Observations for Graduate Students and Post-Doctoral Students

Graduate students and post doctoral fellows may request an observation from either a CTL graduate fellow (through the CTL observation form) or a CTL staff member.  In either case, observees should know that CTL observations are strictly confidential and non-evaluative.  They are intended to be part of a conversation about teaching that encourages reflection and allows observees to set their own goals and direction for teaching improvement.

Requests for observations should be placed as early as possible, and a minimum of three business days in advance, so that CTL will be able to arrange for an observer, and to allow the instructor and observer to have a pre-observation conversation. We will try to accommodate all requests, as we recognize that many guest lecturing opportunities come up on short notice.

We have been doing teaching observations for classes taking place via videoconference since the pivot to remote teaching last March. All of our graduate fellows and staff are prepared and happy to do such online observations. If you are teaching in person, and the social distancing protocols will permit an additional person in the room, please request a staff observation.

Observations at CTL are a process of three meetings:

1. Pre-observation meeting

At this meeting, usually held within a week before the class, the observee has a chance to describe the class and explain the goals of the class to the observer.  

2. Observation

The observer will attend the observee's class and take notes on both the content of class and how the observee teaches.  These sessions are often recorded so that both observer and observe have some sense of what happened in the class.  (Anyone wishing to earn the CTL teaching certificate must be recorded.)

3.  Post-observation meeting

This meeting, which should be held within two weeks of the class, will allow observer and observee to talk together about what worked in the class session and what did not.  The focus of this conversation should be feedback and reflection.