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Classroom Observation

Confidential Classroom Observation

Elective, confidential classroom observations can help both experienced and new faculty members build the skills necessary for productive, well-received pedagogy, especially in the arena of active learning. This service may assist those faculty members to improve teacher evaluation results.


Many faculty members request confidential classroom observation, formative assessment, and subsequent consultation. The typical procedure for this service is:

  • Faculty members contact the Office of Faculty Excellence (OFE) and request an observation that fits their classroom schedule. Information such as the course name, time, day, location and a syllabus are requested by the OFE.
  • During the observation, the OFE Director collects data on Quality Teaching and Learning Attributes on a 100-item instrument developed by a combination of professional society members from higher education faculty development organizations.
  • Following the observation, the OFE Director summarizes the data in a formal memorandum, which is presented exclusively to the faculty member during a debriefing meeting.  The OFE Director may forward the memorandum to a department chair or other supervisor only by the expressed personal request of the reviewed faculty member. 
  • Typically, these memoranda are placed in the faculty members' Promotion and Tenure dossier as supplemental documentation on teaching effectiveness in the classroom.

Small Group Evaluation

Teaching and learning data in the classroom may also be gathered by the use of a Small Group Evaluation:

  •  Small Group Evaluation can provide a useful type of feedback on teaching when the faculty member can still modify an approach during the course of a term.
  • To obtain this feedback, an evaluator from OFE attends your class during the last 20 minutes and, after you have left, divides your students into groups of six or less.
  • Each group of students then reaches a consensus on three questions:
    • what they like about your class,
    • what needs improvement,
    • and suggestions for changes. 
  • The evaluator provides you the groups' answers afterward anonymously, during a confidential consultation.

Video Evaluation

A less intrusive method to gather data on your teaching and learning is to check out a video camera from the Center for Instruction & Research Technology and record your teaching in class.  Videotaping your class is an invaluable way to see what your teaching looks like to your students. You may find that watching the tape gives you an ideal opportunity to analyze your teaching and decide whether you want to make any changes. 

For the Online Professor

Online faculty members may gather data on teaching and learning in the online environment by self-assessing or peer-assessing a course using various checklists.