Reviewers play a key role in the peer review process.The first thing to remember as a TRP peer reviewer is that you are providing evidence for applications – not providing formative peer feedback. The peer review process is identical for applications for a University teaching award, academic promotion, or conversion to Education Specialist appointment.
Your role is to document how the teacher demonstrates effective practice in relation to the dimensions of teaching that have been agreed upon in the pre-observation meeting. To do this well, you must put aside how you might have taught the class and concentrate instead on qualitative and quantitative evidence of good teaching aligned with the dimensions of teaching and their indicative strategies.
The same peer review may be used to apply for a teaching award, academic promotion or Educations Specialist conversion for two years from the date of the observation. Applicants are permitted one peer review per calendar year, and must use their most recent review report in applications.
Please read over all the sections of the peer review website to familiarise yourself with all aspects of the process.
- Who are my main contacts as a peer reviewer?
You will be in contact with the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Learning), which oversees the process, and with the applicant whom you will review. All your communication with the Office of the PVC (Student Learning) about peer review is to be conducted through the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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.
- How many peer reviews will I be expected to do?
There is a general expectation that peer reviewers will complete two reviews per semester.
- Do the other reviewer and I work as a team?
Two peer reviewers are allocated by the Office of PVC (Student Learning) to each review. You 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. You do not work as a team with the other reviewer – you must not share opinions on the peer observation and your reports must be completed independently.
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.
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.
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.
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.