Learning conversations to support peer review in online and blended learning environments
Andrews, T, Wilson, G & Sheldon, N 2014, 'Learning conversations to support peer review in online and blended learning environments', in R Orngreen & K Levinsen (eds), Proceedings of the 13th European Conference on eLearning ECEL-2014, Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark, 30-31 October, pp.30-31. ISBN: 9781910309674
As a consequence of the continual adoption of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) online and blended learning have become commonplace activities in higher education. While TEL can provide many benefits for learners, many staff struggle to develop the skills and understanding necessary to design, develop and deliver high quality learning in these environments. Peer review of teaching and learning is acknowledged as a powerful professional learning tool for online and blended learning environments that can be utilised to assist staff to develop their skills in relation to teaching and learning. Peer review can be particularly powerful in recognising and addressing specific areas for professional learning about one’s teaching practice. However, staff can find such approaches judgmental and fo‐ cused on metrics and show reluctance to participate in such activities. There is also a view that once a development task such as peer review becomes formal‐ ised, the meaning of development is changed lessening the benefits of engage‐ ment in the process. This paper reports on a work in progress relating to a funded Australian Government Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) project in two uni‐ versities that piloted a reciprocal ‘learning conversation’ approach to peer review. This approach encourages the development of an ongoing dialogue around teach‐ ing and learning that goes beyond an exchange of facts and ideas and creates an opportunity for mutual and reciprocal learning – a collaborative as opposed to a developmental model of peer learning. The paper provides a definition of peer learning, examines the literature in relation to peer review of online teaching, and provides a rational for exploring “learning conversations” as an approach to peer review. It outlines the project features, processes, and progress to date. A second paper will report on the project’s deliverables and evaluation findings.