Academic development through a collective approach – introducing peer observation of teaching in a multidisciplinary faculty

Academic development through a collective approach




Peer observation of teaching is seen as a significant feature of professional development in higher education, aiming to improve teaching and learning. This qualitative case study explores how peer observation can be introduced at a multidisciplinary faculty with STEM and business educations, identifying opportunities and challenges experienced when colleagues participate in peer observation. A peer observation project was launched as part of implementing the faculty strategy to enhance educational quality and led by the vice-dean of education at the faculty.  A stepwise protocol focusing on planning, classroom management and self-reflection was used to help organize the cooperation. Twelve academics participated, all were observed during teaching, and all acted as an observer. Semi-structured interviews with four participants and a summary from the closing meeting of the project, showed that peer observation enhanced the educational discourse with their significant colleagues and enabled to accentuate teaching as a collective approach. The findings of this study indicate the potential of peer observation of teaching. Experience was gained on how education leaders can approach the task of introducing peer observation of teaching as a practice in a multidisciplinary faculty, overcoming barriers to participation such as lack of time and fear of being observed, and enabling a real step away from teaching as a private enterprise towards teaching as acollective approach for faculty development.


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Author Biographies

Monica A Sundset, UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Deputy Leader and Professor in Animal Physiology at Department of Arctic and Marine Biology

Merited Teacher at UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Ragnhild Sandvoll, Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology; UiT – The Arctic University of Norway

Associate Professor






Nordic Journal of STEM Education - Full Papers