The peer review of teaching—like the peer review of research—is a widely accepted mechanism for promoting and assuring quality academic work and is required for the purpose of promotion and tenure at Penn State. The peer review process in resident instruction typically involves a faculty reviewer observing a peer’s classroom. The reviewer then summarizes her observations in a document that is to be included in the reviewee’s dossier.
To address the need for online course peer review in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Ann Taylor, a member of the Dutton Institute, has designed, implemented, and assessed a peer review process for online teaching. The Peer Review Guide for Online Teaching at Penn State is based on the “Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education,” a summary of 50 years of higher education research that addresses good teaching and learning practices. While instruments such as end-of-course surveys provide a measure of student satisfaction with a course, the Seven Principles provide a useful framework to evaluate the effectiveness of online teaching. Each adapted principle is described in detail in the Guide, including examples of evidence of how a principle may be met in an online course. Resources for additional information are also included.
The Peer Review Guide for Online Teaching at Penn State has been approved for University use by the Penn State Online Coordinating Council.
The Peer Review Guide for Online Teaching at Penn State is composed of two parts:
- An Instructor Input Form to be completed for the reviewer by the reviewee in advance of the peer review, and
- The actual Peer Review Guide for Online Teaching at Penn State, which is to be completed by the reviewer during the peer review.
- Peer Review Guide for Online Teaching at Penn State (Microsoft Word version that can be customized)
- Peer Review Guide for Online Teaching at Penn State ("as is" PDF version that can be filled in and saved)
Following the peer review, the reviewer summarizes her observations in a document that is to be included in the reviewee's dossier—identical to the procedure followed in resident instruction. (NOTE: The following examples are ficticious.)
Reviewers are encouraged to share the completed Guide with the reviewee, as well.
Are there other ways to use this tool?
While originally designed for formal peer reviews of teaching, this tool works well for informal reviews (e.g., asking a colleague to use the tool to give you feedback on a component of your teaching that you are working on) and self-review, as well. It is also a great resource to share with someone who is new to teaching face-to-face and/or in a hybrid format to communicate what good teaching looks like - in other words, to help them to see what they are "shooting for"!
Adapting these materials
The College's peer review resources are freely available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike 4.0 International License.
If you choose to download and use them, we would love to know more about how these materials might work for you. Please drop a note to Annie Taylor, Director of the Dutton Institute, at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can learn more about your experience!
Questions about these resources should be directed to Annie Taylor, Director of the Dutton Institute, at email@example.com.
Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike 3.0 License.
Please address questions and comments about this open educational resource to the site editor.Page Editor: Annie Taylor