Evaluating your teaching is fundamentally an iterative process of gathering evidence in order to improve your teaching. Common forms of evaluation evidence include student questionnaires, peer review and student outcomes. As a result of regularly evaluating and improving your teaching, you will also generate evidence that you can use for promotion and confirmation purposes. You can describe this evidence in your Otago Teaching Profile.
The Evaluation office, which handles the student evaluation questionnaires, has moved to the Quality Advancement Unit. Same services, same staff.
Visit the Quality Advancement Unit website
Teaching and Learning Circles (TLCs) is a University-wide initiative, which combines observations of teaching with supportive peer conversations to provide insight into enhancing teaching. TLCs involve group-based, reciprocal peer observation of teaching with the ultimate goal of strengthening teaching culture and practice.
Teaching and Learning Circles provide “the opportunity to talk about teaching so that it gives you the mind space to reflect upon your own [teaching]. It’s that constructive alignment of seeing others and talking about the ways they get their class to work and being able to talk about your own process with them that is probably, what I think, is missing if I do it with peer review.” (TLC participant, 2018)
The TLCs process
Each TLC consists of three or four members (preferably from different departments/disciplines). The average time commitment to participate in a TLC is four to five hours over a semester. This includes pre- and post-observation meetings as well as observing the teaching of each member.
There are six stages to the process as shown below.
The Teaching and Learning Circles Resource Pack details the process and provides helpful prompts for self-reflection and post-observation discussion.
Any data generated from your participation in TLCs can be used as evidence of effective teaching to complement student evaluations, and / or to support your teaching statement in the Otago Teaching Profile when applying for confirmation or promotion.
“This has been a really useful and positive experience for me. It has really helped to be able to engage with others’ teaching, especially from such different fields, and at a time when we were in danger of feeling isolated, this group provided the extra support I needed.” (TLC member during COVID lockdown, 2020)
Teaching and Learning Circles was launched in the Division of Humanities in October 2017 by the then Associate Dean (Academic) Professor Tim Cooper who sought to enhance teaching practice and culture in the Division. Since its inaugural year, teachers from Humanities, Commerce, and the Sciences have participated in Teaching and Learning Circles, and have reported on the benefits of observing others teach, and engaging in supportive conversations about teaching. Read the Ako-funded research project about the beneficial outcomes for university teachers who have participated in TLCs.
The TLC coordinator, Dr Tracy Rogers, can help you form or join a Teaching and Learning Circle. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information or to request to join a TLC.