In academia, peer review is the standard for evaluating research to ensure that only high-quality research is published. Similarly, instructors give students feedback in classes because they recognize the value of students receiving feedback from an expert in the field to foster learning and skill development. With appropriate structure and intentionality, peer review of teaching allows instructors to benefit from expert feedback in the same way as students and researchers.
What is peer review of teaching?
Peer review of teaching can take a variety of different forms and serve different purposes. It can consist of peers observing your teaching, examining an online course as if they were a student, or reviewing a teaching portfolio that consists of course materials such as syllabi, assignments, or activities. It can be used for formative purposes to help you improve learning in your courses or for summative purposes to inform reappointment, tenure, and advancement decisions. While summative peer review of teaching is more common, formative evaluations provide a valuable and underutilized way to improve teaching and learning.
How do I participate in peer review of teaching?
Pre-Review Critical Reflection and Perspective Gathering
- The CTT's instructional designers have extensive knowledge of teaching research and a broad range of experience that they can utilize to give you feedback on course materials or classroom observations. This type of review is especially helpful as an informal, low-stakes opportunity to get feedback before completing a more formal peer review, such as what might go in your dossier for reappointment or tenure.
- The Teaching Support Network is a group of instructors who have put significant effort and thought into their teaching practices and have offered to provide peer teaching support. They are available to discuss teaching issues or participate in the peer observation process.
- Find a teaching buddy. Set up an informal agreement with a trusted colleague who is also interested in reflecting on their teaching to discuss and give each other feedback on your courses.
The Formal Peer Review
- If you're having your teaching observed as part of a college or department expectation, a particular peer review protocol may have been identified. Check with your department chair to ensure you're following a departmental or college approved process if one has been selected.
- If your department or college has not identified a standard peer review of teaching protocol, UNL recommends using the Peer Observation Process that was developed by the Peer Evaluation of Teaching Task Force that includes a protocol for reviewing both in-person and online courses.
- For graduate students, the Teaching Development Program (TDP) connects you with a TDP consultant who will observe your teaching, give you feedback, and help you develop a plan to improve your teaching. At the end of the process, participants will have formal documentation of their teaching development.
Further Documenting Your Teaching Impact & Development
- The Faculty-led Inquiry into Reflective and Scholarly Teaching (FIRST) is a year-long, faculty-led program that allows you to reflect on and document your teaching through workshops, writing retreats, small group discussions with peers, and general discussions about pedagogy.
- The Reflective Practitioner Program (RPP) gives you the opportunity to engage in a variety of activities to further develop your teaching, including peer observations of teaching, teaching and learning workshops, the teaching support network, instructor development portfolios, learning communities, and an annual retreat. The program provides instructors the opportunity to be recognized for the work they do to develop their teaching and can be used as part of a formal review.