Peer Online Course Review (POCR)

Peer Online Course Review (POCR) is a program facilitated through the California Virtual Campus (CVC) aimed at enhancing online instruction and improving the quality of online courses. POCR involves a collaborative peer review process where faculty members evaluate each other's online courses based on established criteria and best practices in online education. By participating in POCR, instructors gain valuable feedback and insights to refine their course design, content delivery, and instructional strategies, ultimately fostering a more engaging and practical online learning experience for students. This initiative underscores CVC's commitment to supporting faculty development and promoting excellence in online education across the California higher education community.


  • Background

    Peer Online Course Review (POCR) was established in 2014 by the CVC-OEI Professional Development Workgroup to ensure that students in the California Community College system have access to high-quality online courses designed to support student learning and success. 

    Courses that have undergone a thorough "Quality Review" process and received accreditation will be prominently featured on the CVC Exchange platform. This designation serves as a visible badge of excellence, signaling to students and educators alike that these courses meet stringent quality standards and have been endorsed by the California Virtual Campus. Badged courses rise to the top of the list, potentially increasing your enrollments.

    POCR Review Sections

    The official Peer Online Course Review (POCR) encompasses four primary sections, each targeting distinct facets of online course quality and efficacy:

    Section A: Course Presentation

    This section encompasses 14 key criteria that must align for a course to receive certification. It evaluates the arrangement of objectives, ease of navigation, availability of student support services, and more. Ensuring coherence across these criteria enhances the overall presentation and accessibility of the course content.

    Section B: Student Interaction

    Comprising six essential components, Section B is pivotal in determining the course's badge eligibility. It examines aspects such as pre-course communication, frequency of meaningful interaction between instructors and students, opportunities for student-initiated communication, and other factors crucial for fostering an engaging and interactive learning environment.

    Section C: Assessment Practices

    With eight integral components, Section C evaluates the effectiveness of the course's assessment strategies. It scrutinizes elements such as the authenticity, validity, diversity, and timeliness of assessments, as well as the quality of feedback provided to students. Ensuring alignment with these criteria enhances the fairness and reliability of the course evaluation process.

    Section D: Accessibility

    The Accessibility section emphasizes the removal of barriers to learning for all students. Ensuring full accessibility of course materials and resources is paramount, promoting inclusivity and accommodating diverse learning needs. Compliance with accessibility standards ensures that all students have equal access to course content and resources, regardless of their individual abilities or circumstances.

    By addressing the requirements outlined in each of these sections, instructors can enhance the overall quality, effectiveness, and inclusivity of their online courses, ultimately providing students with a more enriching and accessible learning experience.

    The POCR Review

    POCR reviewers conduct a comprehensive examination of the submitted course, meticulously analyzing each section of the POCR rubric to assess alignment with established standards. If a standard is deemed aligned by consensus, no further revisions are required from the instructor of record. Nevertheless, the review team frequently offers recommendations for enhancement. However, if reviewers identify a standard as not aligned by consensus, the faculty member must implement the suggested revisions to progress through the POCR review process. This rigorous evaluation ensures that courses meet the criteria for quality and effectiveness outlined in the POCR rubric, ultimately enhancing the overall online learning experience for students.

    Teaching Modality

    In order for a persons course to go through the POCR process at Taft College it must be taught in an online modality:

    • Online: Delivery of academic courses and programs through digital platforms and resources over the internet. It allows students to access course materials, interact with instructors and peers, complete assignments, and participate in assessments remotely, using computers or other internet-enabled devices.


  • What's in it for you?

    Participating in the Peer Online Course Review (POCR) certification offers numerous benefits for faculty members:

    1. Professional Development: Engaging in the POCR process provides valuable opportunities for professional growth and skill enhancement in online course design and delivery.

    2. Feedback and Improvement: Faculty receive constructive feedback from peers, helping them identify strengths and areas for improvement in their online courses, leading to continuous enhancement of instructional quality.

    3. Recognition and Accreditation: Successfully completing the POCR certification signifies a commitment to excellence in online education and provides official recognition of the quality of one's courses, enhancing faculty members' professional reputation.

    4. Enhanced Student Engagement: Implementing recommendations from POCR reviews can lead to the development of more engaging and interactive online courses, fostering increased student engagement and satisfaction.

    5. Community and Collaboration: Participation in POCR cultivates a sense of community among faculty members, facilitating collaboration, knowledge sharing, and the exchange of best practices in online teaching and learning.

    6. Alignment with Institutional Goals: Faculty members who undergo POCR certification demonstrate alignment with institutional priorities and initiatives related to online education, contributing to the advancement of institutional goals and objectives.

    7. Professional Fulfillment: Successfully completing the POCR certification can instill a sense of professional fulfillment and accomplishment, reaffirming faculty members' commitment to delivering high-quality online education.

  • What's in it for students?

    Students who enroll in courses that have received Peer Online Course Review (POCR) certification can expect numerous benefits:

    1. High-Quality Learning Experience: POCR-certified courses undergo rigorous evaluation to ensure they meet established standards of excellence, providing students with a high-quality learning experience.

    2. Clear Course Structure and Expectations: POCR-certified courses are designed with clear objectives, organized content, and transparent expectations, making it easier for students to navigate and succeed in their studies.

    3. Engaging and Interactive Content: Courses that have undergone POCR certification often feature engaging multimedia content, interactive learning activities, and dynamic assessments, enhancing student engagement and retention of course material.

    4. Accessible Learning Materials: POCR-certified courses prioritize accessibility, ensuring that course materials are available in multiple formats and are accessible to students with diverse learning needs.

    5. Responsive and Supportive Instructors: Faculty members who have participated in POCR are committed to providing responsive and supportive instruction, offering timely feedback, guidance, and assistance to students throughout the course.

    6. Peer-Reviewed Course Design: POCR-certified courses have been peer-reviewed by experienced educators, ensuring that course design and instructional strategies are effective and align with best practices in online education.

    7. Improved Student Success Rates: Research has shown that students enrolled in POCR-certified courses tend to have higher success rates, including increased course completion and higher grades, compared to students in non-certified courses. Data show that “quality-reviewed” courses have increased student success rates of 4.9% above the statewide average, and a 2022 study by Chaffey College revealed a 14% increase in course success rates after POCR alignment.

  • Interested in becoming a POCR Reviewer

    Training & Certification

    Reviewers must have successfully completed the following training courses. Contact for registration details.

    • If new to Canvas then you must go through the Taft College Canvas Basics (20 hours)
    • Peer Online Course Review (45 hours)

    About POCR Reviewers

    The POCR team comprises faculty members who have completed the comprehensive 45-hour POCR training course. This diverse team is composed of:

    1. Accessibility Expert: Individuals with specialized knowledge and expertise in ensuring accessibility and inclusivity in online course design and delivery. They play a pivotal role in evaluating courses for adherence to accessibility standards and recommending enhancements to improve accessibility for all students, including those with disabilities.

    2. Subject Matter Expert: Faculty members who possess deep expertise and proficiency in the subject area(s) covered by the online courses undergoing review. Their insights and feedback contribute to ensuring the accuracy, relevance, and rigor of course content, aligning with disciplinary standards and best practices.

    3. Experienced Online Instructors: Faculty members with extensive experience in teaching online courses, equipped with firsthand knowledge of effective instructional strategies, engagement techniques, and technology integration in the online learning environment. Their expertise enables them to evaluate courses from a pedagogical standpoint, identifying opportunities to enhance engagement, interaction, and student success.

    By leveraging the collective expertise and perspectives of these diverse team members, the POCR process ensures thorough, multidimensional evaluations of online courses, leading to continuous improvement and the delivery of high-quality online education experiences for students.

  • Interested in having your course become POCR Certified?

    Faculty members seeking POCR certification for their courses can opt for one of two pathways:

    Option 1:

    Faculty members who are currently teaching online but prefer not to become certified POCR Peer Reviewers themselves, solely seeking certification for their courses, must follow these steps:

    • Complete the Course Design Resource Canvas shell provided by the CVC-OEI, which serves as a comprehensive resource for optimizing course design and delivery in alignment with best practices.
    • Additionally, faculty members must fulfill the requirements outlined in the POCR Course Review Prep Checklist, ensuring that their course meets the necessary criteria for POCR certification.

    Option 2:

    Faculty members currently teaching online who aspire to become certified POCR Peer Reviewers while also seeking certification for their courses must adhere to the following process:

    • Enroll in and successfully complete the rigorous Peer Online Course Review Training, totaling 45 hours of immersive instruction and training in online course evaluation methodologies, assessment techniques, and quality assurance standards.
    • Upon completion of the training, faculty members are required to fulfill the POCR Course Review Prep Checklist, ensuring that their course aligns with the established criteria for POCR certification.

    It's essential to note that faculty members opting for Option 2 are committing to the comprehensive training and certification process to become qualified POCR Peer Reviewers, enhancing their expertise in online course evaluation and contributing to the continuous improvement of online education standards.

For more questions regarding POCR please contact Taft College's POCR Lead.

Name: Jon Farmer

Title: Director of Distance Education

Phone: 661-763-7945


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