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Teaching Capstone in Higher Education

Category 4: Observations

Category 4 entails observing someone else's teaching and having your own teaching observed. It is not required that the person who observes your teaching be the same person that you observe.

Observing a Faculty Member

You should observe at least one teaching session of a faculty member. There are no restrictions on the department or scholarly discipline in which you conduct your observation. That is, you do not have to stay within your own department or discipline. The aim of this exercise is to attend a class with the express purpose of observation in terms of teaching in a higher education setting - style, method, student-teacher dynamics, etc. Therefore, observations are not allowed of any class in which you are enrolled as a student.

You will use a Classroom Observation Reflection to document your classroom observation in your final submission packet for the Teaching Capstone in Higher Education. You are not expected, nor required, to review faculty members' teaching or provide feedback using the Classroom Observation Evaluation form.

Being Observed

You will also be observed teaching by either a fellow (graduate or faculty) from the Academy for Teaching and Learning or a faculty member. For graduate student teachers of record (TORs), this observation can occur in their own classes. Participants in the capstone program that are not TORs will need to make arrangements with a faculty member to teach a class session and be observed. Subsequent to being observed, the observer should meet at least once with you to provide feedback, assessing strengths and weaknesses and offering suggestions for improvement.

For the final submission packet, please have your observer use the Classroom Observation Evaluation form to document the observation and attach any report, notes, or other product of the consultation and feedback. (If the observer is an ATL Fellow, he or she may use the ATL evaluation form instead.) After you are observed, please also fill out a Classroom Observation Reflection to document your insights for your final submission packet.


"The most beneficial portion of the certification process, in my opinion, was category four, which involved teaching a class and receiving feedback. This is because it really brought to the forefront the type of work that goes into preparing for a class and how much time is involved in explaining concepts. Nothing prepares one better for teaching than actual practice at teaching."