Observations of Teaching: Fall 2020 Accomplishments and a Glimpse at Winter 2021

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In Teaching and Learning, we offer developmental observations of teaching, during which faculty work collaboratively with an observer who is not their direct manager.

Our goal is to promote inquiry, experimentation and reflection on teaching, while providing insights on what students may be experiencing in the classroom.

Part of my role in Teaching and Learning is to coordinate the semesterly observation of teaching process. I send initial callouts to Chairs, asking if they wish for our team to observe any of their part-time faculty, or full-time faculty who have taught at the college for a significant time. New full-time faculty are observed automatically in their first semester of teaching.

Once observations are underway, I work closely with our team to ensure smooth logistics, and edit completed reports for accuracy in spelling, grammar, sentence structure, etc.

In Fall 2020, we introduced observations of remote synchronous classes via Zoom. Between the end of September and the first week of December, our full-time Teaching and Learning Consultants and 7 part-time Observers of Teaching conducted a total of 127 observations of 41 full-time faculty and 86 part-time faculty.

127 observations of 41 full-time faculty and 86 part-time faculty (Fall 2020)

These faculty valued the observation process, expressing how their assigned observers provided useful feedback to incorporate into remote teaching.

In a survey distributed to the 127 faculty on November 26, several faculty likened their observation to a reflective exercise, which came full circle at the end with a debrief they found highly beneficial. Others noted that pre- and post-briefings with their observer were enjoyable and informative.

As we continue observations in Winter 2021, our plans to enhance our process further include:

  • producing a two to three-minute video that describes the observation process,
  • creating a digital version of the observation document, so faculty can connect feedback with the Student Appraisal of Teaching (SAT), and
  • adding faculty’s questions to our online FAQ.

For more information, see the Hub post on remote developmental observations of teaching. If you are a Conestoga faculty who would like your course(s) observed, please contact teachingandlearning@conestogac.on.ca.

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  • Published: January 11, 2021
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Wesley Butler

Wesley is the Teaching and Learning Administrative Assistant, holding a B.A. in Communication Studies with a focus on Adult Education, and diplomas in Journalism and Public Relations. Wesley coordinates Teaching and Learning’s operations and communications, creating promotional materials for initiatives using multiple platforms, managing social media outreach, and organizing logistics for events. Wesley is available for support with course registration, developmental observations of teaching, and publishing teaching success stories on the Faculty Learning Hub.

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