While peer review and comment by colleague is routinely used in research, it is also a valuable process in the teaching arena, particularly in terms of evaluating teaching effectiveness. Pat Hutchings, who directed the Teaching Initiative of the AAHE, stated, "The peer review of teaching can, in its most powerful forms, be less a matter of judging teachers than of improving teaching, with the focus moving increasingly to ways we can help each other improve the quality of our collective contribution to students’ learning." We invite you to become part of a community of scholars who can assess teaching with respect to improved student learning by commenting on or formally reviewing a course portfolio in the repository.

In this section:

External Comments Quick insight and reaction to a portfolio
External Review Detailed written assessment of a portfolio

External Comments

When reviewing the portfolios in the repository, we invite you to submit an informal comment to a course portfolio author. Your immediate insight and reaction to a course portfolio provides the author informal feedback on his/her teaching approaches, is useful for highlighting the significant issues of a portfolio, and offers the opportunity for peer exchange of teaching ideas and issues. To submit a comment, select the “Click Here” button on the bottom of a portfolio’s description page. You will be asked whether the author can include your comment on his/her portfolio description page – with or without your name. By allowing a portfolio author to post your comment will allow future reader to learn from your reaction to the portfolio.

External Review

Similar to the external review of a scholarly publication or grant application, an external review of a course portfolio is a written assessment of a faculty member’s effort at documenting the student learning that occurred in one of their courses.  We invite you to write a formal external review of any of the portfolios on the project website.  In writing an external review of a course portfolio, we have found that the review is most useful when the assessment is structured in terms of four general categories:

  • course intellectual content
  • quality of teaching practices
  • quality of student understanding
  • evidence of reflective consideration and development. 

In structuring your review, an optional guideline is available to help structure your review.  Not all portfolios will contain evidence of all of the outlined characteristics, so please use your judgment in deciding whether or not to address a topic in your response.

Not all portfolios will contain evidence of all of the outlined characteristics, so please use your judgment in deciding whether or not to address a topic in your response.

The reactions, comments, and suggestions included in the external review are an invaluable guide for a course portfolio author to improve their teaching practices, to refine the documentation in their course portfolio, and to aid in the development of the course itself. Excluding project personnel, the portfolio author will be the only individual who will see your response. As such, this summative review offers low-stakes feedback to a portfolio author on how her teaching practices are represented in the portfolio and on how well the portfolio presents an argument and/or offers evidence for one’s teaching. Your frank but constructive reactions to what is presented will be very helpful in the development of the course and the course portfolio.  It is your option as to whether the author will know your identity.

Once complete, you may send the review to us and we will forward it to the portfolio author.


Peer Review of Teaching Project
175 Nebraska Hall
P.O. Box 880518
Lincoln, NE 68588-0518