Course Observations

Improving Your Teaching via Course Observations

Feedback based on direct observation is one of the most time-tested, useful means to improve one’s teaching. The Course Observation service is a free service through the Center for Learning and Teaching that provides you with the opportunity to obtain feedback on your teaching in order to inform your future planning, lessons, activities and pedagogical approaches. But on our campus, as at many universities, observation of teaching is often undertaken only as part of department personnel evaluation. Senior colleagues typically provide feedback during this process, but it is feedback that is part of a formal departmental/university review.

Wouldn’t it be helpful to be able to be observed in confidence?

If you agree, then consider the Course Observations service offered through the Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT).  Receive written feedback and suggestions based on observation of your teaching, or consult about enhancing student engagement, syllabus development, classroom management, or any other related issues.  All feedback will be conveyed in strict confidence, that is, independent of your departmental evaluation process.  A recent anonymous evaluation of this service by numerous faculty instructors has been uniformly positive. More than 40 faculty members who have solicited the observation and feedback service, despite some initial trepidation, found the subsequent discussions and feedback to have been very helpful. As three faculty members commented:

"No one has ever observed my teaching or provided this level of attention and
detail to my efforts.  I wish that I had had this sooner."

"Thank you so much for the meticulous review and for your advice!  I've
already implemented some of your advice into my teaching - thank you

"It was invaluable to have an objective observer who is an excellent teacher
himself give detailed feedback on how things go in the classroom."

If you are interested in arranging observation and feedback, or simply learning more about the service, please contact the CLT at
Observations provided by Steve Lisman,PhD, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus

Steve was featured in the CLT's inaugural episode of Teaching Takes Podcast:

Episode 1 - Course Observations: Overview

Episode 2 - Course Observations: Specifics

Steve LismanSteve wrote an article that appeared in "Connections: UUP Newsletter" - Binghamton University Chapter

Feedback on Teaching: Sharpening your Skills through Course Observation (Winter 2016, revised 2018)