At UB, course evaluations are just one method for examining teaching effectiveness. Several additional options are available, and these can all be initiated by individual instructors or by department chairs and/or faculty mentors. CATT can provide additional information and support for the following approaches:
Course learning outcomes define the knowledge and/or skills that students should develop while completing a course. Measuring student achievement of these outcomes can provide one source of data for measuring teaching effectiveness. If this data is not already be compiled for annual program assessment reporting, it is easy for an individual instructor to compile. Course requirements, such as assignments and test questions, are mapped to appropriate learning outcomes, and, after final grading is complete, the data is compiled discretely for each mapped assignment or test question, and the percentage of students achieving this outcome is recorded. This approach can provide direct evidence that students are learning appropriate knowledge and skills to a high level.
We all know the limitations that are inherent in student evaluations of teaching. However, when examined from a longitudinal perspective, the results can provide insights into teaching strengths and areas needing improvement. Rating scale items that tend to have lower average scores over several semesters and even across several different courses can be an indication that this aspect of teaching needs improvement. The same can be true of open-ended comments that center on the same theme over a period of time. The My Focus tool in UB Course Evaluation can provide insights into questions that tend to have lower ratings or higher ratings over time, and there is a mechanism for faculty who excel at each aspect to provide advice that all instructors can view.
Many teaching inventories have been developed to help instructors self-assess their own teaching effectiveness and adjust teaching methods based on results.
Self-scoring a self-report inventory can help an instructor gain insight into best practices for college instruction. In addition, writing a short reflective piece on the results, as well as steps for improving instruction based on these results, can provide additional context when discussing course evaluation results in an annual review or the promotion and tenure dossier.
Sharing your syllabus and course materials, including assignment prompts and objective test questions, for review by a teaching expert in the discipline can provide much insight into the effectiveness of course design. For online courses, the SUNY OSCQR is a useful tool that instructors or external reviewers can use to measure course design effectiveness.
In addition to review of your teaching materials, a teaching expert in your field can provide an objective observation of your teaching by using one of the many teaching observation instruments that are available.
As a faculty member, you might consider requesting a peer review of teaching. This approach is similar to the approaches that utlizie an expert in your field but rely on a peer instructor from your department or from a similar discipline at the institution. A peer review would involve an initial review of the syllabus and course materials for a class that the peer reviewer will visit. The peer reviewer may use a structured observation form during the visit or may simply take notes on what is happening during the class visit. After the class visit, the peer reviewer would meet with you to discuss teaching strengths and weaknesses and suggestions for improvement.
The teaching portfolio is a tool through which instructors can highlight and communicate teaching strengths. In addition, the deeply reflective process of creating the portfolio provides a meaningful assessment mechanism through which they can also identify areas for improvement, as well as demonstrate for the process of incorporating improvements into instructional approaches. A free electronic portfolio tool is provided in Blackboard (UB Learns), and other free options are available, including Word Press, Google Sites, Wix.com, and many others.
See our Course Development pages for resources related to effective course design and delivery, as well as methods for incorporating teaching effectiveness assessment into course design.