Enhancing library instruction through peer review – LIANZA 2023

Elizabeth Sturrock & Lyndall Holstein – Massey University
Created a new class “introduction to open access” and set it up so it’d be on the professional development calendar. So they wanted it to be “right” the first time – so wanted feedback from peers to make sure the teaching was hitting the mark: did it get the idea across clearly, have good pedagogy, content pitched at the right level. It was also a chance to collaborate with colleagues!
Did two real-time presentations across all campuses, presenting as they would in reality, and asking for all possible feedback. (Attendees were library colleagues, including student assistants new to the topic, and some external people.) Got feedback straight after the session, via anonymous forms, in tearoom conversations etc. Practiced active listening (no arguing!)
Collected and categorised feedback into categories. Some about the scope; some advised on tech options; too much reading of words on slides; lots of jargon. Implemented feedback with edits to slides, changing presentation style, incorporating more activities.
Presented again with changes and took more feedback but then it was minor tweaks only.
Finally presented the class for real. 20 attendees mostly associate professors, 100% attendance! Got really positive feedback from participants. Have now done it 7 times in total and also developed an offering for PhDs which was also peer reviewed.

The process worked well – the class was ready to roll out on time. Were happy with willingness of colleagues to peer review work – and with their own reactions to the work being critiqued. Helped leading the way for others to take on feedback about their teaching too – normalising peer review in the culture.
Could have been useful to get user feedback before it was presented officially. It was also difficult to get colleagues to move past general ‘It was great!’ feedback.
Want to extend the approach to all general teaching including Endnote classes, researcher development library workshops – and this session. Want to review teaching on a more regular basis, rather than just ad hoc tweaks.


  • Get in the headspace for critique – stay positive and listen – you don’t need to respond and justify yourself
  • Remember your goal to produce a digestible workshop
  • Incorporate what works – you don’t have to follow all the advice if you have reasons to disagree after reflecting on it
  • Collect feedback via multiple methods – some people give immediate feedback, others think on it and feedback later – some do both!

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