Wednesday, January 28, 2015

#ALISE2015 : Juried Panel: Improving teaching to improve learning: implementing a peer-to-peer and self-reflection program

The panelists were all from Simmons College:
  • Laura Saunders 
  • Monica Colon-Aguirre (presented using
  • Lisa Hussey
  • Mary Wilkins Jordan
How to be a good observer...

Before the class:
  • focus on logistics
  • be a good listeners
  • work with the faculty on which classes would be best to observe
  • for a three-hire class, which part of class will you observe?
  • inform the students 
  • they use an intake form (which will be available through the ALISE web site) - helps the observer know what to look for.  Also have a class observation rubric.
During the observation:
  • arrive at the class promptly
  • know that it is okay to interact in a limited way with the class.  Remember that you are really there to observe and give constructive feedback.
  • take notes while you're in the class.
  • follow up promptly
  • They have a debrief form, which helps to structure the feedback
  • include questions that you might have about how the class is taught
  • include specific suggestions
Observing online:
  • Can't just observe one week.  You need a larger view, in order to understand how people are engaged in the class.
  • We all tend to construct our online classes differently, which takes a while to understand.  You may need to look at the class using the eyes of a student, rather than with the eyes of an instructor.
  • Look at how the class is constructed.  Does it make sense?  Is it easy to navigate?
  • Are students being overloaded or underloaded?
  • It is okay that classes are constructed differently.  The key is does it make sense.  
Using the feedback from peer assessment:
  • Get passed the fear of being judge.  Peers are highly unlikely going to tear your class apart.
  • Understand that peer review is helpful because it is different that student evaluation.
  • Plan to incorporate the feedback. 
  • Incorporate 1-2 pieces of feedback immediately.
  • Look to incorporate more of the feedback the next time you teach the class.
In addition:
  • Informally talk to others about how they are teaching and learn from them.
  • Talk to people who teach other sections or similar topics.
  • Take classes/workshops on teaching (e.g., a MOOC).
  • In can be helpful to observe the same person more than once, over several semesters.
Self-reflection: The teaching diary
Other comments:
  • The evaluator needs to spend time upfront getting organized and understanding a bit of the class.  
  • Get feedback from students on your syllabus.
  • Their rank and tenure committee is considering moving to this model and altering how often they do their current process.
  • Peer evaluation gives your content evaluation that you need. Different people will see/comment on different things.

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