Student Observer Program
This program can provide faculty and departments with useful feedback on educational strategies. Student Observers are carefully selected and trained undergraduate students who observe classes and work with the faculty to improve teaching. They serve as excellent resources for instructors, providing valuable data to supplement student evaluations and peer review.
Participation in the Student Observer Program by faculty is voluntary and observation information gathered is confidential.
How the Student Observer Program Works
- Instructors elect to participate by filling out the request form and returning it to MS #129.
- 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, or 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. (Student Observers are not assigned to courses in their major area of
- 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.
Prior to the actual observations, the instructor and student observer meet to get
acquainted, discuss observation options, establish an observation schedule, and clarify
expectations. The instructor should provide a course syllabus and any login information
for any online resources. The observer should be enrolled in all course-related web
services. A brief discussion of the different types of observations available are
listed on the Student Observer Request Form.
- 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.
- An optional Student Observer Program Survey will be sent to you by Christine Keller. This brief survey will allow you to indicate your satisfaction with the services provided by the COIL Student Observer Program and help us to make improvements.