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Peer Review Of Teaching: A Multi Faceted Approach To Improving Student Learning

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Feedback and IT: Improving Student Learning

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.989.1 - 11.989.10



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Paper Authors


Matthew Roberts University of Wisconsin-Platteville

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MATTHEW ROBERTS is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Roberts earned his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Brigham Young University in 1993 then spent four years in the U.S. Air Force as a civil engineering officer. He received his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in 2002 and has been teaching structural engineering topics at the University of Wisconsin–Platteville since then.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Peer Review of Teaching: A Multi-Faceted Approach to Improving Student Learning

Abstract Many Universities use the student evaluation as the primary tool for assessment of teach- ing. Peer review of teaching is also an important method of assessment, both formative and summative. The aspects of successful peer review of teaching are presented and sev- eral methods of peer review are described. Significant issues to consider when using peer review for teaching of civil engineering courses are given. The different methods can be employed as necessary to make various assessments of teaching effectiveness, and most importantly, to increase student learning.

Introduction There has been much debate on the degree to which the academy values teaching as compared to research by faculty members. One way to determine the value of an activity is to look at how the activity is evaluated. The sine qua non in the evaluation of scholarly research is peer review. As scholars, we present our research findings to our peers at conferences and publish in peer-reviewed journals. Peer review is the way we evaluate the quality of our research.

Consider how teaching is evaluated. Often, student evaluations are the only measure taken to assess the quality of teaching. While student evaluations are an important part of teaching assessment,1,2 there are certain aspects of teaching that should be evaluated by peers. As Hutchings states (emphasis in original):

If teaching were to be seen as scholarly, intellectual work, it would not be enough to evaluate teaching simply by looking at student ratings. Teach- ing, like research, should be peer reviewed. Indeed, until teaching is peer reviewed, it will never be truly valued.3

Besides the need for peer review as a validating agent of effective teaching, peer review is also essential in the improvement of teaching. In the “booming, buzzing confusion of the classroom” it is hard for the instructor, who is deeply involved in the process, to take it all in. The students are also (hopefully) deeply involved in the learning process. The help of a peer in seeing ourselves teach “from the outside” is imperative when trying to improve teaching.4

Peer review of teaching is also important because, frankly, teaching is hard. Instructors soon come to realize that “teaching is a highly complex, situated activity which is learned largely and necessarily by experience.”5 The help of peers is vital in improving teaching to positively affect student learning.

For many, peer review of teaching means having another faculty member sit in on a lec- ture period and critique it. However, there is much more to peer review than this one- dimensional view. In fact, using several methods in combination can result in a synergis-

Roberts, M. (2006, June), Peer Review Of Teaching: A Multi Faceted Approach To Improving Student Learning Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1141

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