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Class Observations

What Does a class observation look like? 

We offer class observations to educators teaching in any location or format. An observation typically lasts 1 hour, and classes are generally observed live, though we sometimes make adaptations based on contextual constraints. Examples include:

  • Location/Modality - We may observe face-to-face or through digital live or recorded means based on contextual factors. Typically, we observe in person when possible. 
  • Technology - We may use different technologies to live stream or record sessions as necessary. Typically, we do not record unless necessary. 
  • Staff/Time - We may receive requests for observations at times/locations outside of standard "business" hours or staff work locations, or we may have competing demands. Services and time commitments may be scaled as necessary.  

How do you observe an online class? 

We can observe both synchronous (live) and asynchronous (not live) online classes. For feedback on a synchronous session facilitated through a tool like WebEx, we may ask you to record a session for later viewing, or we may attend live, depending on schedules. For feedback on an asynchronous online course, we review the most recent week or two of course components and interactions available within the Blackboard course shell. Many educators teaching online make use of ready-to-teach content packages, so be aware that our feedback is not on fixed course design, but rather on the educator’s facilitation of that content package and experience for learners. If you seek feedback on online course design, please view our instructional design page.

What do we believe is effective teaching practice? 

To provide transparency regarding what we look to observe in effective teaching practice, we provide you with the framework for our observations. Non-evaluative observations are conducted using Garrison, Anderson & Archer’s (2000) Community of Inquiry (COI) framework by observing three presences: social, teaching, and cognitive. The COI framework is designed as a lens through which to view teaching and learning effectiveness and allows educators to leverage the power of communities in the classroom.  

What we offer you  

  • Confidentiality. Even though observation notes will be captured and documented within our office and for you, this feedback is confidential between you and us and will not be shared with your teaching supervisor or others outside of our team.  
  • Suggested strategies and implementation techniques to enhance teaching. There are many ways to enhance teaching. We will focus on quick, easy-to-implement strategies to align with our service objective.  
  • A letter documenting your participation. This can be added to your portfolio to demonstrate your commitment to ongoing reflection on and improvement of your teaching. It will not contain confidential details of feedback or suggested strategies, as it is intended for public use. 

What we ask in return  

  • A collaborative, willing attitude. This feedback is provided in the spirit of friendly collaboration and growth, not from a place of evaluation. We know that teaching practice can feel deeply personal. However, growth often comes from a place of discomfort, so we ask that you also approach this process with an interest in self-reflection and professional growth.     
  • Commitment to the process and implementing related changes. To align with the service objective, we will follow up to gauge the implementation of suggested strategies. Our work often involves multiple, time-intensive components (consulting, observing, surveying, analyzing data, reporting, etc.), so we ask that you commit to the process and the resulting incremental change.