Learning and Teaching

Peer Enhancement of Learning and Teaching Procedure

Policy Code: LT1964

Purpose

This procedure supports and mandates the implementation of the Learning and Teaching Policy with respect to peer review/peer enhancement of learning and teaching. 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 following four key processes: Plan; Review; Feedback; Respond.

Scope

The Peer Enhancement of Learning and Teaching Procedure stems from the Learning and Teaching Policy. Three of the key purposes of the Learning and Teaching Policy (LT 1353) relate to enhancement of learning and teaching which can be achieved by peer enhancement discussions:

(2) Articulate the University's commitment to creating effective and meaningful learning opportunities and experiences through the development of high quality, relevant and current courses and services that are aligned with the University's strategic directions;

(3) Encourage the University community to reflect on contemporary learning and teaching practices in a global society to better meet the diverse needs of the broad range of learners now and in the future; and

(4) Provide a clear framework for making coordinated decisions in relation to the enhancement of learning and teaching activities across the University

This procedure applies to the peer enhancement of all higher education courses within Federation University (FedUni). The procedure has clear peer enhancement processes specific for all learning and teaching arrangements (FedUni and partners). The procedure has links to a number of templates relevant for peer enhancement within the scope to meet internal quality assurance standards.

•   This procedure does not apply to the assessment and moderation of peer enhancement in higher degrees by research which is the subject of Regulation 5.1 Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Masters’ Degree by Research and Professional Doctorates.

•   Peer enhancement  of learning and teaching activities include but are not limited to the following: classroom observations; peer review of assessment; peer review of learning and teaching resources including the Course Description, learning management system design; curriculum design; online teaching practices; clinical and other field based teaching activities.

Legislative Context

TEQSA (Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (Part A)TEQSA Guidance Note: Academic quality assurance (10 July 2014)

  • Academic quality assurance in practice: Enhancement processes to support academic quality assurance should ideally be in place at different levels and cover specific issues: Individual staff, team and cross-disciplinary groups - "quality of teaching practice; support for scholarly activities; scholarly teaching; research outcomes; professional development outcomes and support; responses to student feedback and peer enhancement of teaching".

2015 Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards):

Part A: Standards for Higher Education

Section 1: Student Participation and Attainment

  • 1.4 Learning Outcomes and Assessment:

3. Methods of assessment are consistent with the learning outcomes being assessed, are capable of confirming that all specified learning outcomes are achieve and that grades awarded reflect the level of student attainment.

4. On completion of a course of study, students have demonstrated the learning outcomes specified for the course or study, whether assessed at unit (course at FedUni) level, course (program at FedUni) level, or in combination.

Section 3: Teaching

  • 3.1 Course Design:
  1. The design for each course of study is specified and the specification includes:
    1. the qualification(s) to be awarded on completion
    2. structure, duration and modes of delivery
    3. the units of study (or equivalent) that comprise the course of study
    4. entry requirements and pathways
    5. expected learning outcomes, methods of assessment and indicative student workload
    6. compulsory requirements for completion
    7. exit pathways, articulation arrangements, pathways to further learning, and
    8. for a course of study leading to a Bachelor Honours, Masters or Doctoral qualification, includes the proportion and nature of research or research-related study in the course
  2. The content and learning activities of each course of study engage with advanced knowledge and inquiry consistent with the level of study and the expected learning outcomes, including:
    1. current knowledge and scholarship in relevant academic disciplines
    2. study of the underlying theoretical and conceptual frameworks of the academic disciplines or fields of education or research represented in the course, and
    3. emerging concepts that are informed by recent scholarship, current research findings and, where applicable, advances in practice
  3. Teaching and learning activities are arranged to foster progressive and coherent achievement of expected learning outcomes throughout each course of study
  4. Each course of study is designed to enable achievement of expected learning outcomes regardless of a student’s place of study or the mode of delivery
  • 3.2 Staffing
  1. The staffing complement for each course of study is sufficient to meet the educational, academic support and administrative needs of student cohorts undertaking the course
  2. The academic staffing profile for each course of study provides the level and extent of academic oversight and teaching capacity needed to lead students in intellectual inquiry suited to the nature and level of expected learning outcomes
  3. Staff with responsibilities for academic oversight and those with teaching and supervisory roles in courses or units of study are equipped for their roles, including having:
    1. knowledge of contemporary developments in the discipline or field, which is informed by continuing scholarship or research or advances in practice
    2. skills in contemporary teaching, learning and assessment principles relevant to the discipline, their role, modes of delivery and the needs of particular student cohorts, and
    3. a qualification in a relevant discipline at least one level higher than is awarded for the course of study, or equivalent relevant academic or professional or practice-based experience and expertise, except for staff supervising doctoral degrees having a doctoral degree or equivalent research experience
  4. Teachers who teach specialised components of a course of study, such as experienced practitioners and teachers undergoing training, who may not fully meet the standard for knowledge, skills and qualification or experience required for teaching or supervision (3.2.3) have their teaching guided and overseen by staff who meet the standard
  5. Teaching staff are accessible to students seeking individual assistance with their studies, at a level consistent with the learning needs of the student cohort
  • 5.2 Academic and Research Integrity
  1. There are policies that promote and uphold the academic and research integrity of courses and units of study, research and research training activities, and institutional policies and procedures address misconduct and allegations of misconduct
  • 5.3 Monitoring, Enhancement and Improvement
  1. A comprehensive Enhancement includes the design and content of each course of study, the expected learning outcomes, the methods for assessment of those outcomes, the extent of students’ achievement of learning outcomes, and also takes account of emerging developments in the field of education, modes of delivery, the changing needs of students and identified risks to the quality of the course of study
  2. Comprehensive Enhancements of courses of study are informed and supported by regular interim monitoring, of the quality of teaching and supervision of research students, student progress and the overall delivery of units within each course of study
  3. Enhancement and improvement activities include regular external referencing of the success of student cohorts against comparable courses of study, including:
    1. analyses of progression rates, attrition rates, completion times and rates and, where applicable, comparing different locations of delivery, and
    2. the assessment methods and grading of students’ achievement of learning outcomes for selected units of study within courses of study

University Collective Agreement

Part 9: Performance Review and Staff Development (Section 63; 65)

Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act

ESOS Act (Standard 14)

Definitions

A complete lists of definitions relevant to this procedure are contained within the Federation University Australia's Learning and Teaching Policy and Higher Education Assessment Policy. A further list of definitions specifically relevant to this procedure is included below:

Title Definition
Peer Review of Learning and Teaching "Peer Review of Learning and Teaching in universities involves academic colleagues giving and receiving feedback on their practices and its effectiveness in promoting student learning” (Harris, Farrell, Bell, et al 2008).
Academic/Teacher A nominated FedUni staff member who is responsible for the learning and teaching delivery and/or design of higher education courses
Peer reviewer for Model 1 Member of the Peer Enhancement Team as defined by a faculty
Peer reviewer for Model 2 An academic/teacher

Benefits and Models

1. The benefits of peer enhancement of learning and teaching

  • Continued development of teaching practices  that lead to gains in student learning and teacher capacity
  • Has the promotion of student learning and engagement as its primary focus.
  • Extends beyond classroom teaching and presentation: Peer enhancement has the potential to provide opportunities for development of teaching practices. Peer enhancement models can provide feedback on all key aspects of learning and teaching such as the learning aims and objectives, curricula design, resources and assessment.
  • 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: Central to peer enhancement of teaching is the exchange of ideas, framed by recognized principles of good teaching practice - practice that is inevitably influenced by the field of study. Individuals' conceptions and disciplinary perspectives are an inherent characteristic and feature of peer enhancement of teaching.
  • Strengthens the learning and teaching culture of an institution: The processes of peer enhancement in student learning and teaching have the potential to contribute to collegial academic cultures in which critical reflection of teaching is valued and encouraged. Increased communication between staff, and enhanced knowledge of the broader curriculum are among the benefits for the immediate academic environment and the institution more broadly.
  • Has benefits for each of the parties involved: Both the teacher (reviewee) and the person undertaking the peer enhancement of teaching (reviewer) benefit from engaging in this process. This specific dynamics can occur in pairs or small teams in accordance with this procedure. Engaging in critical reflection on a colleague's teaching, often yields insights into an individual's own practice and enhances the opportunity for reflective practice (Reference: Adapted from Harris, Farrell, Bell, et al 2008)
  • This peer enhancement of learning and teaching is based on the adaptation of the Peer Observation of Teaching model described by Gosling (2002).
    • Who does it and to whom: Teachers observe each other
    • Purpose: Engagement in discussion about teaching; self and mutual reflection
    • Outcome: Analysis, discussion, wider experience of teaching methods
    • Status of Evidence: Peer shared perception
    • Relationship of observer to observed: Equality/mutuality
    • Confidentially: Primarily between the reviewee and reviewer
    • Inclusion: As relevant to each peer review model
    • Judgement: Judgement made based on set criteria and mutual understanding; constructive feedback
    • What is observed? Teaching performance, in-class observations, learning materials, online learning environment, student learning opportunities
    • Who benefits? Mutual between peers
    • Conditions for success: Teaching is valued and discussed openly
    • Risk? Complacency, conservatism, unfocused

2. Models of peer enhancement of learning and teaching

There are 2 models of peer enhancement, each designed with a specific purpose.

  1. Model 1: Peer Enhancement of Learning and Teaching plus Table 1.0: Key Indicators for Quality of Learning and Teaching
  2. Model 2: Course Description Peer Enhancement plus Table 2.0: Key Principles for Assessment

Actions

1. Establishing faculty Peer Enhancement Teams (PET)

The Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching (ADLT) will lead the establishment of the one or more peer enhancement team(s) across each faculty (the number of teams and complexity depends on the faculty requirements). The members of the Peer Enhancement Team (PET) will perform the peer enhancement of learning and teaching activities across the faculty as captured in Model 1.

  • Members of the PET must be at lecturer level or with equivalent experience relevant to the aspect of the peer enhancement. The PETs are encouraged to work cross-school, faculty and discipline (where appropriate).
  • The PET will be comprised of staff who successfully complete an expression of interest application and partake in an informal interview with the ADLT and one other member of the leadership group to assess suitability for the role.
  • Training and support for members of the PET will be provided by the Centre of Learning, Innovation and Professional Practice (CLIPP) and by ADLT.
  • Membership of the PET will be assessed every 2 years by the ALDT.
  • Staff who are not a member of the PET, may participate in the second model of peer enhancement with guidance from the Program Leader/Program Coordinator (i.e. Course Description Peer Enhancement).
  • Members of the PET will also undergo the Model 1 peer enhancement process themselves to ensure they are familiar with the logistics prior to commencing the process with other staff.
  • The size and logistics of the PET is at the discretion of the ADLT. This enables the process to be expanded and allow for larger groups and clusters of staff to be more broadly involved in the process. It is clearly acknowledged that the development of judgement and learning is enhanced when staff work with colleagues to continually reflect on their own practice of teaching.

2. Summary of the important mode stages:Plan; Review; Feedback; Respond

Importance of the “Plan” stage

  • Agreements made at “Plan” stage will be recorded appropriately and adhered to throughout the enhancement process.
  • It is important to make it clear at the planning stage, that the materials generated during the Peer Enhancement of Learning and Teaching Model 1 process, remains the property of the reviewee and should not be shared with a third party without written consent of the reviewee (See Exception 1).  Exception 1: The materials generated within Model 1, must be made available to the supervisor by the reviewee if this is relevant in a PRDP or equivalent situation (For further information, refer to Action 4).
  • It is important to make it clear at the planning stage that materials generated during the Course Description Peer Enhancement Model 2 process, will be made available to the program coordinator/program leader and the relevant ADLT upon request. The documents will also be included in the PRDP if relevant to situation. For further information see Action 4.
  • It is important to make it clear at the planning stage, which situation is relevant to underpin the purpose of the enhancement discussion.  For further information see Action 4.

Importance of the “Review” stage

  • Peer reviewers and reviewees will approach their role in the spirit of respect and collegiality and will behave in a professional and sensitive manner.
  • Peer reviewers will provide candid feedback throughout this process and offer encouragement for growth to the relevant staff member in the field of learning and teaching. The peer reviewer may potentially disseminate examples of best practice in learning and teaching context where appropriate to the reviewee and use this opportunity to learn more about the practice being demonstrated.
  • Peer reviewers will remain a silent observer (See Note 1) within the learning and teaching environment, although they may be initially introduced to the class environment. Note 1: If in the instance there a reviewer has a strong concern for an occupational hazard and safety, the observer must intervene appropriately as outlined in institutional policies and procedures.

Importance of the “Feedback” stage

Providing effective feedback to staff is a crucial step in the peer enhancement process. This can be achieved in a number of ways and must always consider the following focal points:

  • Has the development of teaching as its primary focus. Even when the reason for peer enhancement is summative (i.e., for evaluation purposes) it can still be used for developmental purposes.
  • Is timely. For face-to-face teaching verbal feedback should be provided immediately following a class or as soon as possible afterwards. Written feedback will necessarily take longer to complete but there should not be long delays between the review enhancement and the receipt of written feedback. The maximum period between the commencement of the review and receipt of written feedback should be 7 working days.
  • Gives emphasis to the reviewees priorities and objectives. Form A (see resources) includes space for the reviewee to list these and they should be discussed in the “Plan” stage of the process.
  • Always includes positive feedback and affirmation of aspects that are working well. The purpose of the peer review and feedback is for developmental purposes. It should not focus solely on communication style but provides information to the reviewee about the effectiveness of their timing, pacing, choice of learning activities, volume of content covered and, importantly, what students are doing throughout the class (i.e., did their attention wander at a particular point; at what stage were the students especially engaged, comment on online learning design etc.). In an online capacity, particular aspects to view include students’ engagement with forums, online tasks and assessment engagement and student evidence of learning. In addition, please refer to Table 1: Key Quality Indicators of Learning and Teaching and Table 2: Key Principles of Assessment as support documents when performing the peer review and to provide helpful hints in responding with feedback.
  • Always includes suggestions for addressing areas that are not working well. The peer reviewer and the reviewee will often collaboratively arrive at solutions to teaching challenges during post-review discussions. The conversation between the reviewee and the reviewer should be viewed as a development process. It is often insufficient to point out an issue without having a genuine conversation on how to improve that specific aspect of teaching.
  • Is reasonably detailed and descriptive so that when the teacher consults the written report in future they will know what aspects of their teaching are being referred to (Reference: Farrell, 2011, p. 12).
  • Differences in views regarding peer review comments: As with any academic peer review opportunity (i.e. peer review of peer reviewed research and/or learning and teaching grant and/or learning and teaching awards etc.), there may be situations where there are difference in view regarding the peer review process. These are captured within the Form A (Part B). Staff can also make use of the Staff Grievance process.

Importance of the “Respond” stage

  • The reviewees must respond to the reviewers comments and behave in a professional and sensitive manner. It is essential that this process focuses on tangible elements that can be influenced and that is it embraced as a reflective exercise which is underpinned by reflective practice within the a developmental context.
  • Peer reviewers and reviewees will use this experience as a learning exercise in peer enhancing learning and teaching with a focus on student learning opportunities and associated teaching strategies. 
  • The response section within the templates allows for ample flexibility from both the reviewee and the reviewer.

3. Using and interpreting the results of peer enhancement

Evidence regarding teaching effectiveness and evidence from peer enhancement if learning and teaching can be utilized in a number of ways. Refer to the following exert regarding the potential use and interpretation of peer enhancement as ‘evidence’:

  1. The key purpose of this peer enhancement process is to provide staff with objective feedback regarding learning and teaching and some guidance on how staff might develop a change and implementation plan from the review.  The feedback can also be used to reflect on your role as university teacher and on your education beliefs.
  2. Feedback captured in the peer enhancement of learning and teaching process can be utilized in applications for promotion, or discipline/school/faculty/national and/or international learning and teaching awards and grants.
  3. Treat the information from peer enhancement as one element of information presented — it should have a standing on a par with other information provided on teaching achievements and activities, and should be neither elevated above other data nor presented apologetically.
  4. Explain in appropriate detail the context in which the peer enhancement took place. This is necessary to assist with the interpretation of the information. Explain the processes, their purposes and any limits to the scope of the peer enhancement activity. It is important to discuss the nature of the peer enhancement processes and the resulting information that has been documented.
  5. Present the information from peer enhancement even-handedly: identify both strengths and areas for attention if these have been identified through peer enhancement processes.
  6. Comment on any action you have taken following peer enhancement, such as enhancements to curriculum, teaching methods or assessment as a result of peer feedback, and the effects of these.
  7. ‘Triangulate’ the information from peer enhancement with information from other sources; that is, weave peer enhancement information along with other information (Reference: Adapted from Harris, Farrell, Bell, et al 2008)

4. Aligning existing FedUni practices with Peer Enhancement Models

Existing FedUni Practice Relevant Peer Enhancement Model Context Roll-out date

SITUATION 1:

Academic Probation

Model 1: Peer Enhancement of Learning and Teaching

To demonstrate peer enhancement of learning and teaching and in context to a specific academic level and role within a faculty/school/ directorate environment.

Review frequency - This process must be completed at least once during the academic probation period.

Please refer to Table 1: Key Quality Indicators of Learning and Teaching for additional support in completing this peer enhancement model as relevant in the Model 1 template.

It is the responsibility of the Head of School/Deputy Head of School to arrange this peer enhancement procedure once a staff member has been appointed into a lecturing role.

Immediate roll out

SITUATION 2:

Annual Performance Review Development Program (PRDP)

Model 1: Peer Enhancement of Learning and Teaching

To demonstrate sustained scholarship and/or professional practice in the discipline they teach.

This peer enhancement process can also be requested for the purpose of self-reflection/self-study with a focus on the scholarship of learning and teaching.

The feedback from this peer enhancement is documented within annual PRDP discussions with the direct supervisor.  A staff member can request more than one peer review using model 1 to demonstrate progress within a specific area.

Please refer to Table 1: Key Quality Indicators of Learning and Teaching for additional support in completing this peer enhancement model as relevant in the Model 1 template.

Review frequency: To be performed at least once every 3 years. A spread of face to face and online courses should be reviewed during this process.

The Executive Dean and/or Heads of Schools and/or Deputy Heads of Schools are required to develop a schedule for staff within their faculty to engage with this process. Individual staff can also indicate to their supervisor early in the PRDP process, that they would like to be involved in a peer enhancement discussion for that year.

At the conclusion of Semester 2, 2016

5-10% of faculty staff members

Continue roll out each semester until 100% of staff have participated in 1 cycle of peer enhancement by Semester 2, 2018

(approximate goals)

Model 2: Course Description Peer Enhancement

The Course Description is the key document provided to students at the commencement of each teaching cycle. Therefore it is imperative that each Course Description peer review is performed by an independent academic who is not associated with any component of that course.

The Course Description Peer Enhancement documentation will be completed by the appropriate Course Coordinator and the nominated reviewer. The nominated reviewer does not need to be from the faculty PET.

The feedback from this peer enhancement is documented within annual PRDP discussions with the direct supervisor. It is acknowledged that this document may be co-written with another academic and this needs to be clearly stipulated within the process.

Review frequency - This enhancement process occurs at a minimum of every third delivery of the course.  This review process occurs prior to the commencement of the teaching semester.

Please refer to Table 1: Key Quality Indicators of Learning and Teaching and Table 2: Key Principles of Assessment as support documents to refer to during this peer review model and as relevant in the Model 2 template.

SITUATION 3:

Sessional Staff

Model 1: Peer Enhancement of Learning and Teaching

To demonstrate peer enhancement of learning and teaching in context with expectations for a sessional/casual employment arrangement in a specific academic level, role and discipline within a faculty/school/directorate.

This peer enhancement can be captured in the following appropriate documents: (1) Performance Plan; (2) Professional Development Plan;

Sessional staff are expected to participate in professional development activities that may be offered to ensure a high standard of professional practice (Reference: Sessional Teaching Employment Contract - Terms and Conditions, Item 14, pg. 2). Planning discussions and feedback discussions should occur as part of interactions with FedUni staff in preparing to teach.

Review frequency: To be performed at least once every 3 years or at the request of a supervisor.

Please refer to Table 1: Key Quality Indicators of Learning and Teaching for support in completing this peer enhancement model as relevant in the Model 1 template.

At the conclusion of Semester 2, 2016

5% of sessional staff members in all faculties

At the conclusion of Semester 1, 2017 a minimum of 10% of sessional staff will have partaken in this peer enhancement process

Continue roll out each semester until 100% of sessional staff have participated in 1 cycle of peer enhancement by Semester 2, 2018

(approximate goals)

SITUATION 4:

Academic Promotion

Model 1: Peer Enhancement of Learning and Teaching

All academic staff applying for a promotion using the Standard Application method are strongly encouraged to partake in this model of peer enhancement of learning and teaching. In this situation, the peer reviewer must be completed by a Senior Lecturer (Level C or above). The reviewer must fully understand the purpose of the peer review and should refer to teaching claims presented within the promotion documentation.   

The feedback gathered during the peer enhancement process could be used as evidence to support teaching claims within the probation documentation.

Please refer to Table 1: Key Quality Indicators of Learning and Teaching for support in completing this peer enhancement model and as relevant in the Model 1 template.

To come in effect as of Semester 2, 2016.

SITUATION 5:

Partner Providers

Model 1: Peer Enhancement of Learning and Teaching

To provide structured peer enhancement of learning and teaching opportunities and feedback between FedUni staff course coordinators and partner provider staff. This two-way peer enhancement discussion is an opportunity to focus on suggested course improvements in context with high quality course indicators.

To provide an opportunity for all newly appointed partner provider staff in accordance with the Appointment and Assessment of Teaching at Partner Provider Locations Procedure (Policy Cod: CG 1541) to engage with Peer Enhancement of Learning and Teaching and familiarize themselves with FedUni expectations regarding assessment and key quality indicators for learning and teaching.

Each faculty will need to determine whether this peer enhancement will occur face to face or via video conferencing and/or by a local staff member supported by FedUni PET member or equivalent.

The Associate Dean of Engagement, the Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching and key representation from the Centre of University Partnerships (CUP) will work together to coordinate these peer enhancement processes across the faculties and campuses.

Review frequency: To be performed at least once every 3 years for a partner lecturer or at the request of a supervisor.

Please refer to Table 1: Key Quality Indicators of Learning and Teaching for support in completing this peer enhancement model and as relevant in the Model 1 template.

Please also refer to the ESOS Act, Standard 14 (Staff Capability; Education resources; Premises). “The registered provider must have and implement appropriate documented policies and processes for the recruitment, induction, performance assessment and ongoing development of members of staff involved with the recruitment or delivery of education or client services to students” ESOS Act, Part D

At the conclusion of Semester 2, 2016

5% of partner providers staff at each location

Continue roll out each semester until close to 100% of partner staff have participated in 1 cycle of peer enhancement by Semester 2, 2020

(approximate goals)

5. Table 1.0 - Key Indicators for Quality Learning and Teaching

Additional institutional support documents can be located at the following location: http://federation.edu.au/staff/learning-and-teaching/bold-learning

Table 1.0 – Key Indicators for Quality Learning and Teaching
 

1. Clear goals

  • There are clear goals for students’ learning.
  • The design of the course environment including the moodle shell design and learning resources support learning using BOLD initiatives
  • Rationale provided for studying the topic
  • Creation of empathy between educator and students
  • Evidence for enthusiasm for topic

2. Evidence of current and relevant preparation

  • Course content is current, relevant, authentic and theoretical concepts are related /applied to real-world scenarios (maybe limited to discipline relevant PET members)
  • Teaching and learning practices are informed by scholarship and awareness of relevant innovations
  • Content is disaggregated into simple concepts and relationship to other materials presented is made explicit
  • Hierarchy of relative importance for concepts presented is clearly highlighted
  • Preparation takes students' previous knowledge and experience into account as relevant to year level and discipline
  • Learning resources and online sites are well structured and updated in a timely way (See BOLD Learning Website)

3. Appropriate and effectively used teaching, learning and assessment methods

  • Learning and teaching methods and assessment are aligned with learning goals and objectives
  • Students are encouraged to see the connections between the parts of the course and their overarching program and how it related to the broader field of study
  • Students have opportunities to develop relevant ‘generic’ graduate attributes
  • Students are encouraged to engage actively in learning
  • Students have opportunities to interact, collaborate with and learn from others
  • Student inquiry, creativity, problem solving and experimentation (relevant to the discipline) are encouraged
  • There are appropriate levels of intellectual challenge and support for students
  • Students have opportunities for choice and independent learning
  • Students have opportunities to relate what they are learning to broader contexts
  • Innovative or innovatively adapted methods are used appropriately to offer new opportunities for learning
  • Methods offer flexibility to respond to students’ experiences, understandings and needs and to changing situations

4. Features of effective communication and interaction

  • Face-to-face and/or online explanations are clear
  • Student interest and engagement are encouraged
  • Teaching is responsive to students’ understandings, ideas and progress in learning
  • Students’ communications and questions are responded to effectively and in a timely way
  • Teaching encourages students to interact with others and discuss, compare, develop and challenge ideas
  • Assessment expectations, criteria and standards are clearly communicated to students
  • Feedback on students’ learning is clear, effective and timely (for example, staff interaction in forums etc.)
  • There is clear guidance for students on the structure of online and blended resources
  • There is effective co-ordination and communication with other staff teaching in the subject (where appropriate)

5. Student outcomes

  • Students have actively engaged in the course learning and teaching activities (face to face and online)
  • Students have the capacity to meet the achieved intended learning goals
  • Students are encouraged to think critically

6. Session mechanics

  • The learning and teaching methods were appropriate to the objectives of the session (face to face/online)
  • The commencement and conclusion of the session was appropriate
  • The pace and time-management of the session was appropriate
  • The methods used to attract and keep students’ attention was appropriate
(Reference: Adapted from McKenzie et al 2011)

6. Table 2.0 - Key Principles for Assessment

Table 2.0 - Key Principles for Assessment
   

Principle 1

Assessment should be seen as an integral part of the learning and teaching

This principle is achieved when:

  • There is a clear alignment between stated learning outcomes (or objectives), the learning experiences provided for students, and the assessment tasks
  • Student understanding of the assessment process is facilitated by clear explanations of the assessment tasks, how the assessment tasks relate to the learning outcomes, and the criteria and standards against which students will be assessed
  • Assessment tasks are designed to assess relevant UB graduate attributes as well as discipline-specific criteria
  • There is a clear progression in the assessment requirements within a course and through the progress of a program and
  • Assessment  tasks  assess  the  capacity  to  analyze  and  synthesize  information  and  concepts,  not  just  recall  the information previously presented

Principle 2

Assessment has four key purposes and these should be considered when developing assessment tasks and learning experiences for students in a course of study

These purposes are to:

  1. Guide students’ development of meaningful learning
  2. Inform the students of their progress
  3. Inform staff on the progress of students, and the effectiveness of their teaching
  4. Provide data for Schools and Faculties to:
  • Arrive at final grades for students in a course of study & make decisions on the awarding of a qualification and rank students for awards or progress to another level of study
  • Ensure academic quality and standards are upheld and maintained at FedUni

This principle is achieved when:

  • Assessment supports student learning and tests their achievement by providing clear opportunities to demonstrate their learning and skill development
  • Assessment  provides  students  with  descriptions  of  their  progress  against  stated  learning  outcomes,  criteria  and achievement
  • Assessment feedback provided to students is both detailed and constructive, returned in a timely manner, and allows students to benefit in the preparation of future assessment tasks
  • Feedback from assessment tasks (and other sources) provides clear information for staff to make judgments about students’ progress against the criteria and standards, and enables them to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching
  • Assessment tasks are weighted to balance the developmental (‘formative’) and judgmental (‘summative’) roles of assessment. That is, early low-stakes, low-weight assessment should be used to provide students with constructive feedback to improve their achievement – later assessment tasks of higher weight could be used for summative assessment
  • Plagiarism in various forms is minimized through careful task design, clear explanations and education about academic integrity, and monitoring of academic honesty by academic staff

Principle 3

Assessment practices and processes must be transparent and fair

This principle is achieved when:

  • Clear criteria and achievement standards for the assessment of student work are made available to students, with the task descriptions at the beginning of the semester
  • Assessment tasks are designed to ensure there are no inherent biases that may disadvantage any student groups
  • The anonymity of students’ work is maintained in the assessment process where this is possible and practical
  • At a year level within a School, scheduling and design of assessment tasks take into considerations student workloads
  • Penalties and adjustments, such as late penalties and moderation of grades, are made consistently, and according to clearly articulated policy readily available to students and
  • At a School and University level, there are clear and published processes available to students who request their results be reviewed

Reference: UTAS Guidelines for Good Assessment Practice (2011)

Supporting Documents

References

Farrell, K. (2011), Collegial feedback on teaching: A guide to peer review. University of Melbourne-Centre for the Study of Higher Education.

Gosling, D. (2002), Models of peer observation of teaching. Generic Centre: Learning and Teaching Support Network. Retrieved, 8(10), p.08. Accessed via https://www.researchgate.net/profile/David_Gosling/publication/267687499_Models_of_Peer_Observation_of_Teaching/links/545b64810cf249070a7955d3.pdf

Higher Education Standards Framework (2015), Australian Government; ComLaw -F2015L01639. Accessed via https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2015L01639/Download.

Harris, K-L., Farrell, K., Bell, M., Devlin, M. and James, R. (2008), Peer Enhancement of teaching in Australian higher education: A handbook to support institutions in developing and embedding effective policies and practices. Centre for the Study of Higher Education. 

McKenzie, J. and Parker, N. (2011), Peer review in online and blended learning environments (Final report). ALTC, Australian Government of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Accessed via http://www.iml.uts.edu.au/peer-review.

UTAS Guidelines for Good Assessment Practice (2011), Three Principles of Assessment. UTAS Publication revised by Moira Cordiner, Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching, University of Tasmania, Original 2007.

Forms

Responsibility

  • The DVC Learning and Quality and Director, CLIPP is responsible for monitoring the implementation, outcomes and scheduled review of this procedure.
  • The Executive Dean of Faculties is responsible for ensuring compliance with the situations, models and oversight of the operational implementation as specified in this procedure.

Promulgation

The Peer Review of Learning and Teaching Procedure will be communicated throughout the University community in the form of:

  • An announcement notice via FedNews website and on the Recently Approved Documents;
  • Final version will be tabled at the FedUni Learning and Teaching Committee agenda;
  • Email to Executive Deans, Heads of Schools, Deputy Heads of Schools, ADLT;
  • Within professional development opportunities such as Academic Induction Program and the Graduate Certificate of Education (Tertiary Teaching)

Implementation

The Peer Enhancement of Learning and Teaching Procedure (current document) will be implemented throughout the University via:

  • Embedded within professional development opportunities such as Academic Induction Program; Graduate Certificate of Education (Tertiary Teaching)
  • University wide information sessions;
  • Peer Enhancement training workshops offered by CLIPP;
  • ADLT establishment of faculty specific Peer Enhancement Teams.

Records Management

Title Location Responsible Officer Minimum Retention Period
Peer Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (Model 1) Uploaded into PRDP system Academic/teaching staff member  
Course Description Peer Enhancement (Model 2) Uploaded into PRDP system Academic/ teaching staff member  
Course Description Peer Enhancement (Model 2) Faculty L Drive Program Coordinator