Formative Class Observation
As part our our support for faculty in their teaching role, Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) offers a formative class observation service. The primary goal of this service is to provide informal, confidential, and timely feedback to faculty on their teaching and course design practices for face-to-face and online courses. Our class observation service is intended to be a limited supplement to, not a replacement for, department-sponsored class observations conducted by chairs, mentors, and/or peers.
The Instructional Design and Research Consultant (IDRC) staff of TLS provides information and resources on effective teaching practices and consults with faculty on how best to tailor those practices to fit their teaching goals and the learning outcomes for their students. Specific items that an IDRC may provide input on include, but may not be limited to:
- Content delivery methods, organization, and clarity
- Quality and frequency of instructor-student and student-student interaction
- Frequency and type of student engagement in hands-on learning activities
- Effective practices and relevant use of classroom and online tools
The class observation is a three-step process:
1. Pre-Observation Meeting
The IDRC and the faculty member schedules a meeting to discuss the faculty member's teaching concerns (e.g., student evaluation results), teaching goals, or interests they would like to address through a class observation.
2. Class Observation
For on-campus courses, the IDRC attends one to three class sessions to discretely observe faculty and student activities. For online courses, the IDRC views specific course information and online activity within myCourses and other course-related, online resources for which the instructor has requested feedback. Both classroom and online class observations are always at the express invitation of the faculty.
3. Post-Observation Debrief
The IDRC and faculty member schedules a meeting to review the IDRC's class observations and discuss instructional strategies that may help the faculty member address their teaching concerns, goals, or interests.
As mentioned above, this class observation process is strictly confidential between an assigned IDRC and the faculty member. The IDRC will not share their observations with any other individuals, including RIT administration, other faculty, staff, or students. TLS is not affiliated with any of the RIT academic programs' tenure review processes. It is at the faculty member's discretion whether or not they share the feedback with others, such as their department chair.