Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Information for Peer REVIEWERS

Guidelines for Peer Reviewers

Peer Review of teaching is one way that CSU academics applying for promotion can provide evidence of their effective teaching practice for their promotion applications. Peer Review Reports are additional information and evidence for the relevant Promotion Panels. Your role as a Peer Reviewer is central to the process of providing this evidence.

The Flowchart of Peer Review Process provides an overview of the complete Peer Review process from seeking a Peer Reviewer to receiving a Peer Review Report.

To better understand the processes involved in acting as a Peer Reviewer (Learning and Teaching or Discipline focused), please review the attached Guidelines and Hints & Tips document, or the below FAQ.

Prior to the observation

How will I know if I’ve been selected to conduct a Peer Review?

You will be contacted by PeerReview@csu.edu.au to confirm your availability. The potential Peer Reviewee will then contact you directly, requesting your review and providing options about possible dates and venues. Please respond immediately indicating your availability to conduct the Peer Review.

Who organises the pre-observation meeting?

The Peer Reviewee organises the pre-observation meeting. The Peer Reviewee will contact you to set up a meeting at a convenient time. This meeting could be conducted face-to-face, by phone or by Skype.

What do I need to do to prepare for the pre-observation meeting?

It is vital for the Peer Review that you have a sound knowledge of the Dimensions of Teaching:

How much do I need to know about the Peer Reviewee and the subject they are teaching?

You are not expected to have prior knowledge of the teacher or the subject. There is an expectation that, as a Peer Reviewer, you will read through relevant provided subject or course documentation.

If you are Peer Reviewing a teacher’s synchronous online teaching session or asynchronous online subject activity, you will be provided with access to the Interact2 site.

What is my role in the pre-observation meeting?

The Peer Reviewee must provide the following information:

  • Confirmation of the details on the front page of the respective Peer Review Report Template:
  • Confirmation of the Dimensions of Teaching to be observed.
    Note that there is a Dimension 10, which allows applicants to compose another dimension to be observed that is not covered by the other nine dimensions. If the applicant chooses Dimension10, they must provide a single sentence statement in the Report.
  • Receive a verbal overview of the subject, including what stage it is at, what has been covered so far with the students, and how that is relevant to the session or subject activity/ies that you as the Peer Reviewer will review. Information will include the student cohort, the learning space and teaching approach(es) that might further inform the review.
  • Face-to-face or synchronous online session: The intended learning outcomes and specific objectives of the session. This information may be given verbally as you are not expected to read extensive course documentation
  • Asynchronous online subject activity: Identify where to look in the Interact2 subject site; and the Reviewee’s role in the design and development of the subject component(s).

You can ask questions of the Peer Reviewee during the meeting to gain a more informed perspective on the upcoming teaching session or asynchronous online subject activity for review, or if you feel some necessary information has not been provided.

During the observation

What is the purpose of my role in an observation?

Your primary role is to document how the teacher demonstrates effective practice in relation to the Dimensions of Teaching that have been agreed upon in the pre-observation meeting.

You are there to provide evidence of the Peer Review observation through completion of your Peer Review Report, which will be included in academic promotion documentation applications. It is not appropriate to comment on whether the Reviewee should be promoted.

Face-to-face or synchronous online session

How long do I attend a teaching session?

The Peer Review will usually comprise a single teaching observation of one hour. There is no expectation that you attend an entire session if it exceeds one hour.  The Peer Reviewee can determine whether you will attend for more than one hour if the session exceeds one hour, and which part of the session you will attend.

How will I be perceived by the students in the class?

Reviewees have been advised to tell their students that a CSU colleague is interested in observing how teaching is undertaken in different disciplines. You are advised to remain as unobtrusive as possible throughout the Peer Review.

Do reviewees have to demonstrate each Dimension of Teaching separately?

Note that the Dimensions of Teaching that will be demonstrated during a Peer Review observation will at times overlap, i.e. the Reviewee will sometimes demonstrate more than one teaching dimension at a time.

What if something disrupts the teaching observation?

If something unexpected significantly disrupts the teaching observation (e.g. having to stop the class for a time, which then impacts on the teaching and your observation, because a student falls ill, a power failure occurs, or a fire drill/alarm), the class should proceed following the incident. After the session, the Reviewee can organise a post-observation meeting to discuss whether the unexpected incident affected their ability to teach the session as planned. If you agree that another review should be held, then organise a mutually acceptable alternative time.

What if I can’t attend the Peer Review?

If you cannot attend the peer review due to illness or sudden crisis, please notify (email or phone) the Reviewee as soon as possible.

Asynchronous online subject activity

When is the Peer Review undertaken?

The Peer Review will usually comprise up to two hours of asynchronous online subject activity undertaken over a defined time-frame determined by the Peer Reviewee in discussion with you.

Do Reviewees have to demonstrate each Dimension of Teaching separately?

The Dimensions of Teaching that will be demonstrated during a Peer Review observation will at times overlap, i.e. the Reviewee will sometimes demonstrate more than one teaching dimension at a time.

What if something disrupts the observation?

If something unexpected disrupts the Peer Review significantly (e.g. Interact2 failure, staff illness, staff crisis), the Reviewee can organise a post-observation meeting to discuss whether the unexpected incident affected the Peer Review as planned. If you agree that another review should be held, then organise a mutually acceptable alternative occasion.

What if I can’t undertake the Peer Review?

If you cannot undertake the Peer Review due to illness or sudden crisis, please notify (email or phone) the Peer Reviewee as soon as possible.

After the observation

How much time do I have to submit my peer review report?

Peer Reviewers are requested to submit their Peer Review Report within two weeks of the observation. The Peer Reviewer can meet the Peer Reviewee to discuss the Peer Review Report.