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.
  • Recognizes the influence of disciplines on teaching and learning practices through the exchange of ideas, framed by recognized 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).

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.

University Policy

Staff evaluation of teaching is central to the achievement of the University's purpose, priorities and outcomes. FedUni supports peer review/peer enhancement of learning and teaching through the Peer Enhancement of Learning and Teaching Procedure. The purpose of this procedure is to define how institutional peer enhancement of learning and teaching will be supported, structured and implemented across the University to meet the following objectives:

  1. Demonstrate internal quality learning and teaching assurance obligations in the area of Scholarship of Learning and Teaching (SoLT) practice;
  2. Demonstrate the provision of peer enhancement relative to high quality learning and teaching to our students.

All peer enhancement models are underpinned by the four key processes – Plan; Review; Feedback; Respond, although how each School approaches this is slightly different. View the FedUni Peer Enhancement of Learning and Teaching Procedure and supporting documents.


Resources

FedUni policies 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. Retrieved from http://melbourne-cshe.unimelb.edu.au/reserach/teaching/peer-review
  • Sachs, J. & Parsell, M. (2014) Peer Review of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: International Perspectives. Springer

Assistance

Contact your School’s Associate Dean of Teaching Quality for information on your School’s:

  • Mentoring opportunities
  • Approach to peer review and enhancement processes