Appendix C: Focus Group Protocol

May 11, 2017

Facilitator’s welcome, introduction and instructions to participants

Welcome and thank you for participating in this focus group. My name is ________ and I am your facilitator. Our notetaker is _______ – and neither of us has been working on any aspect of the P2P initiative. Our roles at CTSI are___________.


  • This focus group discussion is designed to capture P2P faculty participants’ insights and feedback on the various elements of the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Faculty Mentoring for Teaching Pilot Program.
  • Included here are also questions with respect to your perceptions regarding your mentoring relationship in P2P.
  • Information collected will provide important insights on what worked well, as well as challenges and feedback to inform future iterations of the P2P program.
  • This information will inform teaching innovation and research within the University of Toronto community, assist in identifying areas for faculty development programming, resourcing, and education, and be of value to academic and administrative staff in other institutions that have an ongoing interest in peer mentoring for teaching programs.

As a reminder, we will be recording the discussion to facilitate its recollection.
(Note Takers: Switch on the recorder –begin taking notes, also include non-verbals, as appropriate)

Anonymity, Confidentiality & Data Security: Despite being recorded, the data will be anonymized during analysis. All data collected are strictly confidential and the names of participants will not be used in any reporting of this study. We will be transcribing this session and deleting the audio-recordings afterwards. The transcribed notes of the focus group will contain no information that would allow individual subjects to be linked to specific statements. Names will not be transcribed.

I encourage you to answer and comment as accurately and truthfully as possible. For the purpose of anonymity and confidentiality I and the other focus group participants would appreciate it if you would refrain from discussing the comments of other group members outside the focus group. If there are any questions or discussions that you do not wish to answer or participate in, you do not have to do so; however please try to answer and be as involved as possible.

Ground rules

  • The most important rule is that only one person speaks at a time. There may be a temptation to jump in when someone is talking but please wait until they have finished.
  • There are no right or wrong answers
  • You do not have to speak in any particular order, not does each person need to respond to every question.
  • Be mindful of allowing all participants to speak.
  • When you do have something to say, please do so by raising your hand us. There are many of you in the group and it is important that I obtain the views of each of you.
  • You do not have to agree with the views of other people in the group and we want to encourage an open discussion.
  • We have 8 broad questions and I am hoping we will get to all of them, so I may need to move us along at times.
  • Does anyone have any questions? (answers).
  • OK, let’s begin!

Warm up

  • First, I’d like everyone to briefly introduce themselves.
  • Can you tell us your name and academic discipline?

Introductory question


  • ROUGHLY 5-6 MINUTES/QUESTION — monitor time accordingly
  • Generally speaking, the intention of the probes is that these are used in the case where no one says anything or to provide natural follow up to something that was said. There is one instance, Q#8 where we do want each probe to be asked.

I am just going to give you a minute or so to think about your experience with your mentor/coach in P2P and the kinds of teaching related topics you have discussed in your mentoring interactions. (Give them a minute then repeat Q#1 below)

1. Describe teaching-related topics you have discussed in your mentoring meetings/interactions.
a) course evaluations
b) teaching dossier
c) locating resources
d) tenure and promotion guidelines
e) logistics or ‘nuts and bolts’ of teaching
f) stress/anxieties

2. What evidence emerged during P2P that you feel will inform your course/teaching (e.g., may help improve your course or teaching)?
a. mid-course feedback
b. grades
c. personal/anecdotal observations

3. Share any new strategies, approaches or activities that you feel have emerged from the P2P pilot process that have advanced your teaching practice.

4. What worked well or could be improved during P2P?
a. your mentor/coach relationship
b. design (e.g., it was one term, 3 workshops, meetings with partner in between, etc.)
c. content (e.g., skill development as mentor/coaches, peer observation protocols, mid-course feedback, etc.)
d. facilitators (including CTSI facilitators & external consultants from workshop #1)

5. Were there any challenges, problems or issues that arose as you and your peer mentor-coach engaged in the pilot?
a. in your match
b. time constraints
c. how did you resolve these challenges?

6. Please comment on the value of P2P resources (e.g., Facilitator to list the following examples: When Mentoring Meets Coaching (book provided); Handouts; Peer Observation of Teaching Guide; Mid-Course Feedback Guide; Blue Pulse Guide; CTSI facilitators; or other).

7. Share opportunities you may have had to discuss P2P and/or related teaching topics:
a. with colleagues
b. with others in the pilot cohort
c. at the departmental–divisional level (e.g., faculty meetings, presentations) external to U of T

8. Provide recommendations for specific areas of the P2P program to inform future iterations. NOTE Facilitators: Please probe each sub-part
a. workshop format (2 hours x 3 workshops, the first before the term started)
b. time commitment
c. duration of program (1 term vs full year)
d. timing of year (Dec-May)
e. use of software such as Blue Pulse for gathering mid-course feedback
f. other??

Concluding question

  • Of all the things we’ve discussed today, what would you say is one of the most important messages you would like to share about P2P?


  • Thank you for participating. This has been a very successful discussion!
  • Your opinions will be a valuable asset to the study.
  • We hope you have found the discussion interesting.
  • If there are any follow-up questions you have please contact Carol Rolheiser as the PI or speak to me later.
  • I would like to remind you that comments will be anonymized and the discussion we have had should be kept confidential.

NOTE Facilitators: Please collect the recording and notes (labelled with the focus group #, the names of the facilitator and note-taker)

As well, each facilitator will do a brief summary immediately after the focus group, highlighting the key themes or overriding impressions.

Provide all to Andrea Graham.