By reflecting on their teaching and discussing it with someone else, good teachers gain insight not only into what can be improved, but also into what strengths they already have and can build upon for even more effectiveness in helping their students learn.
The Center for Teaching and Learning offers several “teaching feedback” services through the Faculty Development Office. A specific type of feedback may be more appropriate to your needs; on the other hand, you may wish to engage in comprehensive self-analysis and thus make use of all the services listed below.
One of our experienced CTL staff members will visit your class and chat with you afterwards, confidentially, in order for you to gain insight into how your teaching is perceived by an objective observer. Such observation is especially appropriate if the class is small (such as a seminar) or if you believes that video recording might distract students.
Confidentiality is assured with class visits. Observation notes are discussed with you in a post-visit consultation, and then all original notes are released to the faculty member; nothing is kept on file in the office. Moreover, formative feedback offered by the Faculty Development Office may not be used for summative purposes. That is, faculty are not permitted to include observation notes generated by this office in tenure and promotion portfolios or personnel files. The purpose of such feedback is self-improvement, which is ultimately documented and assessed by colleagues and supervisors at the department, college, and university level.
We ask that you come to a pre-visit consultation with clear goals in mind; also, please bring all course materials that are relevant to those faculty development goals (syllabus, previous student evaluations, assignment sheets, PowerPoint slides, etc.). The actual class visit will be scheduled at this time.
Class Digital Recording
Class digital recording is a much more direct and complete record of your class than can be provided by a human observer, no matter how experienced. Particularly, teacher-student and student-student exchanges are very important moments to reflect on that can only be captured in a recording.
Confidentiality is assured with class digital recording: the Faculty Development Office will not release any recordings to anyone but the faculty member requesting the service. Moreover, you decide how you want the recording to be stored. We will download the digital record to a DVD or to your flash drive for your personal use. We will also store an additional copy on your behalf or, if you wish, erase our copy, leaving you with the only available digital record.
The value of this service is inestimable. You will be able to review very specific parts of the class (tricky explanations, involved exchanges with students, board work) multiple times and at your leisure. You may wish to pair a class visit with a class digital recording so that you and a CTL consultant may view and discuss the video together. Many probationary faculty also incorporate a strong, short clip of their teaching video in their tenure & promotion portfolios. Our class digital recording service will give you a video library from which to draw.
Midterm Assessment Process (MAP)
The Midterm Assessment Process is an opportunity for you to get student feedback on a selected course while the course is in progress.. Unlike the usual course evaluations that we ask students to fill out at the end of the semester, MAPs are done earlier (just before midterm) to allow the instructor to make meaningful changes during the course. Many instructors use the assessment as a way to begin a dialogue with students about course content and successful learning strategies and as a tool for examining their own assumptions about teaching and learning. MAPs are confidential and voluntary. MAP feedback goes directly to, and only to, the instructor.
The MAP provides a unique opportunity to tap into the perspectives of students early in the course, and to compare your ideas about the course and its learning objectives with those held by the students. It allows you to gauge how and what students are learning and to identify what helps them learn. Student responses to activities and other course materials will also help you to make informed choices about overall course design, both now and in the future.
A MAP requires modest effort, is easy to carry out, and uses little class time. Usually, an instructor requests a MAP early in the semester. A consultant from the Faculty Development Office then meets with the instructor approximately one week prior to the MAP. In this brief meeting, they discuss the instructor’s expectations for and early impressions of the course, determine which questions will elicit the kinds of feedback desired, and set a date and time for collecting feedback. Typically, the Office conducts MAPs between weeks four and eight of the semester, and the process requires the first 20-30 minutes of a regularly scheduled class. The consultant will help the class reach consensus by organizing brief small group discussions followed by a full-class debrief. The consultant transcribes and analyzes the results and prepares recommendations for a follow-up consultation with the instructor, usually within a week of the MAP.