Peer Observations of Teaching

Let us know how we can help you. We love to talk teaching and look forward to talking about the great things you’re doing!

Welcome to the Teaching Committee Blog! Let me tell you about us.

Hello! I’m Rachel Arocho, Assistant Professor of Family Science in the Behavioral Science Department. I’m also the Chair of the CHSS Teaching Committee, with 2021-2022 being my first year in the position. One of the primary activities of the Teaching Committee is supporting excellence in teaching through performing formal peer observations. Throughout the year, the committee completed 32 observations. In this blog post, I want to highlight the work of the committee in these observations and describe the process of requesting an observation. In future posts, we’ll explore actual examples of observations for both synchronous and asynchronous courses so that instructors can understand what happens in these observations.

The Process

The first thing that happens when someone requests any type of classroom observation or course observation is I check the mode they want observed and the dates they want to be observed against the observation preferences and schedules of the members of the CHSS Teaching Committee. We have committee members from across the college with a wide range of experience in all manner of teaching, so someone will be a good fit! I chat with potential observers about their availability and find someone to take on the request. The observer then contacts the instructor to set up times for meetings and observations, depending on the mode. Finally, once the observation is completed and feedback sent, I send a short and anonymous satisfaction survey to the instructor for feedback for the committee!

The Results

In Fall 2021, 17 observations were completed, and in Spring 2022, 15 were. Committee members (and one “honorary member” – a faculty member outside of the committee asked to observe a course because of their specific qualifications) spent an average of 3.8 hours on each observation, and some individuals completed up to 3 observations during the semester.

Responses to the anonymous feedback survey indicated general satisfaction with observer communication, quality and amount of feedback, and alignment between the feedback obtained and the goals that drove the instructor to request an observation. Feedback does suggest there is room to improve in time between requests and observations and in the process of requesting the observation itself (as well as response rates to the feedback survey itself). Respondents called the observation “a very helpful experience!” and an “opportunity to ‘talk teaching’ with faculty.”

Requesting an Observation

So what are you waiting for? Let us know how we can help you. We love to talk teaching and look forward to talking about the great things you’re doing!

Click here to request a Teaching Observation

Headshot of Wilson the Wolverine

Questions? Ask Wilson