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Peer & Student Evaluations

Suggestions and Tips for Peer Evaluation of Teaching

We cannot overstate the value of careful peer observation of teaching. Thoughtfully constructed input helps to support and encourage faculty teaching and student learning. We provide here some tips and suggestions for faculty and faculty observers that utilizes a three-step collaborative process:

Step 1: Pre-observation

Observee: Take the opportunity to discuss your goals and aims for your class. This can be done in person or in writing. (If provided in writing, these self-reflections may form part of your teaching portfolio.) Use this opportunity to provide a holistic overview of your course. What are your learning objectives? Are there any specific challenges that you’ll be facing? (e.g., a new prep; first time teaching online; diverse academic prep of students, etc..) How do you approach these challenges? What do you think works well? What might need improvement?

Observer: Read the observee’s self-reflection and make note of key points. Look at student evaluations of the course (if available.) Are faculty and student opinions aligned? Discuss with your observe whether they would like to meet prior to the class observation class to discuss any particular issue

Step 2: Classroom observation

Observee: Let your students know that a faculty member will be observing your class and that you have asked for constructive criticism. This helps communicate to your students that you care about their learning. It also models and normalizes for students the idea that we should all seek feedback on our work to help us grow and develop professionally.

Observer: Where possible, attend more than one class. The general observation forms (next section) can be used or adapted to help guide your reflections. Any one of the “special lenses” forms may also be used, if helpful. Highlight any strengths that you observe and make suggestions for possible improvement.

Step 3: Post-observation

Observee and Observer: Using the information garnered from previous two steps, discuss and clarify observations. Think about and document next steps, including utilizing available resources, where helpful.

Please remember that we are always happy to discuss your particular needs. Please do not hesitate to contact Meg Flanigan, Associate Director of the CTL, with any questions.

General Observation Forms

Here you will find some general forms that can be used or adapted according to your needs. Please check whether there are any areas specific to your department /program that should be included. For more information and detail on the Online Peer Observation process, please see Michigan State University Academic Technology.

Special Lenses Forms

The following forms have been developed by the Center for Teaching and Learning at Appalachian State and are designed to assist faculty who have a particular interest in specific aspects of teaching. They may be used independently, or as adjuncts to the general observation forms.