Voluntary peer review of face-to-face teaching in higher education

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 33 : Reshaping Higher Education

July, 2010, 654 pages
Published by
M. Devlin, J. Nagy and A. Lichtenberg
0 908557 80 9

Whilst academics welcome peer review of their research, they are less likely to seek peer review of their face-to-face teaching in higher education. Similarly, academics may readily respond to requests to review the research of others but are they just as willing to review the teaching of their peers? Even though scholarship demands systematic inquiry into teaching and learning, academics struggle to fully engage with the scholarship of teaching and learning. In 2009 academics from Curtin Business School voluntarily participated in peer review of their face-to-face teaching using a four step cyclical peer observation process. In this case, the reviewer was the faculty Coordinator of Teaching and Learning rather than a fellow lecturer. Following this, the authors conducted two focus groups and subsequently asked the 10 participants in this initiative to respond in writing to 11 survey questions to determine the usefulness of teaching observations as a method of improving the quality of teaching and learning. The research findings indicated that academics valued the voluntary peer review of their face-to-face teaching and recommended that the process should continue and be expanded if possible in the future. Participants also reported they had improved their teaching practices. Whilst the outcomes of this research were favourable, expansion of the current model requires the use of more sustainable methodologies. Hence, in this paper, literature is reviewed and the outcomes of the current research are reflected upon to inform future practice and build the capacity of academics to engage with voluntary peer review of face-to-face teaching in higher education.

Keywords: peer review, quality teaching, scholarship of teaching and learning