Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Pre-observation information for reviewers

What will I be doing as part of this process?

The first thing to remember is that this is a formative peer review and you are acting as a critical friend. You are there to support and encourage your peer through feedback and constructive suggestions. All conversations between you and the reviewee regarding the review are confidential.

  • Pre-observation meeting – maybe over a coffee
  • Peer review observation
  • Post-observation meeting – again over coffee or lunch
  • Written report provided to reviewee

What processes and resources do I need to observe and access?

Meet with reviewee prior to observation to establish focus of the review and the logistics. You will need to have read the Dimensions of Teaching (pdf) prior to this meeting.

After the peer observation provide the reviewee with the written feedback - guided by the Peer Review Report Template (doc). Note that the written report that you provide the reviewee does not need to follow this format and does not need to include the checkboxes.

Can I have a reciprocal relationship with the reviewee?

Ideally the relationship between reviewer and reviewee is that of equals willing to learn from each other. You may find it useful for the reviewee to reciprocate by reviewing your teaching. Even if you don't wish to undertake a peer review process, it may be useful to have your peer sit in on one of your classes.

How do I prepare for the review?

If a colleague has asked you to assist as a reviewer and the reviewee has not made contact with you then contact them to set up an initial pre-observation planning and discussion meeting.

Prior to this planning meeting the reviewer and reviewee must have read the Dimensions of Teaching (pdf) as this will underpin the planning that will take place in the pre-observation meeting.

At the pre-observation meeting the following questions should be discussed:

  • How does this class fit in with the overall course?
  • What do you want the students to learn by the end of this class? Are the outcomes clear?
  • How will class time be used? What can the reviewer expect to see? Are there any teaching materials the teacher has prepared that may be relevant for the reviewer to see?
  • What pre-class assignments or preparation for students, if any, are required?
  • Are there specific aspects of this class or your teaching style on which you would like to receive feedback?
  • Which of the Dimensions of Teaching (pdf) would you like the review to focus on?
  • Are there any additional dimensions that you would like feedback on e.g. Graduate Learning Outcomes
  • Anything else the reviewee wishes to clarify or focus on regards this class?


Check and refine logistics for observation and post-observation meeting – time, place, and length of observation (generally an hour).

What will the reviewee tell the students about the observer in the class?

Depending on the size and nature of the class the reviewee could explain that the observer is here to observe the lecturer, or if the reviewee thinks this may influence who the students react he/she could, for example, tell the class that the observer is there to observe how teaching is undertaken in this discipline as distinct from other disciplines.

What does the reviewee intend to do with the reviewer's written report?

The reviewee is in control here and unless he/she chooses to share it the report and discussions are totally confidential. However, if the reviewee potentially intend to make your report available to others they should let the reviewer know this in advance. Any agreements made at pre-observation meetings or discussions should be  recorded on the Peer Review Report Template (doc) and abided by during the observation.