Peer Review

a photograph of a man belaying another man as he climbs the rocks

A man belays another man as he climbs the rocks. Photo by Volker Neumann. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

To guide and support faculty development in building online and blended courses in a way that meets Muhlenberg's standards for quality, we use a tool called the Open SUNY Course Quality Review (OSCQR) rubric.

The State University of New York (SUNY) system created OSCQR in order to establish some consistency in blended and online course design across its multitude of campuses. OSCQR is now available as a free, open source tool. It differs significantly from other widely used rubrics and measures for course quality, most especially in that it does not assign a score, is developmental rather than evaluative, and approaches online course design as an iterative and ongoing process.

One of the benefits of OSCQR is that it contains links to a repository of helpful course-building resources and examples. For this reason we strongly encourage you to refer to the OSCQR as your trail guide as you build your course.

You will notice that OSCQR contains 50 standards. We do NOT expect that your course will perfectly address all 50 standards. OSCQR helps to identify areas that will benefit from revision. Revisions are characterized as minor, moderate, or major and refer to the amount of time likely required to undertake the identified revision.

We want to emphasize that OSCQR is all about meeting the needs of learners -- all learners. It focuses feedback on online course design, not the instructor’s teaching.

Peer Review

Student centered learning, active and engaged learning, praxis -- are already widely valued and practiced within our environment at Muhlenberg College. Here, faculty reflect deeply and often about their courses -- individually and collaboratively -- and that reflective practice informs revision.

One of the best ways to improve online or blended course design skills is through peer review. Once our training course concludes, you will have opportunities to share your course designs with other faculty in your cohort, as well as our Faculty Digital Fellows. This review and recommendation process reflects the philosophy and practices across our various teaching and learning domains. From our own Digital Learning Assistants (DLAs), to the Writing Center, to the Muhlenberg College Center for Teaching and Learning (MCTL), we believe peer learning and proximal development is a foundational part of our pedagogical practice.

In the next module we will learn more about Teaching Presence, and turn fully toward the development of our online courses.