Review and Evaluation Overview

Gaia University’s review systems can be seen as a review and evaluation ‘continuum’:

DEGREES: Self Review  > Peer Review  >  Advisor Review  >  Internal Review  >  External Review

DIPLOMAS: Self Review  > Peer Review  >  PC Mentor Review (IDPD only) > Advisor Review  >  Internal Review

splitting bambooDeep and valuable insights can be harvested at each point along this continuum; moreover, the effect of receiving feedback from multiple and diverse viewpoints is much greater than that of more commonly practiced mono-dimensional grading, which often aims to measure only achievement rather than inspire new thinking and support personal growth. Additionally,  the repeated act of peer reviewing the work of colleagues is a significant growth edge for most of us.

The aspect of your work that receives the most attention is the in-depth documentation of your projects and personal un/learning that you periodically post online into your ePortfolio.

Each of these output packets is reviewed in a multi-tiered process, according to a transparent set of review criteria:

Self-Review You evaluate and assign grades to your own work using the common rubric (evaluation form).

Self-review allows you to reflect on your capacity to meet your self-designed learning goals in a timely manner and with good competence and attention; moreover,  Gaia University's multi-tiered review approach affords associates the opportunity to compare their self review with the reviews they receive from their peers and advisors.

 Peer-Review – Your output packet is reviewed by peers with whom you gather-in when ready. This gather-in is an online output packet review workshop and is facilitated by an experienced professional review team. First you see a sample output packet or two reviewed live by the team using the rubric that is used throughout the Gaia University system. Both a live Q & A and a Forum Q & A follows this demonstration. Then you are required to use the same rubric to review the work of colleagues offline and in your own time. A live debrief - "what went well, what was challenging and what would you do differently next time" - concludes the workshop. A full program year involves attending 5 of these workshops.

Peer-review is a mainstay of conventional academia and is the primary route used by academics to subject their work to critique and expansion before publishing papers in professional journals.

It is not generally practiced at the Bachelor and Masters level. However, since there are so many valuable yields to be derived from the practice of peer review Gaia University uses it at all levels. Some of the likely gains are as follows: - 

  • we see a larger sense of possibilities in regard to all aspects of navigating a transformative action learning pathway
  • we are exposed to different ways of seeing the world
  • we encounter new approaches to research and design
  • we get to improve our own writing and presentation skills and
  • we are encouraged to make the paradigm shift from competition to collaboration by working together to improve each others work

building roofGaining experience in giving and receiving peer feedback will contribute to the evolution and future diffusion of your work in the fields in which you are competent. These fields are often fields of subjugated knowledge, so high-quality work and wide diffusion are keys to the de-marginalization of these fields in the larger society.

 Permaculture Mentor Review (IDPD associates only) - Diploma associates in the IDPD program receive in depth output packet reviews from their Permaculture Mentor to help hone your skills as a Permaculture designer.

Advisor Review – Your output packet is subsequently reviewed by your main advisor, who notes the peer review feedback, makes their own evaluation, assigns a grade and provides written feedback. This review is based on the same transparent rubric used in the self and peer review.

cob ovenInternal Review – At the end of each non-Capstone Phase Action Learning Cycle for Degree programs and at the end of every ALC for Diploma programs, associates receive an internal review by an experienced advisor who is not their main advisor. This in-depth review of the year's work gives an added perspective to your achievements and challenges and supports you in the formulation of your learning intentions and pathway design for what is often the final year of your program.

 External Review In the capstone (final) year of all bachelor's, master's, and post graduate diploma degree programs, your portfolio undergoes an extensive review by a member of our external review board, who provides a written report.

This is a critical component of the quality assurance system of Gaia University and our accreditation agency, IMC. Our external reviewers are carefully selected for their high academic and professional standing, extensive higher educational review experience as well as their understanding and support of transformative action learning. An associate may not graduate until their portfolio has received a satisfactory evaluation in external review.