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 for Fall 2018

Image of Celine Latulipe

Celine Latulipe
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. During class time students are in teams and participate in peer instruction quizzes and pair programming activities. Students in the course use an interactive textbook as required pre-class prepwork. They also watch videos and take quizzes and tests on a newly adopted adaptive learning platform, RealizeIT.

  • Tuesday 7:00 pm - 8:30 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 first-semester freshman only course that is part of the University Prospect for Success Program. The program is intended to introduce students to three University Learning Objectives: Commitment to Success, Understanding Cultural Diversity, and Methods of Inquiry. We approach these objectives by studying the way humans have interacted with the natural world since our species' evolution with emphasis on the idea that humans are an active part of the Earth System and not an entity separate from the Earth. Topics include the development of agriculture, changes in biological diversity, and impacts of natural disasters. A variety of active-learning topics are employed throughout the course: think-pair-shares, light group work, classroom response systems, and others.
  • Tuesday & Thursday 10:00 am -11:15 am, McEniry 125

ESCI 3190: BIOGEOGRAPHY
ESCI 3190 is a course designed for Junior or Senior Earth and Environmental Science majors. It is designated as a Writing Intensive course and satisfies that University General Education requirement. Biogeography is the study of the spatial distribution of life on Earth and the factors that control this distribution. Understanding the distribution of life on our planet has lead biologists to discover numerous fundamental biological concept, for example, biogeographic patterns were key evidence for Darwin and Wallace when formulating the theory of Natural Selection. Topics include biotic and abiotic controls on species distributions, definitions of a geographic range, island biogeographic theory, and the geographic principles of species conservation. A variety of active learning topics are employed throughout the course: think-pair-shares, 1-5 minute snap writing assignments, light group work, and others.

  • Monday, Wednesday, & Friday 8:00 am - 8:50 am, McEniry 401

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.

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a knowledge of the central and fundamental concepts of biology
  2. Understand the role of the scientific process in the context of the creation of new knowledge
  3. Employ biological knowledge to discriminate between reliable and less reliable sources and claims
  4. Utilize knowledge of biological concepts to critically evaluate, analyze, synthesize, and understand scientific data and real world problems
  • Enrollment: 185 students; non-biology majors
  • Tuesday & Thursday 8:30 am - 9:45 am, Woodward 106

Request a time to visit Tonya Bates' 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:  
This course is a Sophomore level class and is a prerequisite for students to be admitted to the College of Business.  Well over 50% of the students are not destined for the Accounting program, so the classes are made up of varying levels of ability and interest.  This class is taught in a flipped format with students grasping most of the basic content prior to class so that class discussions are more focused around problem solving and case studies.  We have found that this format engages students better that traditional boring lectures, which tend to promote napping.   

  • Tuesday & Thursday - 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm, McEniry 117
  • Tuesday & Thursday - 4:00 pm - 5:15 pm, Denny 120

Request a time to visit Robert Monaghan'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.
  • Tuesday & Thursday 10:00 am - 11:15 am, CHHS 155

Request a time to visit Pilar Zuber's class