Re-conceptualising PATS

Contemporary PATS

One way to represent a contemporary PATS design is to use a matrix that describes the dimensions of what can be or is being varied from the classic version. The matrix functions as a framework for understanding where each contemporary PATS case is situated in relation to other PATS cases. The primary dimensions of variation are:

Purpose: an aspect of Quality Enhancement (QE)

  • Quality Improvement (QI- : fixing a problem or QI+ : implementing an innovation)
  • Quality Assurance (QA: reporting external standards)
  • Scholarship of Learning and Teaching (SOTL: reporting to the higher education community)

People: Peer partnership model

  • Mentor/mentee, peer-to-peer
  • Employment category (casual, contract, permanent)
  • Mode of peer interaction (Face-to-face; distance)

Process: to ensure planning, milestones, reports, professional development, deliverables

  • Timeframe for engagement
  • Scope (unit/course/program/curriculum mapping)
  • Outputs (Things to deliver: e.g. teaching innovation, new resources, course review, course accreditation, reports, publications, new resources)
Variation by Variation of some or all elements in the matrix
Purpose QI – Quality Improvement QA – Quality Assurance SOTL – Scholarship of Teaching & Learning
People PPM – Peer Partnership Model EC – Employment Contract MI – Mode of peer Interaction
Process T – Timeframe for engagement S – Scope O – Outputs

Table 1. PATS Variation Description Framework – the 3P3V matrix

The relationship between “Classic” and “Contemporary” PATS

The case stories in this Guide describe a wide range of PATS variations. Variations build in choice and discretion, the ability to respond to contextual constraints and to create links to existing institutional systems for professional development, reporting and rewards. However, it is important to establish, “What changes to the original PATS design are possible such that a contemporary PATS is identifiable as a variation of classic PATS?”

Table 2 summarises core characteristics of classic PATS in comparison with PATS variations in terms of ‘on a spectrum’.

‘Classic’ PATS PATS variations
Tightly structured framework of activities to achieve specific goals that are related to improving a single unit. Loosely structured set of activities aligned to achieve specified goals that are related to which aspects of quality enhancement are in focus.
Highly specified relational process

  • primarily 1:1 peer-partnership model
  • participants have defined roles: mentor or mentee or peer-mentor
  • primarily teacher of a unit with mentor
Negotiated relational process

  • no limit on number of participants in a peer partnership
  • fluid roles (shared leadership)
  • relational groupings can include COP, teaching team, other staff categories (e.g. sessional staff, PhD candidates).
Limited scope goals (Quality Improvement focus – either remediation or reinvigoration of a subject/unit within a degree program). Situated goals related to different aspects of quality enhancement

Nested goals (can include quality improvement, quality assurance and SOTL).

Short-term, limited scope quality improvement projects, one-off. Project scope and timing extendible; can include ongoing projects dedicated to continuous quality enhancement.
Targeted, externally provided professional development (e.g. workshop). Ad hoc, opportunistic, in-house or externally provided professional development. Shared leadership in capability building of teachers.
Scholarship a welcome but not expected outcome. Scholarship can be embedded into the PATS variation as a core element.
Design is underpinned by explicit theoretical understandings that inform decision-making in relation to People, Purpose and Process.

Goal is to empower teaching staff through model of peer-led, collegial activities Value the individual (their role, contribution, knowledge and skills)

Relationships based on respect and mutual desire for good teaching practice and curriculum design/delivery

Rewards (tangible and intangible)

Establish an evidence-base to inform decisions so that curriculum and teaching meets the requirements of standards for learning and teaching (monitoring, intervening, reporting)

Table 2. Core characteristics of ‘classic’ PATS and ‘contemporary’ PATS variations