Consultants work with instructors to implement scholarly approaches to teaching infused with evidence-based instructional strategies.
Faculty Teams, Departments, Programs and Colleges
UITL staff and faculty affiliates consult with representatives of committees, departments, schools or colleges on teaching-related issues, including design and development of a teaching initiative within the unit, curriculum revision, program evaluation, or support for new faculty or graduate teaching associates. They are also able to assist planning and delivery of faculty retreats on peer review of teaching policies and procedures, as well as design of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning or Discipline-Based Education Research and program assessment projects. It is the role of the Institute to assist units in review and use of the research literature on higher education and to share resources from, experiences of, and lessons learned through collaborative work and efforts.
Professional teaching consultants are available to discuss any aspect of teaching, such as designing courses, enhancing classroom techniques, developing course materials, and documenting teaching effectiveness. Consultants work with instructors to take a scholarly approach to teaching, informed by research and based on the process of asking questions, gathering data, and planning responses. They are able to work with faculty on the following:
Early-term Course Feedback
While Student Evaluation of Instruction (SEI’s) measure perceptions AFTER a course is over, collecting feedback before midterm allows faculty to:
- address student questions or points of confusion regarding course design and major projects
- make meaningful changes or adjustments quickly and efficiently
- promote student engagement with the course content and instructors
- positively affect the outcome of summative evaluations of teaching effectiveness.
Early Term Feedback (ETF) is a formative assessment tool — in essence, a three-question survey — that allows you to engage students, address relevant questions or concerns, and make changes you believe valuable based on their feedback.
ETF can provide information about student perceptions of workload, their understanding of course objectives, their ability to engage with educational technology or resources, or their reception of new instructional approaches.
Early Term Feedback is usually done between weeks 3 and 5 of a semester. Instructors give students 10 minutes to answer up to three open-ended questions like the following:
- What features of this course contribute most to your learning?
- What changes would enhance your learning or clarify confusion?
- What can you do to improve your learning?
- What, if anything, would you change about the course?
- What is the best feature of the instructor’s presentation skills?
- Do you feel that the approach to (describe course change) is effective?
Typically, the instructor explains the purpose of ETF and allows students to jot down responses anonymously. The survey can also be administered through Carmen or Qualtrics.
Small Group Instructional Diagnosis (SGID)
Like Early Term Feedback, Small Group Instructional Diagnosis is conducted for formative purposes in weeks 4, 5, or 6. SGID uses facilitated small group discussion among students to provide feedback to an instructor. UITL consultants facilitate SGIDs. The process entails setting aside class time for gathering written feedback and to talk with students while the instructor is not present. For under 30 students, the whole SGID process would take 20 to 30 minutes. For over 60 students, the same process might take 50 minutes.
Questions asked during the SGID process resemble those asked during ETF. They may include the following:
- What do you like best about the course and the faculty member’s teaching?
- What would you like the faculty member to change that may improve the course, his or her teaching, and your learning?
- What could you do to make the course better for you and the faculty member?
- How much have you learned in this course thus far?
Students respond to the selected questions, then groups report out. Consensus around themes is reached by clicker or hold of hands.
The consultant then communicates results to the faculty member as soon as possible in either a written summary or face-to-face consultation.
Midterm or End-of-course Surveys
Consultants can help construct midterm or end-of-course instruments that can be tailored to course outcomes or to collect specific data/feedback. UITL has a variety of sample forms suggesting items and formats that can be adapted for the instructor use. Once an instrument has been constructed and administered, consultants can also assist with interpretation of responses to both custom-designed instruments and standard surveys such as the SEI.
Teaching Portfolio Development
UITL consultants can assist instructors in constructing a teaching portfolio or dossier. Teaching portfolios are useful for not only document teaching, but also reflecting on areas for growth.
Typically a consultant meets with an instructor to discuss audience for the portfolio, the areas of the teaching process that will be examined, the kinds of information to be collected, and how these materials will be analyzed and presented. Subsequent meetings take place as needed to refine portfolio components like teaching philosophy and goals, teaching responsibilities, representative course syllabi, teaching evaluation instruments, and course development or teaching improvement efforts. The consultant will assist in the review and organization of materials to be included in a teaching portfolio that represents solid evidence of instructor effectiveness.
Graduate Assistant Teaching Award Nominees
Nominees are invited to attend one of the GATA informational meetings run by the Graduate School and the University Institute for Teaching and Learning in December and January and to take advantage of individual and electronic consultations.
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