Teaching Review Program

The Teaching Review Program (TRP) has been designed to provide evidence in support of staff applications for individual University teaching awards, academic promotion, or conversion to education specialist appointments.

The peer review process at the University of Adelaide is managed by the Office of Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Learning) unlike the PARD-P which is a faculty based program.

Information for

A TRP is about generating evidence of teaching practice – not about receiving formative peer feedback. 

It is suited to staff members applying for an individual University teaching award, academic promotion (excluding research-only), or conversion to an Education Specialist appointment.

The aim of the peer review observation is to demonstrate effective teaching practice in relation to the dimensions of teaching that have been agreed upon in the pre-observation meeting.

The process is identical for applications for teaching awards, academic promotion, or an Education Specialist conversion. Keep in mind that peer review is only one element of evidence for a teaching award, academic promotion, or Education Specialist conversion application.

PLEASE NOTE:  Reviewees are not provided with a feedback report or a 'score' following the completion of a TRP. They receive a copy of the Observation Report completed by the Reviewers which contains verification that certain dimensions of teaching have been observed.

All communication about peer review is to be conducted by emailing peerreview@adelaide.edu.au.

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  • Prior to the observation

    What do I have to prepare for my review?

    After you have been notified by email of your two peer reviewers you are required to contact them as soon as possible to organise a pre-observation meeting.

    If this meeting cannot be conducted face-to-face simultaneously with both reviewers, you can use another medium (e.g. Zoom, phone, Google Hangouts, Skype) to conduct the meeting. Alternatively, you may schedule separate meetings with them, ensuring you provide exactly the same information to both.

    The following information must be provided to both of your reviewers during your pre-observation meeting:

    • The dimensions of teaching you are nominating to be observed on (you must choose a minimum of six dimensions). Carefully read through the dimensions of teaching and the aligned strategies to gain an understanding of what is expected to demonstrate effective teaching. 

    Note that there is a Dimension 11, which allows the reviewer to comment on areas relevant to institutional priorities that they observed in your teaching session, which were not covered by the other ten dimensions.

    • The proposed learning outcomes and specific objectives of your session. This information may be given in succinct written form to your reviewers, but they are not expected to read extensive course documentation.
    • A brief verbal overview of the course, including what stage it is at, and what you have covered so far with your students (and possibly how) that is relevant to the session that your reviewers will attend. Include any information on your cohort, the learning space, the online materials/activities, and your teaching approach(es) that might further inform your reviewers. If you teach as part of a teaching team, you should provide some context on the nature of the team. It is quite likely and permissible that your reviewers will have some questions for you to make their task clearer when they attend your session.
    What if my reviewer does not attend my observation?

    Where reviewers cannot attend an observation due to illness or sudden crisis on the day, they are asked to notify you immediately.

    It is your responsibility to advise both the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Learning) by email and your other reviewer of this. The Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Learning) will assist you to rearrange the observation and will find a different reviewer if necessary.

  • What do I have to prepare for my review?

    After you have been notified by email of your two peer reviewers you are required to contact them as soon as possible to organise a pre-observation meeting.

    If this meeting cannot be conducted face-to-face simultaneously with both reviewers, you can use another medium (e.g. Zoom, phone, Google Hangouts, Skype) to conduct the meeting. Alternatively, you may schedule separate meetings with them, ensuring you provide exactly the same information to both.

    The following information must be provided to both of your reviewers during your pre-observation meeting:

    • The dimensions of teaching you are nominating to be observed on (you must choose a minimum of six dimensions). Carefully read through the dimensions of teaching and the aligned strategies to gain an understanding of what is expected to demonstrate effective teaching. 
      Note that there is a Dimension 11, which allows the reviewer to comment on areas relevant to institutional priorities that they observed in your teaching session, which were not covered by the other ten dimensions.
    • The proposed learning outcomes and specific objectives of your session. This information may be given in succinct written form to your reviewers, but they are not expected to read extensive course documentation.
    • A brief verbal overview of the course, including what stage its at, and what you have covered so far with your students (and possibly how) that is relevant to the session that your reviewers will attend. Include any information on your cohort, the learning space, the online materials/activities, and your teaching approach(es) that might further inform your reviewers. If you teach as part of a teaching team, you should provide some context on the nature of the team. It is likely and permissible that your reviewers will have some questions for you to make their task clearer when they attend your session.
  • What if my reviewer does not attend my observation?

    Where reviewers cannot attend an observation due to illness or sudden crisis on the day, they are asked to notify you immediately.

    It is your responsibility to advise both the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Learning) by email, peerreview@adelaide.edu.au, and your other reviewer of this.

    The Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Learning) will assist you to rearrange the observation and will find a different reviewer if necessary.

  • During the observation

    • Each peer review will comprise a single teaching observation by two University of Adelaide reviewers of strictly one hour. The reviewers will use the TRP Observation Report to report on your practice in relation to the chosen dimensions of teaching.
    • It is at your discretion to nominate the precise time that the peer reviewers will conduct their observation. It is not compulsory for you to have the first hour of your session observed e.g. you might want the reviewers to attend the middle hour of a three hour workshop. Note that reviewers will only attend for the chosen hour and will not sit in your session prior to or following the hour that you have nominated.
    • Students must not be informed that a peer review is taking place, and peer reviewers are instructed to remain as unobtrusive as possible during the observation.
    • A knowledge of your discipline is not crucial for peer reviewers, they will look for the engagement of your students during the observation and to what extent you are effectively meeting the criteria of your selected dimensions of teaching.
    • Peer reviewers are aware that the dimensions of teaching that you are demonstrating will at times overlap i.e. you will in your teaching session sometimes demonstrate more than one teaching dimension at a time, and the reviewers will take this into account in their reports.
  • After the observation

    • Organise a post-observation meeting with your reviewers if an unexpected issue arose at the peer observation that might have impacted your teaching. E.g. a student falling ill or a fire alarm going off. If the three of you agree that you should have another review, send the request through the peer review email.
    • The Office of the PVC (Student Learning) asks each reviewer to complete their peer review report within two weeks of the observation. Email reminders will be sent by the Office of the PVC (Student Learning) to reviewers if reports are overdue.
    • Once the Office of the PVC (Student Learning) has received both review reports, they will be forwarded to you and your Head of School.
    • A record of your review is retained with the Office of the PVC (Student Learning), but it is your responsibility to include the reviews with application documentation.
    • You may email a request for a second peer review if there are significant differences between the two peer review reports you receive. The decision to initiate a second peer review rests with the PVC (Student Learning). Additional reviews involve only one reviewer, and all three completed reports should be included with individual teaching award, academic promotion applications, or Education Specialist applications.
    • After receiving your peer review reports you have the option to submit a reviewee rejoinder. Submissions must be sent to peerreview@adelaide.edu.au no later than one week after receiving your peer review reports. Your rejoinder should be included with all other documentation for your application(s).

The Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Learning) will email you with details of the applicant and their course. You have the right to request that a particular applicant not be allocated to you for review based on any perceived conflict of interest.

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  • Prior to the observation

    The peer review applicant has the responsibility of contacting you to organise a pre-observation meeting. If this meeting cannot be conducted face-to-face simultaneously with you and the other reviewer, another medium may be used (e.g. Google Hangouts, Skype, phone) to conduct the meeting, or separate meetings will be organised.

    The applicant will send you a copy of the peer review report template prior to the pre-observation meeting with Section A completed. During the meeting you will complete Section B and you should ensure that it is identical to that of the other reviewer.

    At the pre-observation meeting, you should receive the following information from the applicant:

    • The dimensions of teaching that will be observed (the applicant is asked to choose a minimum of six dimensions). Carefully read the indicative strategies that are aligned to each dimension, so that you have a good idea of what constitutes effective teaching and as a guide to your report writing. (Note that there is a Dimension 11, which allows you to comment on areas relevant to institutional priorities that you observe during the teaching session, which were not covered by the other dimensions). 
    • The proposed learning outcomes and specific objectives of the teaching session. This information may be given to you in writing, but you are not expected to read extensive course documentation.
    • A brief verbal overview of the course, including what stage it is at, and what has been covered so far with the students that is relevant to the peer observation. Applicants are asked to provide you with any relevant information on the cohort, the learning space and their teaching approach(es) to further inform your understanding prior to the observation. If the applicant teaches as part of teaching team, they will advise you of this and provide some context on the nature of the team.

    Feel free to ask the applicant questions to clarify any information they have given you, or if you feel some important information has not been provided.

    It is not your role to advise applicants on which dimensions they should be observed on, what sort of session they should be observed in, or to provide advice on what teaching approaches should be employed in the session.

    If you cannot attend the observation due to illness or sudden crisis on the day, notify the applicant immediately. The Office of the PVC(Student Learning) will then assist the applicant to reschedule the observation.

  • During the observation

    You are required to use the peer review report template to report on the session you have observed.

    Attend the peer observation for strictly one hour. It is at the discretion of the applicant to confirm the precise time that you are required to attend. You must only attend for that one hour (and not sit in the session prior to or following the hour that you have been asked to attend). Students are not informed that a peer review is taking place, and you should remain as unobtrusive as possible during the observation.

    The dimensions of teaching that you are commenting upon will at times overlap i.e. a teacher will demonstrate practice that satisfies (and can be reported on) for more than one teaching dimension at a time.

    Keep in mind that knowledge of the applicant’s discipline is not crucial – it is more important to look for the engagement of students in the learning and the effectiveness of the teaching in relation to the nominated dimensions.

  • After the observation

    A post-observation meeting between you, the other reviewer and the applicant only occurs if any unexpected issues arose at the peer observation that might have impacted the session e.g. a student falling ill or a fire alarm going off. In this meeting the applicant will ask whether you think the disruption was significant enough for them to request another review from the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Learning)

    You are required to complete your peer review report within two weeks of the observation. Peer review reports must be typed and emailed to the peer review email address.

    Your report should not make recommendations about whether a teacher should receive a teaching award, be approved for academic promotion or be appointed as an Education Specialist. Reports are about what was observed during the teaching session only.

    If there are significant differences between the two completed peer review reports, the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Learning) may call for another review to take place. The additional review will involve only one (different) reviewer, and all three completed reports will be included with teaching award, academic promotion or Education Specialist applications.

The following information is provided to assist individual teaching award and academic promotion panel members to interpret peer review of teaching reports.

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  • Who are the applicants in the peer review process?

    The applicants are University of Adelaide staff applying for individual teaching awards, academic promotion (excluding research-only), or conversion to Education Specialist appointments.

  • Who are the reviewers in the peer review process and what is their role?

    Our reviewers include the PVC (Student Learning), Associate Deans (Learning and Teaching), and Education Specialists, as well as other teaching staff from all faculties. All reviewers are selected based on their teaching and education expertise, including teaching experience, knowledge of learning and teaching, key positions in learning and teaching within the University, and awards for teaching. All peer reviewers must participate in peer reviewer training facilitated by the Office of the DVC(A) before they join the list of approved reviewers.

    Each peer review requires two reviewers, usually one from a cognate discipline and the other from a different faculty. Both are chosen by the PVC (Student Learning) to conduct the review. Peer review reports are completed by the two reviewers observing the same one hour session of an applicant’s teaching. This follows a pre-observation meeting where the applicant explains to the reviewers the context of the teaching that will be observed.

    A peer review report template is used by reviewers to record their observations of the session. The reviewer uses the dimensions of teaching outlined in the template to indicate whether they observed evidence against the dimensions and whether this evidence appeared to be effective teaching in the context of the session.

    It is important to understand that the reviewer is not making a judgement about whether the applicant should receive a teaching award, academic promotion or Education Specialist conversion.

  • What is my role as a panel member?

    As a panel member deciding on individual teaching awards, academic promotion or Education Specialist conversion, you are expected to use peer review reports to triangulate evidence of claims by the peer review applicant in their application.

    The peer review reports provide you with independent third party evidence of the applicant’s effectiveness in demonstrating activity against the dimensions of teaching. The reviewer has not been involved in the application process, and is providing peer feedback for you to complement the student feedback that you will have in your data set for the applicant.

    To assist you in triangulating the peer review report with the claims of the applicant, for each dimension of teaching you will see that the reviewer provides some evidence to illustrate why they selected the quantity and quality of examples for each relevant teaching dimension.

    The peer review reports are not likely to be identical, but would normally be consistent with each other. If there is a significant difference in the reviewer reports a third report may be in your data set to allow you to better interpret the session observed.

    The reviewee is offered the opportunity to write a one page rejoinder based on the peer review reports. In this case, you will have the review reports and the rejoinder (if submitted) to assist you in your deliberations on the application from the reviewee.

  • How do I relate to the dimensions of teaching during the review process?

    Because reviewers only observe a one hour session, you would not expect a teacher to necessarily use all dimensions equally in the observed time. You should consider the overall pattern in the report, and use individual dimensions in relation to the claims made in the application.

    The reviewee is encouraged to advise the reviewers of particular dimensions that will not be addressed in the session to be observed because they are not relevant. A minimum of six dimensions must be chosen for the observation.

    The boxes in each dimension of teaching are not numeric scales and should not be used as numbers. The reviewer is indicating whether they observed no, some, many or extensive examples against the particular dimension. Some, many and extensive are all appropriate indicators, but the prevalence of examples must be considered alongside their apparent effectiveness.

    Thus, some examples that are very effective or exceptionally effective are a good indication of thoughtful teaching. However, extensive examples with no apparent effectiveness indicates that the reviewee is trying, but missing the mark in terms of effective teaching.

    The comments for each dimension of teaching should be very succinct, with the aim of supporting the choices made in identifying the quantity and quality of evidence.

Frequently asked questions

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  • Who are my main contacts?

    Both Reviewers and Applicants will liaise with the Teaching Excellence Support Team, located within the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Learning).  Questions and other communication regarding the peer review process can be directed via email or phone (8313 5901).

  • How can you request a peer review?

    Applications will be invited twice a year, and staff may participate in a maximum of one review round per year. Intending applicants should submit a request by completing the application form and sending it to peerreview@adelaide.edu.au by the required deadline. 

    When submitting your request, you will be asked to nominate three preferred times and dates to be observed – every effort will be made to find reviewers for one of your preferred sessions. If this is not possible, you will be contacted to nominate additional times and dates.

    If required, you may advise of any reasons that a particular reviewer should not be allocated to your peer review.

    Review requests may be requested outside the yearly review rounds for special circumstances or teaching contexts (e.g. Summer or Winter school). Please submit your request as normal, and include in your email the reason for requesting an out-of-round review.

  • What if I need to withdraw from my peer review?

    If you wish to withdraw from the peer review process prior to or after your observation, please immediately email peerreview@adelaide.edu.au to advise of your withdrawal. If Reviewers have been allocated to you, a member of the Teaching Excellence Support Team (PVC-SL) will contact them.

  • What teaching formats are permissible in peer review?

    It is expected that peer reviews will normally be face-to-face observations conducted on one of the University’s campuses. All face-to-face teaching formats are permissible, including lectures, workshops, seminars, studios, tutorials and lab classes.

    Reviews of a synchronous online teaching sessions may occur if a face-to-face session is not possible, or if the reviewee has a particular reason for wanting a review of an online session. If your teaching takes place in an exclusively asynchronous online teaching context, please contact peerreview@adelaide.edu.au to discuss alternative arrangements.

  • What if I teach as part of teaching team?

    Staff who teach as part of a teaching team are able to obtain an individual peer review. You will need to advise your reviewers that you teach as part of a teaching team in your pre-observation meeting, and provide some context on the nature of the team.  If a teaching team wishes to obtain a peer review to support a team application for a teaching award, it will be possible for the team to be reviewed as a whole. Please contact peerreview@adelaide.edu.au to discuss arrangements.

  • How long is a review report valid for?

    Peer review reports are valid for two years from the date of the review. The most recent peer review should be used as evidence when applying for a teaching award, academic promotion, or Education Specialist conversion. 

  • How can I prepare for my review?

    It is strongly suggested that you practice and prepare thoroughly before your peer review. One recommended method for practice is to ask trusted colleagues to act as peer reviewers in trial observations. Ask them to provide feedback on your performance against the requirements in the template.

    It is strongly recommended that you participate in the Peer Assisted Reflection and Development Program (PARD-P) to receive substantial formative feedback on your teaching prior to applying for TRP peer review.

  • Who are the peer reviewers?

    Peer reviewers are nominated Education Specialists who have attended internal, peer reviewer training.  They are usually members of the Adelaide Education Academy and include the PVC (Student Learning) and Associate Deans (Learning and Teaching).To enter the Adelaide College of Reviewers their teaching and education credentials, including their teaching experience, knowledge of learning and teaching, and teaching awards has been assessed by a panel of peers.

    Each review is allocated two Reviewers; usually one from within the Applicants faculty and one from a different faculty. To reduce any risk of conflict of interest, reviewers will not be from the same school as the Applicant.

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  • How many peer reviews does each Reviewer perform annually?

    There is a general expectation that Peer Reviewers (members of the Adelaide College of Reviewers) will complete two reviews per semester.

  • Do Reviewers work as a team?

    Two peer reviewers are allocated by the Office of PVC (Student Learning) to each review. They may be allocated as a cognate discipline reviewer (i.e. from the same faculty as the applicant) or as a more general teaching and learning expert, from a different faculty. They do not work as a team with the other reviewer – they must not share opinions on the peer observation and their reports must be completed independently.