Peer Review of Teaching

Peer Review of Teaching

Peer review of teaching is the written assessment of a class observation which takes into account some of the contextual material informing the class (such as the syllabus, select Canvas materials, and information from the instructor). For online asynchronous courses, observation is a Canvas course review.

It’s an opportunity to give and receive constructive feedback from a colleague. And, because UO has a criteria-based teaching evaluation system, it’s a crucial occasion to gather information about professional, inclusive, engaged, and research-informed teaching practices that can add dimension to information from students and faculty members themselves. To support your observation and feedback, this page offers:

Recommended Peer Review Template

TEP and UO Online offer a peer review template as a resource (view as a pdf or download as a Word document). You can use it to:

  • observe any course, regardless of modality (in person, online asynchronous, etc). 
  • recognize teaching practices that align with professional, inclusive, engaged, and research-informed standards. 
  • structure specific, collegial conversations between instructors. 
  • prompt self-reflection. 

Depending on unit norms, peer reviewers might submit the completed Peer Review Template itself as the peer review observation and report; alternatively, the template might inform a separate written report.  

Interspersed through the template are partial inventories of teaching practices that are professional, inclusive, and research-informed, along with references to research showing the link between these practices and enhanced learning. Many of the references contain suggestions for implementing the practices.

Suggestions for using this template to observe a class session

Suggestions for using this guide to observe a class session 

Before the observation of a class (if synchronous) or Canvas course (if fully online), peer reviewers should: 

  • Communicate with the instructor being reviewed about timeline, process, priorities and materials that will be used in the review.  
  • The instructor being reviewed should know when you’ll visit their class or screen Canvas materials and have a chance to tell you directly their goals with this slice of instruction. They should also identify key aspects of their teaching they’ve been developing. Peer reviews can give feedback on these areas and note ideas for improvement, too—these stories of reflection, iteration, and change are essential examples of engaged teaching.
  • Give your colleague a chance to note any pandemic impacts on them or the class that they want included in the record of the review. 
  • Peer review should be selective, not exhaustive. When your colleague’s teaching is formally evaluated, your efforts to document some specific examples of professional, inclusive, and research-informed practices will deepen the picture that emerges of their achievement in teaching. Plan to draw these examples from multiple sites—say the class meeting itself, the syllabus, and the discussion forums on Canvas. Indeed, because Canvas use is required for all undergraduate courses with five or more students, we recommend that the instructor being reviewed add the peer reviewer to the Canvas course site as a Teaching Assistant (if you have questions about adding a user to your Canvas course, see  this Canvas guidance or call 541-346-1942). Peer reviewers are expected to respect the Student Records Privacy Policy for Faculty and Staff. 

During and immediately after the observation, peer reviewers can: 

  • Perform a “fact-based” observation during class: record what the instructor and students do, examples used, etc. while keeping this guide beside you to remind you what to look for.  

  • Fill in the form that starts on page 2 of this document, adding comments and notes to give a more complete picture of the class session (if synchronous) or observed modules (if fully online). 

After the observation, peer reviewers might consider: 

  • Meeting with the instructor to discuss your observations, including any practices the instructor requested you look for, and to identify one or two areas that the session seemed to be supporting objectives effectively in and one or two areas the instructor might want to work on.

Other Peer Review of Teaching Example Documents

UO's Department of Human Physiology uses nationally recognized self assessment and peer review instruments designed for STEM--and compelling across disciplines as examples of drawing the reviewer’s attention to specific, itemized "actions" of teachers and learners.

  Human Physiology example documents
Review Procedure HPHY Department Procedures (Word doc - PDF File)
Observation Instrument Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (Excel file Example COPUS file with dummy data)
Self-Assessment Teaching Practices Inventory
Report HPHY Department Template (Word docPDF File)
Workload Expectation for Review 5 – 6 hours
For more more information contact: Sierra Dawson

An annotated list of other available observation instruments, self-assessment tools, self-efficacy scales, and instruments for graduate student teacher development and self-efficacy can be found on the Stanford Weiman Group's Teaching Practice Inventory. The instruments on the list have generally been extensively tested for reliability and validity.