. My teaching responsibility at UBC began in 2002 as Distance Education instructor for introductory course in Food Science and expanded over the years to teach large undergraduate (100-170) and smaller graduate courses and lab sections. I have developed new courses and redesigned evaluation methods to accommodate versatile learning styles. I use blended, student-centered and interactive approach in my teaching. With enough lead time, I would be more than happy to provide feedback on your teaching.
    email: amadadi@mail.ubc.ca
  • Sue Murphy, Senior Instructor, Department of Physical Therapy
    I currently teach in the professional stream in the Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) program. The MPT program has a case-based curriculum, which encompasses clinical lab sessions, lecture, small group work, large group discussion, tutorials, and many other formats. Although I do not directly facilitate pure PBL classes, I have been quite involved with our “case based weeks” which are a quasi-PBL format. We currently have a class size of 80 so I am used to teaching larger classes in various formats. I am also involved in the Clinical education of the MPT students, and run workshops for clinicians interested in becoming clinical preceptors. In the past I have taught undergraduate students, as well in certificate and diploma level courses.
    I have a Master’s degree in Adult Education and in 2012 was honoured to receive a Killam Teaching Prize from UBC. I have also completed the UBC Faculty Certificate of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and would be happy to review classroom teaching, lesson planning, evaluation of students, or any other teaching and learning activity.
    email: sue.murphy@ubc.ca
  • Kate Power, PhD. Instructor, Arts Studies in Research and Writing
    I arrived at UBC in Fall 2011, with a PhD in Applied Linguistics (critical discourse analysis) and a former career in public and educational administration. At UBC, I most often teach first and third year courses that satisfy the Faculty of Arts Writing Requirement, but I have also taught discourse analysis for the English department. All of my courses involve small classes (30-35 students) and combine mini-lectures, small group discussions, primary research (design and implementation), and textual analysis. I am informed by both Buber’s I-thou relationship (https://www.britannica.com/topic/I-Thou) and Freire’s critical pedagogy (http://www.freire.org/paulo-freire/), viewing “students” first and foremost as persons and – to the extent that I can within the institutional structures to which I am subject (as much as are our students) – my goal is to shape curriculum, class time and assessments that respect class participants’ full humanity and turn a required course into a valuable and valued addition to students’ degree programs. I have completed UBC’s Scholarship of Educational Leadership program (http://international.educ.ubc.ca/soel/administrative-and-application-details/ubc-faculty/) and am currently working on TLEF and SoTL Seed Grant research projects looking at student attitudes to learning within the Faculty of Arts.


  • Catherine Rawn, PhD. Senior Instructor, Psychology
    As of Fall 2015, I have 9 years of experience teaching first and second year undergraduate classes sized 30-500 focusing mainly on introductory topics (e.g., intro psychology, intro to quantitative research methods, intro to statistics), but also some specialized topics and a graduate seminar on the Teaching of Psychology. My primary approach to teaching promotes active learning and prioritizes evidence-based practice. In a typical class period I use a blend of lecture, personal response questions (i>clicker, TopHat), peer-to-peer discussion, large group discussion, and written comprehension checks. When designing new courses, I draw from Fink's Integrated Course Design model as I strive to align course goals, assessments, and activities. I am an experienced Course Design Intensive and Instructional Skills Workshop facilitator at CTLT, and I create and facilitate teaching training for graduate students in the psychology department. See my website www.psych.ubc.ca/~cdrawn for more information, including my teaching statement and student evaluations.
    email: cdrawn@psych.ubc.ca
  • Jonathan Verrett, Instructor, 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.
    email: jonathan.verrett@ubc.ca
  • Roselynn Verwoord, Curriculum Support, Strategic Curriculum Services, CTLT (On leave September 2015-February 2016)
    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.
    email: roselynn.verwoord@ubc.ca

Testimonials

The following testimonials are from individuals who participated in the original Peer Review Program (prior to 2010). For more information about the current program, please see our "FAQs" tab above.

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.

Student Testimonials

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.

Elizabeth Denison – 3rd year Dental Student

My thoughts: The program never felt like an imposition on learning; it was incorporated into our learning, not the other way around knowing that a teacher is being reviewed makes me confident that they will be motivated to do a better job. One might expect more dynamic lectures, more accountability for information presented, and more student interaction. Participating in peer review programs is valuable for anyone that wants to improve their skills, learn from the mistakes of others, and discover new and useful techniques. The filming of lectures did change the atmosphere somewhat. On the negative side, some students may be inhibited from speaking up for fear of making a fool of themselves on camera. On the positive side, it can stimulate students to step up their game, ask more thoughtful questions, and present answers more clearly. Plus, filming lectures is a good way to prevent the exhausted students from dozing off during class!

Adin Ghotbi – 2nd year Dental Student

Over all, I believe the idea of carefully observing and studying the learning environment in order to increase the quality of delivered materials to the students, is highly beneficial to all its participants. I think this is the best way the faculty, its professors, and the students can modify their ways of contributions to the learning environment. It will not only provide a clear feedback to the educators about their performance but also it allows the students to appreciate the value the instructors are putting into developing better teaching techniques to provide higher education to their students. I fully support and appreciate what you are doing and would love to be a participant in as many of the peer review programs that you do as I can.

FAQs

Frequently asked questions about the Peer Review of Teaching Program

DEFINITIONS

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).

References

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 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.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Workshops

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 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 everyone in the UBC teaching and learning community.


For more information, please email Isabeau Iqbal.

Resources

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.

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:
Though this guide is dated, it provides helpful guidelines and a variety of tools. The guide defines peer review of teaching, outlines the process of peer review, provides advice for reviewers, and also includes example proformas for both formative and summative peer reviews.
  • Peer Review Forms (go to "Faculty Evaluation" section on left hand side of page). 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.
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.
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 (go to "Faculty Evaluation" section on left-hand side of page). 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
source: http://wiki.ubc.ca/Documentation:CTLT_programs/PRT/Peer_Review_of_Teaching