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Peer Review

Case studies

The following five case studies present the experiences of some of the academics involved in this project in five Australian universities. The cases show examples of peer reviews that took place as part of the development and testing of the processes and resources from this project. They illustrate the benefits and challenges of peer review in different disciplinary, and learning contexts in face-to-face, blended and fully online environments. Some of the case studies also include links to documents that showing how teachers and reviewers have used the project templates and resources. All case studies have been de-identified.

A blended Health Sciences subject

This formative review of an online component of a second year clinical subject that is principally delivered face to face was done with a more senior colleague. The review took place as part of a series of reciprocal reviews within a team teaching environment, which mirrors the professions own collaborative team-based approach.

A blended Communications subject

This case presents an extensive of a blended Communication subject that was both formative and summative. The first review described here was ultimately used as evidence for an award application. This review led on to a four-stage review process with three reviewers, including a cross-disciplinary reciprocal review and further reviews are planned. Some of the observations that have emerged from this teachers experience of being a reviewee include an appreciation of the PR framework as a useful visualisation tool for review and reflection, and of the value of conversation with self and colleague (critical friend) provided in the ‘structured place’ of the PR. In this case study this has enabled the teacher to articulate what is most valuable in her subject, and what needs further refinement. This review illustrates the ongoing nature of formative reviews, and that they can also be used for summative purposes.

A face to face studio based subject

This presents a teaching team's review of their own introductory studio-based subject in Communication Design which is taught mainly face to face. This review was a formative activity for a pair of teachers who had recently completed a Graduate Certificate Teaching and Learning and were keen to build upon those experiences of collaborative peer review. The peer review framework provided a way to focus and formalise the reflective discussions they were already engaging in together. Through this process they were able to discover ways they needed to change the subject and documented this process for sharing with others. They became keen participants in an ongoing School peer review initiative.

A postgraduate science education subject

In this case a formative review of a blended clinical subject took place in a close team environment. A senior colleague reviewed supplementary online resources in the context of this subject, and also took into account the following subject that she teaches which builds upon the learning outcomes of the subject being reviewed here. This review utilised the project documentation to structure informal reviews that happen as a matter of course within this group.

An online Engineering subject

This is a guided review in a subject that has been redeveloped for offering entirely online to a very diverse range of students at different levels. This review was initially intended to be summative in order to gather evidence for promotion. However, with pans for sharing the subject outside the School, it became a curriculum review opportunity. This teacher found working through a structured peer review process with an academic developer invaluable. The very different perspective of a trusted colleague enabled him think more deeply about how to achieve what he wanted for his students and how he could provide evidence of this in the future.