Enhance your teaching toolbox: Explore the UST Open Classroom Project and meet the faculty!

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What is the Open Classroom Project?

The Open Classroom Project is an opportunity to connect with and learn from other faculty by visiting one another's classrooms. Classroom 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.

For new faculty and adjuncts: Observe experienced faculty in action and learn tips and strategies for engaging UST students.

For experienced faculty: Freshen up your classroom repertoire and enjoy a post-observation coffee break with a colleague.

Meet the Open Classroom faculty

 David Roseborough OCP

David Roseborough
School of Social Wor‌k 

Q: What was your favorite moment in class last year?
A highlight from classes in the last year might include: listening to "grandma's song" from Billy Elliot and listening in it for themes related to ambivalence, character defense, resistance, and even potential treatment targets if we worked with her clinically.  This leads into a discussion of motivational interviewing and ways to work with our natural human tendency to resist difficult change.
 
I also play a game of bingo with students as a way of visually demonstrating a random distribution and as a way of introducing probability theory.

Q: What would a potential observer be likely to see during a visit to your classroom?
Some things that an observer might be likely to see in my class would include: using a relevant newspaper article from the week that touches on or relates to a course topic or theme as an opener. I generally begin each class with a five minute review of content from the last class in order to build and develop a sense of continuity between classes. I'll normally introduce the topic of the day, orient students to it by way of a brief introduction (often in the form of a lecture), and then a chance to "try it (or a portion of it) out" by way of applying it to a case study or practicing a related skill by way of a role play in small groups, where students and I both offer feedback to help each other learn and to get a feel for it. I often end with some attention to the strength of this approach's research base, with students' experience of it in class, and with some attention to clients for whom it might and might not be a good fit (i.e. giving attention to the idea that some treatments are, at times, counterindicated).

 Mithra Marcus OCP 

Mithra Marcus
Chemistry

Q: What would a potential observer be likely to see during a visit to your classroom?
When teaching, my intention is to regularly engage students in active learning.  I often employ collaborative learning techniques to accomplish this goal.  Additionally, I aim to create a welcoming learning environment where students feel safe asking questions, simple or complex.

Q: What are some of the strategies you use?
Lecture, discussion, group work, laboratory, clickers

Buffy Smith OCP

Buffy Smith
Sociology & Criminal Justice 

Q: What would a potential observer be likely to see during a visit to your classroom?
As a teacher, my goal is to create an affirming and welcoming classroom environment for all students in order to foster critical and compassionate discourse about controversial social issues.

Q: What are some of the strategies you use?
Lecture, discussion, small group

 Angela High-Pippert OCP 
Dr. Angela High-Pippert
Political Science

Q: What was your favorite moment in class last year?
I loved watching my Seminar in American Politicsstudents presenting their research at the Minnesota Political Science Association Conference. They began with their research papers from a previous course, American Political Behavior, and then worked in teams to integrate the strengths of each of their papers into one poster session presentation. They worked together so well together, not only with their partners but as an entire class. They had very professional posters and polished presentations, and were able to answer questions about their work and engage with political scientists from across the state. Having all of my seminar students participating in the conference was a fantastic experience. (Plus, we were able to meet and have our picture taken with Senator Klobuchar.)

Q: What would a potential observer be likely to see during a visit to your classroom?
If you walked into my classroom halfway through class, you’d likely see my notes on the board, outlining key concepts for the day, with my students working in small groups, discussing a recent New York Times article which allows them to apply those concepts and review previous ones.

Q: What are some of the teaching strategies you use?
Lecture, discussion

  Doug Orzolek OCP
Dr. Doug Orzolek
Music

Q: What was your favorite moment in class last year?
My favorite moment is when students solve a problem and then discover that there are a whole host of other questions that stem from their solution.

Q: What would a potential observer be likely to see during a visit to your classroom?
I think an observer would get a sense of how to engage a large class of students in meaningful group work.

Q: What are some of the teaching strategies you use?
Lecture, discussion, demonstration teaching

How do I 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.

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