Teaching and Learning Online

The Education Enhancement Team at the University of Strathclyde have incorporated peer review as an activity for participants submitting project proposals in the Teaching and Learning Online (TALON) module for the Post-graduate Certificate in Advanced Academic Studies. A pre-requisite for this module is the completion of a 6 week online course, TALON (part 1) which provides experience of online teaching and learning tools and of being an online student and also raises pedagogic issues related to online learning. The peer review exercise is both a learning process within the TALON course, as it is a productive way of providing participants with rich feedback on their own project proposals, and a way of raising awareness amongst academic staff of the benefits of peer review as they experience this activity from a student perspective. It is hoped that that by personally experiencing the benefits of peer review, participants will consider integrating it within their own teaching. 


Department: Education Enhancement

Module: Teaching and Learning Online (part 2) - PG Certificate in Advanced Academic Studies

Students: Participants are university staff with some involvement in teaching. They complete the peer review activity in small groups following completion of TALON (part 1) - a 6 week course delivered online. Group sizes have varied between 3 and 10 over the last year.

Task: Having completed the 6 week TALON (part 1) course participants consider how they will take forward their experiences and learning in designing, implementing and evaluating activities for their own students in a project that forms the activity and assessment of the TALON online (part 2) module. The peer reviewing activity informs the project proposal procedure. Participants produce and submit a draft project proposal using a given template. The are then allocated draft project proposals from two other participants to review. The submission and peer reviewing is completed through Moodle workshop activity software. Following the reviewing process participants amend their proposals before submitting a final version. During the project proposal phase, participants can discuss the proposals with course tutors. No marks are allocated for completion of the peer reviews. However, the module is graded on a Satisfactory/Not Satisfactory basis and completion of the reviewing activity is necessary for a satisfactory grade.

Peer Review: The peer reviewing is completed anonymously although with small numbers completing the activity and the context of the proposals it is easy for participants to 'guess' whose proposal they are reviewing, although not so easy to guess who the reviewers are. Participants often know each other well having completed TALON part 1 together. The participants provide comments on 4 aspects of the project proposal; background information and context; intended activities, outcomes and use of technologies; informing research, evaluation and reflection activities; project aims and objectives. After peer reviewing of the draft project proposals participants produce the final proposal. Tutors provide additional comments on the proposals only when this is seen to be necessary.

Findings: To date feedback on the activity has been informal although very positive. The following quote is representative of what participants say 'I found the reviewing process helpful..having reviewed...[the] proposals I can see areas that I will have to improve/work on in my own proposal. This exercise has bee valuable and is certainly a good learning experience' 

Improvements: A formal evaluation of the activity by all future participants is planned.

Software: Moodle Workshop activity

Departmental Leader and Learning Technology Contact:: Dr Sue Barnes, Education Enhancement sue.barnes@strath.ac.uk