Peer Observation: Improvement of Teaching Effectiveness through Class Participation at a Polytechnic University
Keywords: peer observation, improvement of teaching effectiveness, enhancement of student learning
AbstractA major goal of peer observation in the classroom is to provide instructors with formative feedback that will improve teaching effectiveness and enhance student learning. Peer observation in higher education has both quality and developmental objectives. Kennesaw State University, formerly Southern Polytechnic State University, offers a voluntary “Teaching Partners Program”, in which two faculty members meet, observe a period of each other’s class, reflect, and then discuss strengths and areas where improvements may be warranted. Any faculty member that is teaching at least one section of one course is eligible to participate in the program during a given semester. Faculty members are typically paired with someone from outside of their own department. This paper presents the results of a research study designed to identify which faculty members are most likely to participate and to understand their perceptions about the program. While the majority of those who participated in the program were assistant professors, motivated in part to participate by a desire to strengthen their tenure review packages, nearly all program participants said they would encourage other faculty members to participate in the program. Results from this study may be used to help other institutions develop or strengthen their own peer observation programs and eventually improve teaching effectiveness and enhance student learning.
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