Instructional Development

The Office of Graduate Studies is committed to helping departments provide teaching assistants ongoing development opportunities as well as training. We offer individual consultations combined with classroom observations, and can assist you in gathering mid-semester feedback from students with the goal of documenting and improving your teaching.

Observation

Consultants are available to meet with postdocs and graduate students who have an interest in teaching. We can provide the information, resources and support you need to meet your teaching goals and to enjoy and learn as much as you can from your experience in the classroom.

Classroom Observation

One way to gather feedback on your teaching is to ask a peer, a faculty member or an instructional consultant to observe your class. After meeting with you to determine your specific questions or the focus of the observation, the observer visits your class and then reviews the information he or she gathered, often using a Classroom Observation Form. To schedule a classroom visit from a teaching consultant, complete an observation request form.

Videotaping Your Teaching

Watching yourself teach is an excellent way to assess teaching behaviors and classroom interaction. Set up your own camera, or we can arrange the videotaping of classes for feedback on presentation and teaching skills. Your video will be available for download the same day, and you're encouraged to complete a Videotape Self-Evaluation. This can be followed up by speaking with a teaching consultant if you wish. The video recording and any subsequent consultation are strictly confidential.

Feedback from students

Traditionally, student evaluations are administered at the end of a course, when it is too late for the teacher to change anything. Gathering student feedback early in the semester gives you time to make adjustments in the structure of your course or your teaching methods. Gathering student feedback is an excellent strategy for documenting your teaching. Combined with your end-of-semester evaluations, mid-semester feedback can illustrate teaching improvement and a commitment to actively developing your teaching.

The best time to gather student feedback is about one-third of the way into the semester, when both you and your students have settled into the course routine.

Teaching Analysis by Students (TABS)

If you want a general picture of your teaching skills and areas for improvement, you might begin with the Teaching Analysis By Students (TABS) survey. This survey is good if you're new to teaching and unsure about what questions to ask. It is especially useful if you are teaching large classes and want a quick gauge of how the class is going. The TABS can be administered by you, or in conjunction with an in-class observation.

To learn more about the TABS instrument and how you can use it to assess and document your teaching, send a request to the TDP Program.

Small Group Instructional Diagnosis

The Small Group Instructional Diagnosis (SGID) allows you to gather information from students in a format that permits interaction and consensus. The process entails setting aside at least 20 minutes of class time to allow an instructional consultant to talk with your students while you aren't present.

Students are asked to address three questions: What do you like best about this course? What do you like least? What suggestions for change do you have for the instructor?

Following the session, we report back to you on the information that was gathered and discuss students' perceptions within the context of development. We encourage the use of class interviews at midterm so that you can respond to student suggestions for change during the remainder of the course.

Additional methods

Two very quick, less formal methods for gathering student feedback are the Minute Paper and the Muddiest Point.