The Development and Implementation of a Collegial Peer Review Model at the University of Tartu


  • Mari Karm
  • Ene Voolaid
  • Anu Sarv
  • Taavi Vaikjärv




Peer review of teaching is one possible way for university teachers to learn and develop. The purpose of it is to improve the quality of teaching, broaden teachers’ understanding of the learning process, complement their repertoire of teaching methods and develop teachers’ self-evaluation and reflection skills. At the same time, there is some hesitance among teachers regarding participation in collegial peer review, as the process may involve several risks, for example, insufficient preparation of participants, breach of confidentiality and a leak of observation notes. Several models can be used for peer review of teaching. At the University of Tartu, the model is applied where peer observations are integrated within the activities of the community of practice and academic developers are involved in the peer review process. The present paper introduces the model of peer review that is applied at the University of Tartu and the operation of this model is analysed by means of action research. The research is based on academic developers’ observation log notes and on focus group interviews with academic developers, with the resulting texts being analysed thematically. The article focuses on the following questions: • How do academic developers describe the functioning of the model of peer review used at the University of Tartu? • How do academic developers describe their role in the process of peer review? • What problems do academic developers face in the process of peer review? The results show that, according to the descriptions of academic developers, the peer review model used by the University of Tartu supports the professional development of the university teachers, as the peer observations and the meetings of the community of practice focus on the themes directly related to learning and teaching, such as learning from colleagues, creating links between the observations and community (of practice) meetings, understanding of the structure of the study process as a whole and of teaching concepts. In the work of the academic developer it is important to find a balance between support and pressure, as one needs to encourage colleagues to share their experience and to support the development of their reflection skills. While applying the peer review model at the University of Tartu, the academic developers have experienced difficulties in changing the organizational attitude towards the support of the university teachers’ learning and in keeping the process of peer review sustainable.



Download data is not yet available.