1. Explanatory Statement (1/1)


Developing Excellence in Learning and Teaching through a Peer Assisted Teaching Scheme
Thank you for volunteering to participate in the program Developing Excellence in Learning and Teaching through a Peer Assisted Teaching Scheme. My name is Associate Professor Angela Carbone and I am the Director, Education Excellence in the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) at Monash University. I have recently received funding from the Office for Learning and Teaching (Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education) to extend the implementation of a Peer Assisted Teaching Scheme (PATS) across the Australian higher education sector. Your involvement in this program will consist of one or more of three elements – participation in the PATS itself, and, if willing, completion of one or two anonymous online surveys and/or participation in a single focus group to collect data on your experience of the scheme.

Why were you chosen for this research?
You have volunteered to participate in this program either to reinvigorate the quality of a unit you teach, or to assist others to improve theirs. If you are willing, we would also welcome your completion of two anonymous online surveys, this initial survey to be completed prior to semester starting and the other following your completion of PATS, to gather your perspective on the current forms of support offered to teachers in Australian higher education. We would also welcome your participation in a 1.5 hour focus group to share your experience of the scheme. You may indicate your willingness to participate in a focus group on the consent form you were provided with in your PATS Induction Kit.

The aim/purpose of the research
The PATS itself aims to equip academics with skills and strategies to reinvigorate their units. Academics within a faculty are partnered together and follow an informal process to discuss strategies to improve unit quality and develop educational innovations. This particular project aims to extend the implementation of PATS at additional institutions across the Australian higher education sector. In doing so, it builds on two previous projects, including an initial 2010 ALTC Teaching Fellowship trial of PATS at Monash in 2010-2011, as well as a 2012 CADAD-funded trial of PATS at four additional institutions around Australia.

Possible benefits
The possible benefits from this scheme include:
- A consistent and sustainable cross-university strategy/policy to assist academics to reinvigorate their units;
- A trial of PATS resources for use in the higher education sector, and development of improved resources;
- List of barriers, goals and strategies for unit improvement and for wider distribution of reporting and publications;
- Leadership skills development for outstanding teachers involved as mentors in the scheme;
- Identification of perceived challenges and opportunities for the development of PATS as a mechanism to improve quality of teaching in higher education;
- Reinvigorated teaching practice and student experience and improved unit and course evaluations;
- Dissemination of good practice within the higher education sector, through wide distribution of reporting and publications.

What does the research involve?
The study involves extending a model already piloted at Monash University, which has helped academics reinvigorate their units and has led to improvements in unit evaluations. The research component of the project involves gathering data from participants on the current forms of support offered to teachers in Australian higher education, as well as to evaluate the impact of the PATS and test its validity at an institutional level. This data collection will take the form of two anonymous online surveys, along with a 1.5 hour focus group session via video- or tele-conference. In addition, we will be asking for access to participants’ PATS workbooks, which will include SETU data for your unit. Participation in each data collection activity is voluntary.

How much time will the research take?
The time involved in collecting research data will be:
- This pre-semester online survey (approximately 10 minutes)
- Focus group interview (approximately 1.5 hours)
- Post-semester online survey (approximately 5 minutes)

Any potential level of inconvenience and/or discomfort to the participant will be kept to a minimum. Possible or reasonably foreseeable risks of harm or side-effects to the potential participants are embarrassment about talking about areas of improvements and strategies taken to implement these.

PATS participants are typically provided with 10 coffee vouchers each as an incentive and reward for their participation, although additional incentives may be offered by their individual faculty and/or institution.

Can I withdraw from the research?
Being in this study is voluntary and you are under no obligation to consent to participate. However, if you do consent to participate, you may withdraw from participation at any stage but you will only be able to withdraw data from each survey prior to submitting your responses and from the focus group prior to your approval of the transcript.

Online survey responses will be collected anonymously. Any potentially identifiable data gathered from the survey will be de-identified and reported anonymously at the aggregate level only. Confidentiality or anonymity of the data collected through the focus group will be managed by using pseudonyms/codes. Any published data will be managed in the same way.

Storage of data
Data collected will be stored in accordance with Monash University regulations, kept on University premises, in a locked filing cabinet for 5 years. A report of the study may be submitted for publication, but individual participants will not be identifiable in such a report.

Use of data for other purposes
Please note that data may be used for other purposes, but it will be kept anonymous. Nobody will be named or identified in any way.

If you would like to be informed of the aggregate research findings, please contact Joanne Rae: joanne.rae@monash.edu. The findings are accessible for 5 years.

If you would like to contact the researchers about any aspect of this study, please contact the Chief Investigator:
A/Professor Angela Carbone (PhD)
Director, Education Excellence
Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching)
Building C Rm C3.01
Monash University, Caulfield Campus, VIC 3145
T: +61 3 9903 4481
M: 0407 886 791
E: angela.carbone@monash.edu

If you have a complaint concerning the manner in which this research CF124022 - 2012001937 is being conducted, please contact:
Executive Officer
Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee (MUHREC)
Building 3e Room 111
Research Office
Monash University VIC 3800
T: +61 3 9905 2052
F: +61 3 9905 3831
E: muhrec@monash.edu

Thank you.

A/Professor Angela Carbone