Classroom Observations
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Classroom Observations

The Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center (FDIDC) will assist faculty who voluntarily seek to improve their teaching and those faculty who are directed by their academic units to seek teaching-related assistance from FDIDC. The assistance provided by FDIDC can be in the form of consultations or classroom observation or both. More information concerning consultation services is available here.

Classroom observation involves observing faculty teaching in the classroom, analyzing related activities, and providing feedback for improvement. This is a lengthy and time consuming process which usually involves at least three to five observations of actual classroom teaching by individual faculty, meetings with the faculty before and after each classroom observation, and involves leading the faculty to make positive changes in teaching.

Individual faculty members who voluntarily wish to improve their teaching may directly contact Center staff in charge of teaching-related assistance. Academic units that wish to refer faculty to FDIDC for teaching improvement must contact the Center Director. One or more staff members from FDIDC may participate in the consultation and/or classroom observation process, and if the need arises, additional faculty or staff members from other units may be invited to assist the faculty with specific teaching improvement needs. FDIDC may not have adequate staff to conduct classroom observations, for large groups of faculty within a short duration, and therefore, academic units that need classroom observation services for groups of faculty should  consider training its own senior faculty with good teaching record to participate in the classroom observation process. FDIDC can offer classroom observation training to groups of faculty who would like to conduct their own peer observation is often recommended for discipline specific teaching issues.

Stages of consultations or classroom observation may include:

  • Meeting with the faculty to discuss the process and review the faculty member's goals and needs.
  • Collecting data to identify (may include self-assessment, class observation for a number of classes, student feedback, and videotaping of a class or lab, etc.) teaching improvement needs.
  • Analyzing and interpreting the data collected and suggesting solutions to achieve desired outcomes.
  • Assist faculty in planning and implementing changes desired.
  • Assess the success of implemented strategies on the learning/teaching environment. 

The success and desired outcomes of teaching improvement consultations and classroom observations will depend on the time and effort committed to the process by the faculty who seek assistance or are referred by their academic units.  FDIDC staff does not participate in summative evaluations of teaching for retention, tenure, and/or promotion or document teaching strategies of faculty who have physical, emotional, or other forms of disabilities that impact their teaching responsibilities. FDIDC staff can provide objective feedback on classroom/learning strategies, which focuses on development rather than evaluation. 

All teaching improvement consultations and classroom observations arranged with FDIDC are considered to be confidential as permissible under NIU's guidelines. FDIDC and its staff will not disclose the names of those who seek assistance voluntarily or those who are referred by departments and/or colleges and will endeavor to respect the privacy of all concerned.  FDIDC and its staff may report the progress or training of a faculty to the referring academic unit, or disclose information to those within the University with a need to know, or disclose information for the protection of the University and/or its faculty, staff and students. 

Last Updated: 7/30/2014