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Classroom/Course Observation

Our faculty developers have extensive experience in education and can offer an outside perspective to instructors to assist in assessing their teaching. A classroom or online course observation can help you identify strengths as well as suggestions for improvement in your classroom.

Online observations of an online course site (as opposed to a synchronous online class session) can be done while the course is in progress or after it has concluded. This timing allows an observer not only to view course design but also to gain insights about how students interact and navigate within the space.

An observation has three steps: a pre-observation conference, the observation, and a follow-up conversation.

To request a class or online course observation, please complete our Consultation Request Form.   

Step 1: Pre-observation conference

1. During this meeting, the instructor and the observer clarify the goals and purposes of the classroom observation. The instructor asks the observer to watch for a particular thing or two (for example, clear explanations or student engagement).

2. Together, the instructor and observer create a reasonable timeline, planning well in advance and being clear about the time and place of the observation. An observation typically involves one 50-minute class period, but it could involve more. 

3. For online course observations, the instructor provides materials appropriate to the observation, such as a course syllabus, reading materials, assignments, and course evaluations.

Step 2: Classroom observation (face-to-face or online)

1. The observer arrives well in advance.

2. The instructor explains the process to students and introduces the observer.

3. The observer takes detailed observation notes and drafts a summary report.

Step 2: Online course observation

1. The observer gains access to your course shell.

2. The observer spends about an hour exploring your course design/structure, delivery approaches, uses of technology, assignments, etc.

3. The observer takes detailed observation notes and drafts a summary report

Step 3: Follow-up conversation

1. The instructor and observer arrange for a follow-up conversation, inviting comments and questions.

2. A copy of the summary of the conversation can be sent to the instructor. The instructor may share this summary response as he/she desires.


NOTE: While an instructor may certainly choose to use an ECTL observation report as part of T&P materials, these reports are always written to the instructor and always focus on supporting the instructor’s pedagogical development rather than serving primarily as a formal “evaluation” of the course. This distinction is small but important to us: we want to promote effective teaching, and we think that departments and T&P committees must have responsibility for determining whether a faculty member’s teaching is effective and aligned with their program’s goals and culture!


If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at ellbgoenctl@uwyo.edu or call us at 766-4847.

 
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Ellbogen Center for Teaching and Learning

1000 E. University Ave. Dept. 3334

Coe Library 510

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307)7664817

Email: ellbogenctl@uwyo.edu

The John P. "Jack" Ellbogen Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Wyoming.

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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