Peer Review

The peer review process was used for problem analysis. The process included an evaluation of current online course delivery for a sample of Bachelor of Education courses, two problem analysis discussions. Initial discussion was held with student peer Natalie Cassano (2016) using blog posts and comments to define the problem. An initial problem statement was identified:

How can an online learning environment be designed that enables students to learn?

Goodyear and Carvalho’s (2014) activity-centred analytic framework provided the lens to perform a sample online course review which in turn allowed the peer review discussions to be framed. The framework includes three designable elements of networked learning environments. One, the set design: the physical look and feel of the environment; two, the epistemic design: the tasks, knowledge and process; and three, the social design: the relationships and roles of teachers and students. Co-creation and co-configuration of the learning environment by participants is paramount to learning using this framework (Carvalho & Goodyear, 2014).

Sample course review: 3 courses each year level (12 courses)

The sample course review process provided an objective problem analysis from the point of view of a student navigating the site to discover content, assessment and activities to be performed online. The sample review revealed that the courses are information dense with little evidence of online student engagement, interaction or knowledge construction.

Online Course Review form (based on University of Western Sydney’s Basic Standards for Blended and Fully Online Learning Environments)

Problem analysis discussion: 1 hour meeting organised via contextualised email (14 Oct)

Problem analysis discussion with the School of Education Head confirmed the problems identified in the course review and indicated some causes such as staff turnover, difficulty in converting face-to-face teaching to online, use of technologies and workload. Regional students have complained about lack of engagement in online courses and desire face-to-face courses. Solutions suggested were a course audit, education course template and educational technology training for teaching staff.

Problem analysis discussion: 1 hour meeting (17 Oct)

The academic developer suggested that the audit/review can be used as an intervention strategy. To be accepted by teachers, stakeholders and evidence need to be included in the design. For example, using current good practice examples in schools, current exemplary courses/teaching. Rather than designing another template, she suggested trying to address: What is a good course site? What is a good review tool? What is missing/hidden from online teaching?

Peer Review Notes


The peer review problem analysis process steered me to investigate exemplary online courses, course review tools (Northcote, Seddon & Brown, 2011; OLC, 2016; Quality Matters, 2014; RMIT, 2016) and identify principles of good practice in teaching (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000; Chickering & Gamson, 1987; Race, 2010). Learning happens using diverse teaching strategies as diverse as each teacher’s pedagogy. To enable staff to design online environments for learning the diverse range of design and teaching strategies need emphasis. Teachers need to explicitly think about their current and preferred teaching strategies, the needs of the students, and the resources available to them (Bates, 2015). A (self) review tool will endeavour to recognise individual’s design and teaching strategies, map them against principles of good practice and enable connections to be build with peers and technologies that enable online learning.

My Design-based Research Proposal Mindmap


Bates, A. W. (2015). Teaching in the Digital Age. Tony Bates Associates Ltd. Retrieved from

Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. (Expanded Edition). Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

Carvalho, L., & Goodyear, P. (2014). The architecture of productive learning networks. New York, Routledge.

Cassano, N. (2016). Nat8117. Retrieved from

Chickering, A. W., & Gamson, Z. F. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. AAHE Bulletin, (3), 7.

Northcote, M., Seddon, J., & Brown, P. (2011). Benchmark yourself: Self-reflecting about online teaching. In G. Williams, P. Statham, N. Brown & B. Cleland (Eds.), Changing demands, changing directions. Proceedings ASCILITE Hobart 2011 (pp. 904-908). Hobart, Australia: Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education.

Online Learning Consortium (2016). Blended Learning Quality Scorecard. Retrieved from

Quality Matters (2014) Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric 5th edition. Retrieved from

Race, P. (2010) Making Learning Happen: a Guide for Post-compulsory Education. (2nd Edition). London: Sage Publications.

RMIT University (2016) Peer Review Dimensions of Teaching. Retrieved from;ID=nbzgaxw4n9t9.

University of Western Sydney (2016). Quality in Learning & Teaching Resources. Retrieved from


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