Review through a peer lens

Peer review of teaching is often considered a valuable tool in achieving effective teaching of individuals, teams and departments. Faculty members can be provided with an opportunity to receive and discuss feedback on their teaching from the expertise of their peers. When conducted effectively, peer reviewing can contribute to a culture of academic collegiality. The benefits of peer enhancement of learning and teaching include:

  • Continued development of teaching practices that can lead to gains in student learning and teacher capacity
  • Promotion of student learning and engagement as its primary focus.
  • Extends beyond just classroom teaching. Feedback can be on all key aspects of learning and teaching such as learning aims and objectives, curricula design, resources, assessment, learning environment design and teaching administration.
  • Accommodates the full spectrum of University teaching and learning contexts by drawing upon the insight of colleagues. Peer enhancement is readily adapted to diverse teaching and learning environments, such as clinical, field-based and online teaching.
  • Recognises the influence of disciplines on teaching and learning practices through the exchange of ideas, framed by recognised principles of good teaching practice.
  • Strengthens the learning and teaching culture of an institution by contributing to academic collegiality.
  • Benefits for both the teacher (reviewee) and the person(s) undertaking the peer enhancement of teaching (reviewer). Engaging in critical reflection on a colleague's teaching, often yields insights into an individual's own practice and enhances the opportunity for critical self-reflective practice (Harris, Farrell, Bell, et al 2008).

Peer Review and Benchmarking Manual

To support consistent, sustained and high quality peer review and benchmarking practices across the university, the NEW Peer Review and Benchmarking Manual (Part A, B and templates) was released early January 2023.

This manual provides support and guidance towards continuous quality assurance measures and the scholarship of learning and teaching opportunities. Developed through consultation with a wide variety of internal stakeholders and aligned with several national sector expectations, the manual has been approved by the university Learning and Teaching Quality Committee (LTQC).

The manual highlights thirteen (n=13) options aligned to the academic, course and program level, is referenced in the 2023 Learning and Teaching Plan (Focused) and provides case studies and easy-to-read work instructions as part of the implementation process.

Online resources

The manual has a Part A (Framework) and Part B (Work Instructions) that outline the underpinning components and benefits of engaging with systematic peer review and benchmarking opportunities towards excellence. To view the manuals, templates and supporting resources, visit the Peer Review and Benchmarking Resource (on the Learning & Teaching sharepoint site).

Where do I start?  

  1. Read Part A and decide what type of peer review and/or benchmarking activity suits your context and your career stage
  2. Refer to Part B to further understand the process and templates available to you
  3. Download the relevant documents/templates
  4. Factor these activities as part of your 2023 Performance Review Development Program (PRDP) plans
  5. Discuss your suggestions with your line manager and/or Director (Learning and Teaching) (if appropriate)
  6. Embrace a new opportunity to engage with peer review and benchmarking towards a successful experience for you, your learners, your teaching team, your program, your discipline and  your institute

Professional Mentors

It is often useful to have a professional peer to act as a mentor or coach to provide non-judgmental support and guidance in interpreting the various forms of feedback available and to develop strategies for improving your practice. Having a mentor or coach for whom you have professional respect, enables you to openly discuss your reflective thoughts and proposed processes for moving forward.


Resources

University policies, procedures and guidelines

Texts/Articles

  • Burke, J. Plunkett, M. & Li, B. (2017) Peer Enhancement of learning and teaching for teacher educators. In Mena, J., Garcia-Valcarcel, A., Garcia-Penalvo, F. & Del Pozo, M. (2017) Search and Research: Teacher Education for Contemporary Contexts. International Study Association of Teachers and Teaching, Ediciones Universidad: Salamanca.
  • Farrell, K. (2011) Collegial Feedback on Teaching: A Guide to Peer Review. University of Melbourne – Centre for the Study of Higher Education.
  • Harris, K., Farrell, K., Bell, M., Devlin, M. & James, R. (2008) Peer review of teaching in Australian universities.
  • Sachs, J. & Parsell, M. (2014) Peer Review of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: International Perspectives. Springer

Assistance

Contact your Director, Learning and Teaching for information on your Institutes:

  • Mentoring opportunities
  • Approach to peer review and enhancement processes