image of academic in class

Learning through collaboration: A case study in student peer review

Active, collaborative and engaged pedagogies are a goal of the ANU Teaching and Learning Strategy. To provide a practical example of what this can look like, Daniel Casey from the School of Politics & International Relations met with CLT to share his experience in facilitating an authentic peer learning approach in policy education.  

(Click here for text transcript)

In the video interview above, Daniel explains how as part of an assessment each student exchanges their own work with a peer, who reads and responds to it with particular focus on asking questions and getting clarifications as an educated layperson. As this exchange takes place in a capstone course where students can choose their own topic to work on, the level of existing knowledge the peer reviewer brings to a topic will resemble an authentic peer review scenario in the workplace.

In the actual workforce, very rarely do you just write your product, give it to your boss, end of story. [There’s] usually a process of interaction, iteration […] whether it be with your peer or your boss,” Daniel notes. He adds that this process not only helps students to improve their writing skills, but also to develop skills in peer reviewing. “People in the office often struggle to know […] how to receive feedback in an honest, positive way […] but also how to give feedback in a way that is constructive.”  

Daniel in class with students

Using peer review is not without its challenges. “It only works if the students do actually read the other person’s essay,” Daniel explains. But while a student stands to lose if their peer reviewer doesn’t participate, Daniel believes that this can actually help to encourage attendance. “There is a collective action thing going on.”  

I’d recommend that you try out this type of approach where you have a smallish class of committed, engaged, enthusiastic students.”

For another practical example of what active, collaborative and engaged pedagogies can look like, CLT chatted to Dr Thomas Nulley-Valdes from to the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics to share his experience in facilitating an inquiry-based learning approach to language education – learn about that here.

We invite ANU educators to contact us at to share their approach to facilitating active learning with the ANU community.   

Behind the scenes filming Daniel

March 2024

Hannah Simpson, Angela Stoddard and Rhys Fenwick education designers, Rafael Florez and Tangyao Zhang multimedia and communications officers from the Centre for Learning and Teaching.