Open Classroom Project

In the Fall of 2012, the Faculty Development Center initiated a new project to encourage faculty to visit one another's classrooms and promote conversations about teaching.  The "Open Classroom Project" offers faculty an easy way to plan an observation and schedule a follow-up cup of coffee. 

Purpose: To promote open conversations about teaching among UST faculty, to permit faculty to gain exposure to new teaching strategies and approaches, to facilitate reflection on the teaching process.

Who is involved:  The instructor (faculty member being observed) and the observer (faculty member requesting a chance to observe a colleague).  The observer may be someone in the instructor’s home department, or from another department.

How should observers select a colleague and class to observe?: Observation is likely to be most useful when the observed class matches a course the observer teaches in size and level of difficulty.  An observer may choose an instructor to observe based on the teaching approach used, a particular teaching technology or strategy employed, or because his/her course is similar to a course the observer is teaching.

How to set up the observation:  Review the information on the Classroom Instructors link on the Faculty Development website. Select an instructor and course you would like to observe and register using the "Request a Meeting" link.  You will be asked to comment on your purpose for observing (e.g., “I’m interested in clickers,” “I want to see how others teach in large survey classes,” or just “I’ve heard X is a great teacher”). Your request will be sent automatically to the instructor and she/he will contact you to discuss the timing of the observation, and the pre- and post-observation meetings.

Post-observation conve­rsation & coffee:  Faculty Development will provide $10 to cover costs of a beverage on- or off-campus to facilitate a conversation. 

Process:

 

Pre-classroom conversation

Observation

Post-classroom conversation

Time involved

Approx. 30 minutes

1 – 3 hours (depends on class length)

Approx. 1 hour

Goal/purpose

To clarify the goals of the observation; to allow the instructor to describe course and approach; to agree on what is being observed

To allow observation of the instructor’s classroom behavior, interaction with students, use of technology or specific strategies

To allow observer to ask questions, gain clarification of instructor’s goals and strategies; to have open conversation about teaching.