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 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.

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  
This is a required sophomore class in programming. Students are learning about different data structures such as lists, trees, stacks and graphs, as well as the algorithms used with these structures. There is both a theoretical aspect as well the programming skills aspect. This is taught as a fully flipped, active learning class. 

  • Friday 11:00 am - 2:00 pm, Kennedy 236

Request a time to visit 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."

LBST 2213: HUMANS TRANSFORMING THE ENVIRONMENT
LBST 2213 is a team-taught course and as part of the University Prospect for Success program is for first semester freshman only. Our main goal is to introduce students to the concepts of goal-setting, inquiry and cultural awareness using human-environment interactions as the main content. We use weekly small group discussion sections and a variety of active techniques during lecture including: a personal response system, think-pair-shares, and brief writing assignments.

  • Tuesday & Thursday 9:30 am - 10:45 am, McEniry 125

ESCI 3190/GEOG 3190: BIOGEOGRAPHY
ESCI/GEOG 3190 is a writing intensive course primarily for Earth and Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, and Geography majors. We discuss the distribution of life on Earth and the processes that lead to this distribution. Much of the material we cover comes from reading the primary literature and writing about primary research. Activities largely center around the writing aspect of the class including discussions of articles, writing summaries of articles, and diagramming key ideas from readings.

  • Tuesday & Thursday 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm, McEniry 123

Request a time to visit William Garcia's class

Image of Tonya Bates

Tonya Bates 
Senior Lecturer, Biology

BIOL 1110: PRINCIPLES OF BIOLOGY I

Tonya Bates is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biology. She uses instructional methods such as informal group work in a think-pair-share format, classroom response system, problem solving, and 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.”

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
Biology 1110 is the first of a two-semester introduction to Biology for non-science majors.  Since these courses are especially designed for non-majors, students are provided with a broad overview of basic biology with emphasis on application to their everyday life. My personal goal is to help my students understand foundations in biology so they can relate to current events in biology and make informed, intelligent decisions.

  • Enrollment: 175 students; non-biology majors
  • Tuesday & Thursday 9:30 am - 10:45 am, Woodward 106

Request a time to visit Tonya Bates' class

Image of Praveen Ramaprabhu

Praveen Ramaprabhu 
Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Sciences

MEGR 2240: COMPUTATIONAL METHODS FOR ENGINEERS

Dr. Praveen Ramaprabhu is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Engineering Sciences at UNC Charlotte, where he heads the Laboratory for Multiscale Computational Fluid Dynamics (LMCFD). Starting with his Ph.D. research at Texas A&M University, Praveen has worked extensively using experiments and careful numerical simulations to advance the understanding of turbulent mixing due to fluid instabilities. Praveen is a senior member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and an Associate Editor of the ASME Journal of Fluids Engineering. As a CTL faculty fellow, Praveen is interested in Adaptive Learning, Active Learning, and new faculty mentoring, and will champion initiatives in these areas. and understanding.

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  
Automated engineering analysis and synthesis techniques based on software engineering principles. Overview of data representation and computing languages. Program development using programming languages and off-the shelf software packages. Study of numerical methods, potential errors, and computational stability. emphasis on effective design, testing, and debugging practices.

  • Tuesday & Thursday 9:30 am - 10:45 am, Duke Centennial Hall 259

Request a time to visit Praveen Ramaprabhu's class

Image of Pilar Zuber

Pilar Zuber 
Lecturer & BSPH Program Director,  Public Health Sciences

LBST 2214: ISSUES OF HEALTH AND QUALITY OF LIFE

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  
This class meets the General Education requirement for Culture and Society. This course focuses on the measures of health and quality of life, including the organization of health care systems, cultural and social determinants of health, and ethical issues related to health and health care.

The course is taught in a hybrid large-lecture, small group breakout session format.  Students are exposed to the major concepts at the beginning of the semester, then apply those concepts to a variety of health topics, "practicing" critical thinking skills throughout the rest of the semester.
  • Monday & Wednesday 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

Request a time to visit Pilar Zuber's class

Robert Monaghan

Lecturer, Accounting

ACCT 2122: PRINCIPLES OF ACCOUNTING II (MANAGERIAL ACCOUNTING)

Although he only looks 25, Robert Monaghan has thirty years of professional financial management experience.  His career has included public accounting, serving as the Controller or CFO for companies in the Construction, Wholesale/Importing, and Real Estate industries, and providing consulting services to a variety of industries.  In 2012, Robert returned to UNC Charlotte to acquire a Masters Degree and then became a Professor in the Accounting Department.  He enjoys teaching the wonders of Managerial Accounting to bored college sophomores. 

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  
Acct 2122 takes the basics of accounting that were taught in the prerequisite accounting class and applies those to the art of making business decisions.  This material tends to be abstract for students with limited work experience, so we have packed the course full of real life examples and a semester long project that has groups develop their own product idea from creation to managing actual costs.  The semester culminates in a "Sharktank" presentation showdown where students vote on the best product.

  • Monday & Wednesday 2:30 pm - 3:15 pm, Friday 128
  • Monday & Wednesday 3:30 pm - 4:45 pm, Friday 111

Request a time to visit Robert Monaghan's class

Image of Susan Harden

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

UCOL 1200: WOMEN WHO CREATE

Susan B. Harden is an Assistant Professor of Education at UNC Charlotte and the Director for the Civic Minor in Urban Youth and Communities and the Charlotte Community Scholars undergraduate research program. Susan's teaching, research, and service expertise is in understanding community engagement at cultural institutions and developing engaged scholarship in higher education.  Susan is also passionate about teaching first-year students using active learning and experiential pedagogy.

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  
Women Who Create is a uniquely designed course that explores concepts of innovation, design, creativity, and service for freshmen women who are interested in the sciences, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) and are considering a major or minor in a STEM discipline. This class will investigate challenges facing society and explore how women can enter careers that address these challenges. Class activities include experiential learning and community engagement opportunities. 

  • Fridays 11:30 am - 2:15 pm, BINF 217

Request a time to visit Susan Harden's class