Improving Your Teaching

There are several sources faculty can access to improve our teaching: end-of and mid-semester student evaluations; peer observation and feedback; self-reflection; and informal student assessment.

Award-winning faculty look to improve from end-of-course evaluations (Golding & Adam, 2016). No matter your scores, look for common threads in numbered responses and comments. Identify areas that several students cite and develop a strategy to help students work through those difficult concepts. Mid-semester student feedback gives faculty a chance to change and improve their students’ experience. Hoon et al. (2015) showed improved quality with a start-stop-continue format: “What should I start/stop/continue doing?”

Voluntary and formative peer observation from a colleague in a different discipline can yield useful insights. The observers view from the student perspective and offer feedback as an individual who understands the teaching role (DiVall et al., 2012).

Your own reflections about your teaching are important too. Ask yourself, “What worked in today’s class” and “What could I improve and how?” Also, an informal student learning assessment (e.g., a “minute” paper) can furnish information on what aspects students understood or misunderstood, and provide a starting point for the next session.

Adapted from Maryellen Weimer, PhD; references available on request.