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Peer Teaching Observation Program

Peer Teaching Observation Program

Interdisciplinary classroom observations provide instructors with constructive, meaningful and actionable feedback to continually improve their teaching practices and skills to maximize student learning and impact.​ The fundamental purpose of the Peer Teaching Observation Program (PTOP) is to improve student outcomes by promoting competency-based approaches to teaching excellence.​

The Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment (CTLA) offers training to instructors who serve as peer observers focusing on competency-based observation of classroom instruction.

PTOP Benefits:

  • Improves clarity and transparency​
  • Helps shift the institution toward a culture of continuous improvement​
  • Allows instructors to better identify their strengths and weaknesses​
  • Focuses feedback on competency building based on a rubric aligned to OHIO’s definition of teaching excellence
  • Peer Teaching Observation Program Pilot

    The PTOP is piloting as a Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Committee project under faculty fellow Christina Mehlon during the fall 2022 and spring 2023 semester. For information about the pilot or to discuss how peer teaching observation might serve departments or colleges, contact the CTLA.

PTOP Process

The PTOP is particular to a longer, collaborative engagement between and among OHIO instructors. The process involves:

  1. Completion of an intake form and an initial meeting to review the goals of teaching observation.
  2. Classroom observation 1
  3. Debrief and response meeting 1
  4. Classroom observation 2
  5. Debrief and response meeting 2
  6. Professional development plan

PTOP Suggestions

Step 1: Pre-observation


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?


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?
  • Ask your observee whether they would like to meet prior to the class observation class to discuss any particular issue

Step 2: Classroom Observation


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.


If possible, attend more than one class. The general observation forms 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. 

General Observation Forms and Information

These general forms can be used as is or adapted to meet your needs. Please check whether there are any areas specific to your department or program that should be included.

Forms for Special Teaching Interests

These special interest forms have been developed by the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment at Appalachian State University 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.