Please contact Joyce Weinsheimer for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-385-7263
Why request a consultation?
Individuals who request consultations may want to:
- discuss a specific teaching and learning issue with a professional consultant.
- explore alternate approaches and new ideas for improving student learning in a course.
- get feedback on their teaching from someone who is not involved in departmental hiring, promotion or tenure-related activities.
- talk with someone about designing a syllabus, a class activity, or a new course.
- determine how to use technology to improve student learning in a particular class.
- develop a grant proposal that includes a teaching/learning component.
I’d like someone to give me feedback on my teaching. What does a classroom observation involve?
Typically the process includes:
A Pre-Observation Meeting
You have the option of meeting with the CETL consultant who will observe your class prior to the observation. The purpose of this meeting is to create a context for the consultant with regard to your goals for students, your style of instruction, typical class activities, departmental requirements, etc. If you like, you can identify specific areas you would like the consultant to focus on, such as your interaction/rapport with students, your organization/clarity during a lecture, the level of student response/involvement in activities, etc.
While observing your class, the consultant will take descriptive notes on what is said and done as well as chart teacher-student interaction, student-to-student interaction and student behavior. If you wish, the consultant will bring another CETL staff person to tape the class so that you can later review the tape and see yourself in action.
The consultant will share the descriptive notes from the class with you and ask you to reflect on the class: was this a typical (or atypical) session? What did (or did not) go according to plan? When did you feel most comfortable (or least comfortable) with the class? What would you like to change, and how might you go about it? This hour-long confidential session will conclude with an action plan and options for follow-up.
I’d like to gather some anonymous student feedback during the term so that I can get a better understanding of how the course is going for my students. How can a CETL consultant help me?
At your invitation, a CETL consultant will conduct a Class Dialogue with your students. This is a technique that uses guided discussion to generate clear, prioritized, and confidential student feedback on classroom instruction or curriculum. Typically the process includes the following steps:
- You set aside 20-25 minutes of class time for the consultant to conduct the Class Dialogue.
- You announce to your students that you have invited a consultant from the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning to talk with them about how the course is going. The consultant will use the next part of class to gather their input, and then the consultant will meet with you and summarize the information.
- After you leave the room, the consultant asks students to work in small groups to answer the following questions:
- What helps you learn in this course? (Consider the lectures, class activities, text, homework assignments, tests, instructor’s teaching style, etc.)
- What changes in this course would improve your learning?
- The consultant asks the small groups to share their ideas with the class. The consultant clarifies and facilitates discussion on each point before conducting a class-wide vote to determine the extent of student agreement about each idea. When the idea is supported by the majority of students, the consultant probes for specifics on how the change might best be implemented.
The consultant asks students to return to their small groups and summarize their thoughts from the discussion. Each group provides a written response to the question “What is the most important feedback you want your instructor to hear?”
• Following the Class Dialogue, the consultant prepares a written summary of the student feedback and meets with you for a confidential discussion of the student feedback. Together you consider possible next steps.
- At the beginning of the class period following the Classroom Dialogue, you thank students for their input and spend a few minutes summarizing what you learned from the process. You let them know which of their suggestions you will implement.
By finding out early in the term what helps your students learn, you can maximize the effectiveness of the teaching strategies you already use, and you can implement student-requested changes for the remainder of the semester. The result? Your efforts set the stage for better student learning, your students appreciate that you care about their learning, and you avoid surprises on end-of-the-term evaluations.