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Classroom Visit Program

 

"It was extremely beneficial to hear the student's perspective on my teaching effectiveness. The student observer was well trained and did a good job providing feedback." 
-Faculty participant in the program

The Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning offers all Lehigh instructors (faculty, adjunct faculty, graduate student instructors) the opportunity to receive feedback on their teaching from a trained undergraduate observer.  168 Lehigh faculty have participated in this program since its inception: 98% report that they received valuable feedback; 95% said they would participate again; and 99% said they would recommend it to their colleagues. 

Sign up by September 18th, 2019.  This program is offered in fall semester only.

Read on for more information about the program. If you have questions, contact Greg Reihman (Director, Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning), at 8-6840 or reihman@lehigh.edu

 

Representative Feedback from Prior Participants:

-"The student provided complete feedback on points raised in our pre-lecture meeting, as well as other items that caught their attention throughout lecture that could be nuanced. Although some lecture issue were suspected by me from experience, it was very helpful to have an informal external evaluator provide this feedback and make further suggestions."

-"It was extremely beneficial to hear the student's perspective on my teaching effectiveness. The student observer was well trained and did a good job providing feedback."

-"The student provided complete feedback on points raised in our pre-lecture meeting, as well as other items that caught their attention throughout lecture that could be nuanced. Although some lecture issue were suspected by me from experience, it was very helpful to have an informal external evaluator provide this feedback and make further suggestions."

-"The student observer provided perspective on the level of expectation in the Lehigh classroom, which in itself is particularly valuable when teaching a class for the first time. She gave me simple fixes to improve student attention/participation, and pointed a few things that are appreciated by the students."

-"I have been teaching for almost 30 years, and the feedback I received mostly confirmed a lot of the things that I already thought were true. One or two suggestions were new ideas/observations I hadn't thought about."

-"The program is a convenient and effective way of learning about the class environment and teaching effectiveness from a students' perspective"

-"It's an efficient way to make your teaching style more effective."

-"This is a great way to get a feel for the pulse of your class and teaching style, if you are looking to improve your teaching skills."

-"Getting an impartial student perspective (one that is not worried about the class content) can be quite useful, as the observer will probably 'separate' the teaching aspects from the course content. Make sure the observer knows if you are interested in any particular aspects (i.e. can they read what you write, etc.)."

-"Great way to get feedback. More effective than current student evals."

-"Students with no vested interest in the class have both the ability and willingness to provide detailed feedback about your presentation style than is possible from enrolled students. I learned things I both want to change and that are easily 'actionable'." 

 

Details about the Program

Participation in this program will give you a chance to receive feedback on your teaching and/or presentation skills from a trained undergraduate student observer.  Student observers participating in this project are drawn from a group of engaged and conscientious Lehigh undergraduate students (TRAC Fellows) who receive specific training from me in how to provide instructors with respectful, helpful feedback based on their perspective as students learners. The student will offer feedback not on the content of your teaching but rather on aspects such as clarity of expression, physical presence, student engagement, soliciting and answering questions, etc.  Instructors who have participated in this program in the past have found the whole process straightforward and very beneficial.  

All results of the observation are kept confidential between you, the student, and, in some cases, the CITL Director (for example, when the director discuss observations with students who have questions about the process or about teaching and learning).

 

What exactly will you be asked to do if you sign up?

1) Meet with the student to (a) convey your specific educational goals for the class meeting during which the visit will occur and (b) decide which specific aspects of your teaching you are most interested in receiving feedback on. Ideally, this meeting will take place sometime during the last week of September or the first week of October.

2) Invite the student observer into your classroom on a suitable day. Ideally during the week of first or second week of October.

3) Meet with the student after the classroom visit to discuss observations and suggestions. (Ideally, within a week of the classroom visit.)

4) Complete a brief survey to report your impressions on the efficacy of this program.

 

Classroom Visit Guidelines/Suggested Areas of Focus for the Classroom Visit

Prior to the classroom visit, the instructor and student will meet to discuss the instructor's educational goals for that class and decide which of the following areas the instructor would most like feedback on.  This list will then guide the student's visit and written feedback to the instructor.

  1. Starting (How does the instructor begin the class? Do the students in the class appear to be prepared? Does the instructor appear to be prepared?)

 

  2. Organization (How does the instructor convey their plan for the day?  Do the students appear to understand what is happening and why?)

 

  3. Context (How does the instructor make the material relevant? Is the material connected to previous classes? to the reading? to upcoming classes? to experiences beyond the classroom?)

 

  4. Explanations (How does the instructor explain difficult concepts? Do students appear to follow along and understand?)

 

  5. Student Engagement (What does the instructor do to get students to think?  What kind of thinking does the instructor prompt? Are students responsive and engaged?)

 

  6. Soliciting and Answering Questions (How does the instructor encourage students to ask questions? Do students respond? Does the instructor appear to listen to, understand, and respond to student questions?)

 

  7. Physical Presence (How does the instructor use the classroom space, body language, etc.?)

 

  8. Clarity of diction (How is the instructor's vocal expression, enunciation, pace, tone, volume of speech, etc.?)

 

  9. Use of presentation tools (Is boardwork, if used, legible and informative? Are presentation slides, if used, well designed and helpful?)

 

  10. Closure (How does the instructor close the class?)

 

  11.  Feedback (Given the specific requests the instructor made regarding this classroom visit, what feedback do you have for the instructor?)