Module code: GCAM010

Module Overview

The peer observation process is supported by a body of literature expounding the positive, developmental impact it can have upon academic practice and understanding of the student learning experience, increasingly being adopted at an institutional level.  However, a number of authors have begun to question the effectiveness of peer observation in the development of practice and understanding. This module aims to critically evaluate the peer observation process as a means of informing the development of academic practice.   

Module provider

Surrey Institute of Education

Module Leader

LYGO-BAKER Simon (Sy Inst Educ)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 109

Seminar Hours: 16

Guided Learning: 25

Module Availability

Semester 2

Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Characterizing ‘effective’ teaching – including the development of personal theories of teaching, and criteria for evaluating teaching appropriate to the disciplinary / professional context.

  • An introduction to the peer observation of teaching – including key concepts / theories and challenges relating to the peer observation process, and consideration of what ‘effective’ observation involves.

  • Characterizing ‘effective’ feedback on teaching – including key concepts / theories and a consideration of what ‘effective’ feedback might look like.

  • Peer observation of teaching – including observing teaching from a variety of other disciplines and receiving peer feedback after being observed.

  • Reflections upon the peer observation process – including evaluation of key areas of development/changes in understanding, development of personal theories of teaching and criteria for evaluating teaching.

  • Formative assessment for module – including formative peer and tutor feedback on ideas for assignment.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework CRITICAL EVALUATION (2,500 WORDS) 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

Their achievement of the learning outcomes.  The module design is underpinned by the concept of constructive alignment to ensure that the learning and teaching strategies and assessment task align with the module learning outcomes. 


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:


A 2500 word written assignment requiring a critical evaluation of the peer observation process within the participants’ context that draws upon relevant literature (LO1-3). The choice of focus for the assignment will be negotiated according to an aspect of participants’ observation related area of interest.  Examples of the type of assignment topic that might emerge from the seminars could be:


•             a critique of an institutional peer observation strategy;

•             a protocol for undertaking an ‘effective’ peer observation;

•             small-scale evaluative study investigating the impact of peer observation on academic practice


The deadlines for the assessment associated with this module are as follows:


Formative peer-assessment deadlines - weeks 4 and 10

Formative peer observations – to be completed by week 8

Formative self-assessment deadline – weeks 9 and 13

Summative assessment deadline - week 13



Formative assessment and feedback


Each online interaction will be informed by the results of independent study tasks, which will be posted online and on which peers will be encouraged to reflect and comment either synchronously or asynchronously.  Participants will receive tutor and peer feedback on a peer observation proforma that they have developed within the first half of the module.  In addition, the final asynchronous interaction will provide participants with a chance to outline their ideas for the summative assignment and receive peer feedback on these ideas, and during the final synchronous interaction participants will receive tutor and peer feedback to inform the development of their ideas.  Finally, each participant will be required to complete and submit a self-assessment form after completing the 4 peer observations and with the final assessment task.

Module aims

  •  Critically evaluate the role of peer observation in the development of academic practice appropriate to the disciplinary / professional context.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Engage critically with key concepts and theories of peer observation in higher education KC
002 Critically reflect upon teaching practices to identify development needs  CP
003 Synthesise peer observation theory with self-evaluative inquiry for the purpose of informing and enhancing practice  PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:


Enable participants to critically evaluate the role of peer observation in the development of academic practice appropriate to their disciplinary / professional context.  This will be achieved by introducing participants to self-evaluative inquiry-led approaches to investigating and reflecting critically on their practice.


The learning and teaching methods include:


It is expected that this module will entail a total of at least 150 hours of study. This will include:


  • Formal online interaction (10 hours)

  • Guided study (25 hours) – of which 11 hours comprises of fieldwork

  • Independent study (115 hours) 


Fieldwork will emphasise participatory and active learning drawing on participants’ work-based experience through engagement in the peer observation process both as observer and observee.  In addition, participants will engage in activities and reflective tasks between formal online interactions that will introduce them to self-evaluative inquiry-led approaches to investigating and reflecting critically on their teaching practices.


Online interactions will involve a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous interactions with the tutor and peer group that will reflect the module content outlined above.  There will also be a guided study task for each topic, the results of which will be posted and discussed within an online forum:


Topic 1: Development of personal theory of teaching and criteria for undertaking a peer observation.


Topic 2: Developing personal criteria for undertaking a peer observation to incorporate evidence-

              informed criteria


Topic 3: Reflect upon how to provide effective feedback and incorporate into the development of a peer

              observation pro-forma 


Topic 4: Observe 2 peers in other disciplines and arrange for 2 peer observations of your teaching 



Topic 5: Write a brief reflective piece on the experience of acting as an observer and observee,

              identifying key areas of learning / development / challenges / frustrations


Topic 6: Prepare an outline of ideas for the summative assignment

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: GCAM010

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Higher Education MA 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2022/3 academic year.