Class Observations and Feedback

Class Observations and Feedback

Our instructional consultants use research-based methods for observing and providing feedback on your class. Many instructors find these observations useful to their growth as teachers, in part because they are completely confidential and can be conducted without any fear of affecting one’s relationships within one’s home department. The general procedure for these observations is:

  1. Arrange a consultation to discuss your goals for the class to be observed and the specific elements of the class that you would like the consultant to focus upon. 
  2. The consultant will come to the class you designate and take notes on the class. Often, these notes will be extensive (10–12 pages), so do not be disconcerted if the consultant seems to be writing a great deal!
  3. A few days after the observation, you will meet again with the consultant to talk about how the class went. The consultant not only serves as a sounding board for your own thoughts, relating those thoughts to the appropriate research on teaching and learning, but also serves to model a beginning learner in your discipline. Often, the jargon and tools of a discipline become invisible to the experienced instructor, and the consultant can serve to identify issues of possible concern to beginning learners in the class.

Please note that CITL consultants will observe your class as a way of providing formative feedback and helping you improve your teaching. We do not, however, provide letters or other evaluations of your teaching for use within promotion and tenure dossiers.

Recording Your Class for Feedback Purposes

If you are working with a CITL consultant to provide feedback on your teaching, we may recommend recording the class as part of that process. In that case, someone from the Center will arrange for recording. As with any other classroom observation, our consultant will meet with you before the class to discuss your goals for that specific class meeting, as well as anything particular you want the consultant to focus on. After the class, you will meet again with the consultant to review the recording and discuss how well you achieved the goals you set out for yourself.

If you want to record your class for peer review or feedback within your department (i.e., not with a CITL consultant), you will need to make arrangements to record the class yourself.