Becoming a Teaching & Learning Inquiry Peer Reviewer

Teaching & Learning Inquiry welcomes reviewers who research, work, or teach in the field of SoTL. Recognizing the journal’s multidisciplinary readership and need for multiple perspectives that transcend subject expertise, reviewers may be asked to read submissions outside their disciplinary expertise. We assign three reviewers per submission and seek a mixture of nationalities and disciplinary backgrounds for each review.

To volunteer as a reviewer, please complete this form.

Peer Reviewing for Teaching & Learning Inquiry

As the journal of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL), Teaching & Learning Inquiry (TLI) asks its peer reviewers to hold high standards using the criteria below. This includes providing constructive criticism in a professional and collegial manner. Most articles published in TLI go through multiple rounds of review and we encourage our reviewers to approach the process with a mentoring mindset.

Teaching & Learning Inquiry publishes scholarly works on the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) in higher education. This includes original research, theory, or commentary and may include empirical and interpretive investigations, theoretical analyses, thought-provoking essays, works about the state of the field, or innovative genres. See Submission Types for more information.

All manuscript submissions to TLI should have a clear link to SoTL. Reviewers are encouraged to comment on the following aspects of the manuscript:

  • Does it make a clear main claim?
  • Does it have clear goals and purpose?
  • Does it have a cohesive progression of ideas?
  • Does it engage with and contribute to existing SoTL scholarship?
  • Is it clearly situated in its context for readers who may be in other contexts?
  • Is the submission written in clear and accessible language?
  • Is the writing inclusive and inviting for TLI’s diverse, international, multidisciplinary, and multilingual audiences? (See Writing for Diverse Audiences).

In addition, where appropriate, reviewers are encouraged to comment on the following aspects of the manuscript:

  • Is the project focused on a well-defined aspect of teaching and student learning (e.g., disciplinary knowledge, skill development, learning attitudes or habits)?
  • Is it grounded in both the particular context of the inquiry and the scholarly context of relevant SoTL literature, research, and scholarship?
  • Is it methodologically sound through an explicit, intentional, and rigorous application of research tools that are appropriate to the question, context, and/or researcher(s)’s discipline?

Reviewers are asked to select one of the following categories: accept submission, revisions required, revise and resubmit, resubmit elsewhere, or decline submission. Here is what each category means:

  • Accept submission - Manuscript is ready to be sent to the copyediting stage.
  • Revisions required - The reviewer recommends changes, but does not recommend another round of review. The assigned editor will decide whether to send the revised manuscript to the reviewers for a second round.
  • Revise and resubmit  - The reviewer recommends substantial changes in the manuscript (e.g., content, structure, overall argument) that warrants another round of reviews before making a recommendation regarding publication. The reviewer might request additional changes or recommend declining the manuscript after reviewing the revised submission. TLI cannot guarantee that the manuscript will be re-reviewed by the original reviewers, but we every effort to do so.
  • Resubmit elsewhere - The reviewer thinks that the manuscript is not well suited for TLI.
  • Decline submission - The reviewer considers the manuscript not ready for publication.

Guidelines for Reviewing Posters

In 2023, TLI began accepting submissions of posters presented at the most recent annual ISSOTL conference and has developed the following criteria for peer review. In addition to presenting scholarly content with clear connections to SoTL, submissions must adhere to all Journal Policies and TLI Author Guidelines.

  • Scholarly Communication
    • Communicates in a simple, clear, and effective way that appeals to a broad audience.
    • Prioritizes visual communication methods and creative approaches to layout.
    • Uses a minimum number of fonts (e.g., no more than 2 font families). Preferences sans serif typefaces (such as Arial) for readability. Uses bold and italic typefaces sparingly and for emphasis or literary purposes.
    • Uses color effectively.
    • Removes unnecessary design elements. 
    • Includes blank or negative space to draw the reader’s attention to important elements. Limits text on top of cluttered background or images.
    • Effectively guides viewers through presented information (e.g., headings, signposting). See, for example, Principles of Design.
  • Clear and Direct
    • Tells a clear story. This may mean focusing on only some elements of a larger or more complex project. 
    • Considers the distance from which a reader will initially view the poster. For example, includes a hero image or larger graphic element to convey the central meaning of the story from afar.
    • Visually communicates information and data where possible (e.g., diagrams, illustrations, charts, photographs, and infographics). 
    • Limits the amount of information conveyed through a single photograph or diagram. 
    • Uses terminology that is accessible to a broad, international, multidisciplinary audience.
    • Is succinct; avoids long paragraphs or sentences.
    • Tell a complete story such that the poster and its main message(s) are informative on their own.
  • SoTL Research
    • Grounds research in current SoTL scholarship.
    • Clearly conveys method, data, and findings.
  • Abstract
    • Introduces SoTL research, context, process, and key findings (300-500 words).
    • Places research in current SoTL literature.
  • Accessible
    • Accessible by screen readers, including alt text for images.
    • Uses appropriately sized titles, section titles, figures, and text. Uses a consistent hierarchy for headings, subheadings, body copy, and captions.
  • PDF Format
    • File should be submitted as a single PDF, but may include links or QR codes to additional resources or materials.

Thank you for taking the time to support TLI and your peers.

~ The Editorial Team, Teaching & Learning Inquiry


Here are two examples of thoughtful reviews that demonstrate a developmental, mentoring mindset.


Firstly, thank you for considering TLI as the journal for your publication. Your work reflects an important and interesting topic within the broader SoTL literature. Your submission triggers a range of thoughts and reflections around feedback practices from an instructor perspective. As noted in the title you restrict your writing to the emotions experienced by instructors when delivering written feedback. As TLI encourages an international audience, it may be useful to carefully and clearly define the term instructor. This has different meanings in different geographical regions. 

It is clear that you have provided an international perspective to your writing by including, purposefully, instructors from the USA, UK and Canada. In assessing the value of the submission to the growing field of SoTL research, it would be necessary to consider how the global higher education assessment landscape is changing. There is a move towards a more diverse assessment pattern which enables students to co-design authentic assessment. Your work tends to marginalize assessment to written formats and focuses on instructor reaction to this specific format for assessment. Your work would be strengthened if a more diverse and dynamic approach to recording feedback was considered. For example, if the title of the work reflected instructor emotion to giving feedback, this may enable you to consider how students react and receive feedback in different formats and equally how staff may react to providing feedback in different formats. I recognise this may not have been the intention of your work, but would provide a greater understanding of emotion within the feedback process.

You may wish to further consider "compassion pedagogy" within your submission. Your methodology and analyses are suitable for the study, but could equally be strengthened through some quantitative data showing grades and summative assessment outcomes. Your work does not fully explain class size, which may be important in terms of connecting feedback with workload. A table to illustrate class size, number of assessments, time for providing feedback (i.e. late at night), and experience of the instructor would be useful in supporting the analysis of the data.

It is clear that you draw a range of significant findings from your data and connect these to the literature you cite. You further provide some broad recommendations for how your work and findings need to be considered within Universities. I would suggest you need to conclude the article with specific interventions that would enhance the provision of feedback from an instructor perspective. [...] The paper is an interesting addition to the SoTL literature, but requires a more focused analysis of how the findings connect with specific interventions in the conclusion.



Thank you so much for the opportunity to read and review this article on such an important and timely topic: students’ behavior and learning experiences in online courses. As online education keeps gaining more ground in higher education around the world, faculty struggle to keep their students engaged with the course content and to continue to interact with them and their peers. This article offers a lot of research-based pedagogical practices for faculty across the disciplines. I always appreciate those efforts that can potentially benefit faculty interested in enhancing their pedagogy, especially in online courses.

My feedback is going to be a bit different because I’d like to see this article take a slightly different perspective and approach. I’ll present my feedback on particular sections later.

Main Argument/Structure: As I continued to read this manuscript, I began to see how it is structured vs. how it should be structured. While the authors present this article as a case study of pedagogical partnership between an academic member and a student, what I found myself reading was in fact a study about students’ behavior and learning experiences in an online class. That study was conducted by the two partners mentioned in the article. Yet, this article is NOT about the partnership as far as I can gather from what I read. It is about understanding students’ behavior in an online course.

Here's what I think the authors did: they designed a research project in which one faculty member partnered with a student to examine students’ behavior and learning experiences in an online course. While they listed five partnership activities, the focus of these activities were students’ behavior and learning activities rather than the partnership itself. I’d envision an article on the partnership to focus more on what each partner contributed to the partnership and what they both learned from the experience in terms of their work and contributions rather than students’ behavior.

Three major points solidify and support my thoughts:

1)  The theoretical framework is all about student learning models.

2)  The Results are majorly focused on the students’ experiences unpacked by the two partners.

3)  The Discussion section is exclusively about students’ experiences in online courses and how faculty can use the partnership model and interventions in their own online courses. There was no discussion whatsoever of the partnership or its significance beyond what the student partnered did with the reports and on the various course platforms.

What I mean to say is that the partnership was a vehicle for the academic partner to learn about their students while the student partner’s role was not highlighted in an article that promised to be about a pedagogical partnership.

I think this article needs to be revised to be about the results of the study as presented in this article and to perhaps discuss the partnership details in another publication.

Section-focused feedback:

It’s worth mentioning that I wrote the feedback below before I concluded that the article was not really about the partnership. I’m sharing it with the authors for their consideration and hope they find it useful.

I’d like to see a particular definition of “pedagogical partnerships” that the authors are adopting in this article and a strong rationale for selecting this term over the others they listed. These details would help the reader engage with the article at a deeper level while thinking about how this specific form of pedagogical partnerships may be applied to their own context. As the authors acknowledge, there are various forms and terms for these academic partnerships, so it’s important to explain the one selected for this study.

In the introduction, it is not clear why the authors talk about anonymity in online classes. While anonymity in online environments may be common, it is not now possible in online classes due to the use of the university’s LMS. These platforms are accessible only through the use of each student’s credentials, thus negating the possibility of anonymity as we know it on social media or open-forum spaces. I also find it confusing that the authors mentioned this issue without it being related to the context or focus of their study or to the concept of pedagogical partnership. At least I didn’t see that relation.

I struggled to understand how the two research questions are interconnected. Now that I’ve finished reading the article, I can see that they ARE disconnected and that this article should be squarely about RQ1 as I discussed earlier.

Under Materials and Methods, I expected the authors to provide us with details about this partnership model. They mentioned the “academic partner” and the student partner” without providing more details about the role. And then there was a mention of “student partners” whom I assume would be students enrolled in the course under study. A more detailed discussion of these roles and the responsibilities of each is really needed here.

Similarly, I’d like to see some explanation of three platforms selected for the delivery of this course. Technological access and accessibility may be a major inhibiting factor for many faculty and students around the world. If the authors are interested in other faculty adopting or transferring their model of partnership to their context, such explanation will help faculty make informed decisions about the technologies available for them and students and the adaptations required to make this model successful under varied circumstances.

Once again, thanks for the opportunity to read this article and learn from the study on online students.