All faculty will soon receive a notice via email about the “Student Observer Program.” This program is designed to give faculty valuable feedback about the learning environment from a trained student observer. This year, we are expanding the program in some important ways. First, we are offering at the instructors’ request video observation in which the student and faculty member will be able to discuss classroom management and presence. And second, we are involving students in the observation of online instruction (exclusively online and web-assisted), with observations reflecting different approaches to pedagogy and engagement required online. More will arrive soon, but here is the text of the description of the program that will be in your mailbox accompanied by a form for requesting observation. Finally, if you know a student who would make an ideal candidate for participation in our program, please forward the students’ name and a brief recommendation to Jeff Jablonski (jeffrey.jablonski(at)utoledo.edu), the SOP Coordinator.
How the Student Observer Program Works
- Instructors elect to participate by filling out a request form and returning it to Christine Keller, “Learning Ventures,” MS #129, FH 3005C.
- All faculty (tenure-track, part-time, visiting faculty, lecturers) are eligible to participate in the Student Observer Program. Observers can work with any undergraduate course regardless of the mode of delivery (face-to-face, blended, exclusively online). For part-time faculty, the request for observation must be submitted and approved by the chair of the department.
- A student observer is assigned according to the class schedule and the observer’s availability.
- The student observer is given the name, campus office, campus telephone number, and e-mail address of the instructor and arranges for an initial visit. The instructor is also given the name, telephone number, and e-mail address of the student observer.
- The instructor and student observer meet to get acquainted and clarify expectations. The instructor should provide a course syllabus and any login information for online resources. The observer should be enrolled in all course-related web services.
- The student observer visits the instructor’s class, gathers the requested information and prepares feedback for the instructor. A minimum of 3 classroom visits is recommended (or three hours of online contact). All information gathered by the student observer is confidential. No information is provided to anyone else unless the instructor specifically authorizes it. (Please note, however, that all reports are reviewed by the Student Observer Program Coordinator to ensure quality control.)
- The student observer meets with the instructor and discusses the observation. He/she also prepares a report of typically 2-3 pages for the professor. This report may be included in a dossier, but it is not required to be shared.