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Facilitating peer reviews online with PEAR

Monday, May 31 at 10:15 AM - Room 1140, Desmarais Hall

The use of peer review in the classroom has a recognizable benefit with the potential to improve both students' critical thinking and writing skills. However, the management of such a project (especially with large class sizes) can prove overwhelming with limited resources and staff. To cope with this problem, the University of Guelph’s Teaching Support Services (TSS) has developed an online peer review application called PEAR (Peer Evaluation, Assessment & Review). With the use of PEAR, much of the administration of a peer review project is facilitated and automated by the system. The application includes:


  • predefined automated dates (submission start, due, late and release)
  • accepting and tracking of submission of multiple documents and formats throughout the stages of the project
  • assignment and distribution of submissions to peer-reviewers (anonymously if desired) and/or instructors
  • email confirmations and notifications throughout the process
  • creation of custom grading forms by the instructor for each state of the review, allowing for group and self-assessment
  • grade calculation and export functions


PEAR has also been integrated with our learning management system (D2L) through its web services. This has made development easier, more functional and practical than it would have been on its own, allowing us to pull class, group, role and user information from D2L as an authoritative source. In short, PEAR has simplified the administration of peer review projects, not only freeing time and resources but also opening peer review to larger first- and second-year courses which may have been too large to manage without such a system.

Presented by:
Rich Couto, University of Guelph