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Tuesday, May 12 • 1:15pm - 1:45pm
Opening a Classroom

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This is the story of an open education project--but not in the current sense of “open education”. It is about opening a classroom and in doing so, opening oneself up to being observed, evaluated, supported, and inspired.

It is also about opening and expanding our thinking with respect to a practice that is well-established in many higher education institutions: the practice of peer review of teaching. Formative peer review of teaching is a process which often involves the observation of classroom teaching by a peer; the ensuing conversations are usually rich in detail and foster self-reflection and insights into teaching (Gosling, 2014; Thomson, Bell & Hendry, 2015).

This session describes a collaboration between a faculty member, John Vigna, and an educational developer, Isabeau Iqbal. We tell the story of how John's “crazy” idea piqued Isabeau's interest and they decided to challenge the usual (i.e., infrequent) ways of doing peer review of teaching. We affectionately dubbed this project “The PRT Marathon”.

The primary purpose of the project was to invigorate and re-energize John's teaching by having as many visitors come to his classroom over a single term and engage in peer review of teaching. Visitors were faculty members from within the same Creative Writing department as John and faculty members in other disciplines, particularly Science. All of them voluntarily engaged in the process.

The secondary, possibly more covert purpose of the project was to shift the departmental culture of teaching. Specifically, John hoped this initiative might encourage colleagues in the Department of Creative Writing to benefit from the value of opening up their classrooms and collaborating on the craft of teaching and the practical application of pedagogy.

Session purpose and objectives:

This session describes why and how we disturbed and challenged a “traditional” practice used to assess and evaluate teaching in higher education.

Session objectives:
1. To prompt reflection among instructors on how they might continue to meet their own needs for professional growth in teaching

2. To ignite discussion about how the “peer review of teaching marathon” might be modified in the participants’ context

avatar for Isabeau Iqbal

Isabeau Iqbal

Educational Developer, University of British Columbia
Isabeau consults with instructors on teaching and learning matters, facilitates processes and workshops designed to improve teaching and student learning in higher education, and is involved with various formative peer review of teaching initiatives at the University of British Columbia... Read More →
avatar for John Vigna

John Vigna

Instructor, University of British Columbia

Tuesday May 12, 2020 1:15pm - 1:45pm PDT
Ballroom 2

Attendees (4)