Teachers Observing Peers Program

INTRODUCTION

The Teachers Observing Peers (TOP) program provides UNC Charlotte faculty members with an opportunity to observe peers representing a variety of disciplines implementing interactive methods in a live classroom setting. Whether you are an instructor who has been using interactive methods for years or are trying to get ready to teach your first class, you are likely to benefit from the classroom observation by getting new ideas for effective practice and reflecting on your own practice. 

Key Understandings and Principles of TOP

Classroom observations undertaken as part of the Teachers Observing Peers Program are entirely voluntary and for professional development purposes only. The observation of a class and debriefing session you choose to participate in has no connection to the peer observation processes required by Colleges for the Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion (RPT) of faculty.

Observe with an open mind. Most of the TOP Teachers have been using interactive methods for several years in ways that work for them.  You may leave a class observation with very different ideas about how you would use and implement a particular activity or technique in your own course.  During the debriefing session, there will be the opportunity to discuss and reflect on if and how you might implement both general principles and specific strategies observed into your own practice.

Go with an observation form. We suggest you print out at least one of the peer observation forms designed to facilitate and guide your data collection during the observation. You can use them to take notes and prepare comments and questions for the debriefing session. 

Class Observation - Student Engagement Map Double Entry Narrative Form
Student Engagement Map Observation Form Double Entry Narrative Observation Form Time Based Peer Observation Form

Plan for the debriefing session. When you select a date and time to observe a specific faculty member’s classroom, you also need to plan to stay for the debriefing session that follows the class.  The opportunity to discuss with colleagues about the teaching and learning observed during the session is critical to the potential professional growth of the experience.

TOP Procedures

If you are interested in participating in TOP, follow the procedures below:

  1. Review the list of Classes Available to Visit to identify a course/instructor that you are interested in observing.
  2. Select a class/debriefing session that fits your schedule and click on the appropriate link in the chart to sign up to visit at that time.
  3. On the day of the classroom observation, show up early and bring an observation form for use during the class session.
  4. Engage in the debriefing session following the class by asking clarifying questions and sharing reflective thoughts and comments on the class session when appropriate.  The debriefing session will be facilitated by the TOP Teacher and will be conducted in a climate appropriate to a community of learners.
  5. After the observation, complete a feedback form of your experiences with the procedures of the TOP Program.  

Classes Available to Visit

Image of Dr. Celine Latulipe

Celine Latulipe
Associate Professor, Software and Information Systems

ITSC 2214: DATA STRUCTURES & ALGORITHMS 

Dr. Celine Latulipe teaches and engages in research in the field of Human-Computer Interaction and Computer Science Education at UNC Charlotte. Her research involves developing and evaluating novel interaction techniques, creativity support tools, technologies to support the arts and innovative curriculum and pedagogy for Computer Science.  She regularly attends the ACM CHI, UIST, SIGCSE and C&C conferences. Beyond technology, education and art, she is also interested in politics, gender issues, philosophy, behavioral economics, neuroscience, psychology and sociology.

Dr. Latulipe received her PhD in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo in 2006. She has a Master of Mathematics in Computer Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Honours Economics and Applied Studies, both from Waterloo.

The learning objectives of this course are to introduce students to fundamental data structures and related algorithms, as well as notions of efficiency and appropriate ways to use data structures.

By the end of this course, students should be very familiar with:

  1. data structures and for each data structure, you should know:
    1. when it is appropriate to use and why
    2. how to use the built-in version in Java
    3. various ways it can be implemented from scratch, and how efficient each implementation is, across various dimensions (storage cost, sort cost, search cost, etc.)
  2. big O notation/calculation
  3. searching algorithms
  4. sorting algorithms
  • Mondays & Wednesdays 5:00 - 6:15 pm, Bioinformatics 217

Request a time to visit Dr. Celine Latulipe's class

Image of William Garcia

William Garcia
Lecturer, Geography and Earth Sciences

William Garcia is a Lecturer in the Department of Geography and Earth Science. He uses lecture, whole class discussion, and small-room breakout sessions as well as informal group work using think-pair- share and a classroom response system. His teaching philosophy is to divide the course into two weekly lectures and smaller discussion or break-out sections. "In lecture we use a variety of methods to increase student engagement with the course material and each other. This engagement is designed to increase student understanding of foundational content and vocabulary, and to provide simple understanding of concepts and how different concepts relate to one another. Within the smaller break-out sessions students participate in small-group work designed to provide a more detailed and intricate examination of the relationships between concepts."

GEOL 1200: PHYSICAL GEOLOGY

Physical geology is the study of the various processes that shape the Earth, as well as the formation and structure of our planet. Many of these process involve complex, interacting systems that have dramatic affects upon our daily lives. There are five course goals associated with these concepts.

By the end of the course students:

  1. will understand how significant geologic processes (earthquakes, volcanoes, mountains, etc.) occur.
  2. will recognize basic geologic structures and explain how they form
  3. should have an understanding of Earth Systems and how they interact.
  4. should be able to make decisions in their lives based upon their knowledge of geology.
  5. should come to see how they are part of the Earth’s interacting systems.
  • Tuesday & Thursday 2:00 - 3:15 pm, Kennedy 236

GEOL 1210: EARTH HISTORY

Historical geology is the study of the evolution of the Earth and its systems through time. Much of this evolution involves complex, interacting systems that have dramatically impacted the Earth. By the end of the course students should have a basic understanding of the geological, biological, and climatological history of our planet and understand the interactions between these systems over time. Perhaps the most important concept to be gleaned from this course is an understanding of the scope of Geologic Time and a proper appreciation for the scale of time during which the Earth's events have occurred. After completing this course students will know when major events in Earth history occurred and understand the geological, biological, and climatological context in which they occurred. There are six specific course goals associated with these concepts.

By the end of the course students:

  1. will have an understanding of the geological, biological, and climatological history of our planet.
  2. will have an understanding of specific events that have occurred in North America over the past ~3 billion years of Earth History
  3. should have a basic understanding of the connections and interactions between various systems operating within and on the Earth, understanding how their interactions have shaped the planet.
  4. should understand the scope of Geologic Time, have appreciation for the scale of time during which the Earth's events have occurred and be able to apply dating techniques to understand the timing of past events.
  5. should be able to apply knowledge of rock formation and isotopic techniques to reconstruct past climate
  6. should be able to apply their knowledge of the rock cycle and modern tectonics to reconstruct paleoenvironments and past tectonic plate position
  • Mondays & Wednesdays 2:00 - 3:15 pm, Kennedy 234

Request a time to visit William Garcia's class

Image of Tonya Bates

Tonya Bates 
Senior Lecturer, Biology

BIOL 1115: PRINCIPLES OF BIOLOGY II

Tonya Bates is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biology. She uses instuctional methods such as informal group work in a think-pair-share format, classroom response system (clickers), problem solving, case studies. Her teaching philosophy is, "...to make my class more student centered, as pedagogical evidence indicates that students learn better with this approach, and they also retain the information for a longer period of time. They cooperatively solved problems, analyzed case studies, engaged in discussions, and developed graphic organizers. These low stakes formative assessments could signify to a student that they may need to review a topic or it would give them the opportunity to ask me or a peer for help.”

  • Enrollment: 75 students; non-biology majors
  • Tuesday & Thursday 12:30 - 1:45 pm, Woodward 155

Request a time to visit Tonya Bates' class

Image of Delane Ingalls Vanada

Delane Ingalls Vanada 
Assistant Professor, Art Education

ARTE 3123: CRITICAL AND CREATIVE THINKING IN ART & DESIGN

Instructional methods: Learner-centered pedagogy (connection-making, inquiry, student self-direction); many active learning strategies including design thinking. Ultimately, I want to put students in control of their own learning, allow for personal choice, creativity, and significant critical thinking in the process. Some lecture, but authentic learning is valued. Provides an introduction to principles and theories of research through contemporary issues (asking questions,gathering evidence during clinical practice, literature reviews, conducting inquiries in relationship to teaching in the visual arts).

Course teaching philosophy: I am a facilitator and designer of learning investigations for students to connect concepts, deepen their understanding by connecting concepts, practice art-based inquiry, and expand their creative and critical thinking. I believe that knowledge is constructed, not imparted, and students are given opportunities to create written, visual, and verbal reflections as demonstrations of their idea and understanding.

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  

The purpose of this course is to foster students’ critical, creative, and practical thinking skills and dispositions, by investigating and using creative thinking processes. Learn about and use design thinking—a mindset and human-centered process for innovative practice. Artists and artist-teachers can apply design thinking to art + design projects, lessons, and teaching others. Explore social-emotional mindsets as the key to balanced thinking and creativity. Incorporation of learner-centered classroom approaches to develop dynamic, collaborative, inquiry-based, self-directed and connected thinking! 

COURSE RATIONALE: 

Developing balanced thinking (creative, critical, and practical) and mindsets for resilient, dynamic problem solving is much needed in 21st century education today. This course will address how learning in and through art and design supports new paradigms of intelligence based on new learning theories and cognitive science. Collaborative studio-based explorations, readings, seminar discussions, arts-based research, and reflection will be used to prepare students for designing thinking (theirs and others), enhance their creative process, and foster 21st century skills and mindsets in others.

The goals of this course are to:

  • Investigate design thinking for improving creativity, critical awareness and social-emotional learning 
  • Enhance understanding of society’s effects on creativity and how art and design develop/can develop creative confidence and balanced intelligence
  • Develop intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, creativity, and responsibility through visual, oral, envisioned, and written ways
  • Apply the “design thinking” process to address a challenge that exists in a school or community by using observation, developing a multidisciplinary perspective, building mindsets towards innovation, 
  • Foster deep insights by approaching problem solving through strategies that transform and unleash innovation 
  • Tuesdays 9:00 am - 12:40 pm, Winningham 214

Request a time to visit Delane Ingalls Vanada's class

Image of Susan Harden

Susan Harden 
Assistant Professor, Middle Secondary and K-12 Education

CUCY 3600: COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT CAPSTONE

Susan Harden is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Middle, Secondary, and K-12 Education. She also serves as the Program Coordinator for the Minor in Urban Youth and Communities in the College of Education. 

The purpose of this course is to provide a culminating and comprehensive experience for students in the Civic Minor in Urban Youth and Communities.  In this course, students will synthesize the interdisciplinary theory and experiential learning around urban youth and education, communities, and social justice into a comprehensive community or school based project lead by the student using practices of participatory action research. This course is SL designated​.

  • Mondays 9:30 am - 12:15 pm, Fretwell 305
  • Tuesdays 5:00 - 7:45 pm, Macy 206

Request a time to visit Susan Harden's class

Image of Dr. Takiyah Nur Amin

Takiyah Nur Amin
Assistance Professor, Dance Studies

LBST 1101: ART AND SOCIETY (DANCE)

Takiyah Nur Amin, PhD is Assistant Professor of Dance Studies, Affiliate Faculty in the Department of Africana Studies and Affiliate Faculty in the Women's and Gender Studies Program.  She regularly teaches courses in dance history and theory in the liberal studies curriculum, Department of Dance and Honors College. Her research and teaching interests include Black performance and aesthetics, 20th century American concert dance and pedagogical issues in dance studies. She is currently working on a book project that explores the work of Black women choreographers during the height of the US-based Black Power and Black Arts Movements. In service to the dance field, Dr. Amin is a member of the Board of Directors for the Congress on Research in Dance (CORD,) co-founder (with Dr. Nyama McCarthy Brown) of CORD's Diversity Working Group and a founding member of the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance (CADD.) She has served as peer reviewer for both Dance Research Journal and Dance Chronicle and is host of the New Book Network's Dance Channel.  Dr. Amin is a proud native of Buffalo, NY and is the eldest daughter of Karima and the late Abdul Jalil Amin

This 3-credit course provides an introduction to dance in the context of the arts and society. We will explore the similarities among selected dance traditions from around the world in terms of their functionality and we will examine how 20th and 21st century American concert dance, social dance and popular entertainment dance reflect those traditions. We will also study socio-political issues evidenced in choreography through lectures, discussion, film, video and live dance performance.

  • Mondays & Wednesdays 3:30 pm - 4:45 pm, Kennedy 236
  • Mondays & Wednesdays 5:00 pm - 6:15 pm, Kennedy 236

Request a time to visit Dr. Takiyah Nur Amin's class