Peer Review of Teaching in Health Sciences

"Teaching always takes place at the crossroads of the personal and the public, and if I want to teach well, I must learn to stand where these opposites intersect." – P.J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach

What is Peer Review of Teaching?

Peer Review of Teaching (PRoT) involves colleagues giving and receiving feedback on their teaching to improve the quality of teaching and promote student learning. This website provides information on the ongoing development of this voluntary, collegial process by staff in the School of Health Sciences.

PRoT in Health Sciences is supported by the College of Science, Engineering and Health Learning and Teaching (L&T) Improvement Plan funding. PRoT in Health Sciences has the support of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU).

PRoT programs

PRoT in Health Sciences is conceptualised as a formative, cyclical process involving six major stages (PDF 16KB).

  1. Training – staff in Health Sciences undertake a half-day training session in PRoT. The training covers different models of PRoT, selecting and narrowing the focus for PRoT, the processes of giving and receiving feedback, and managing the logistics of PRoT.
  2. Pre-observation meeting of review pair – in Health Sciences, review pairs are randomly allocated across disciplines. The first meeting is held at the training where pairs discuss the potential focus of their review and negotiate the logistics of managing the review process.
  3. Observation/Review – the review itself can focus on any aspect of teaching, including, but not limited to elements of face-to-face teaching (lectures, pracs, tutorials, etc). Other aspects of L&T that can form the focus of PRoT include online learning environments, assessment and feedback processes, and review of Part A and B course guides.
  4. Reflection and feedback – Health Sciences underscores the importance of this stage in the review cycle by providing participants with money to have lunch together to share their observations and reflections.
  5. Planning – staff describe and commit to change as a result of the peer review.
  6. Action – in this final stage of the review cycle, change is implemented and evaluated.

The model used in Health Sciences is a reciprocal one, with staff taking on the role of both reviewee and reviewer in each partnership.

Resources for PRoT

2009 SHS PRoT team

SHS PRoT team.

PRoT Reflective Cycle Template

The PRoT Reflective Cycle Template (DOC 106KB 2p), emphasises the cyclical nature of peer review. Participants are invited to use the template in conjunction with the online PRoT tool to help reflect on the issues that arose from the review, plan the changes to L&T that might results and evaluate the action taken.

Peer Review of Online Teaching and Learning (PROTL)

PRoT in Health Sciences staff are invited to use this PROT online peer review tool to facilitate the review process.

If you have not used the tool before please register via the project site.

Other universities

There are a number of useful documents on PRoT that have been developed by other universities. The following list provides a starting point for staff interested in exploring peer review:

Publications

Chester, A., Kienhuis, M., Reece, J., Standfield, R., and Yap, K. (2010). Peer review of teaching: A five-stage model for building communities of reflective teaching practice. Paper presented at the International Congress of Applied Psychology, Melbourne, Australia.
Abstract: This paper examines the development, implementation and evaluation of a peer review of teaching pilot amongst psychologists and other health science academics. The ten staff participating in the program (6 males, 4 females) included relatively new and more experienced colleagues. A reference group developed a 5-stage cyclical model of PRoT in which participants were randomly allocated to cross-disciplinary pairs, attended training in PRoT and took turns to be both reviewer and reviewee. Review documents were collected and analysed and all participants interviewed about their experiences. Although the pilot was not restricted to face-to-face teaching, the majority of reviews focused on in-person classroom practice. At the completion of the pilot participants expressed their enthusiasm for PRoT, noting the value of the cross-disciplinary, reciprocal model. PRoT was perceived to be important in the development of a community of collegial, reflective practice. In this presentation participants in the pilot will describe their first-hand experiences. In addition, the effective characteristics of the program will be examined and potential limitations explored.