Evaluation of Teaching
Executive officers should be vigilant about the quality of instruction in their units, intervening where necessary to help department members achieve the level of performance that the university expects and requires. All faculty should be made aware of how teaching is evaluated and of how such evaluations are used as data in decisions about retention, promotion and tenure, and salary adjustments. Since teaching evaluations are an important component of Promotion and Tenure dossiers, unit heads should be certain that their faculty members' teaching is regularly evaluated both by students and by peers.
Online Student Evaluations of Teaching
The Office for Faculty Affairs offers all Colleges and Departments the opportunity to participate in an online course evaluation system provided via the Office for Faculty Affairs. Detailed information about the UIC Student Evaluation of Teaching Program can be found below.
Peer Evaluation of Teaching Process AY 2020-21
Peer-teaching evaluation is an important tool for developing and maintaining excellence of instruction. We are all well aware, however, that this year faculty members have faced unprecedented challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden pivot to alternate teaching formats and other disruptions it has caused. These events make it more important than ever for faculty members to receive acknowledgment, recognition, and feedback to document the extraordinary efforts they have made and to provide support and resources where they are needed. In consultation with the LAS Executive Committee, we therefore offer these special guidelines for peer teaching evaluations this year.
- Evaluations undertaken during this academic year should include language documenting that the review is taking place during the pandemic. It is important for those reviewing these reviews in the future to have the full context. We recommend including the following statement at the beginning of the review, but departments are free to create their own language as long as some acknowledgment of the context is included in the peer review document: “This evaluation is taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time at which faculty members have been asked to rapidly alter their courses to an online or hybrid format. This change, as well as other disruptions of the pandemic, have presented unprecedented challenges and complications to faculty teaching this year, and this evaluation should be considered with this fact in mind.”
- Evaluations should be undertaken with an emphasis on supporting the faculty evaluated and recognizing innovation and extra effort undertaken to adapt to new and unfamiliar circumstances.
- Efforts should be made to provide faculty members with any support and resources that the evaluation suggests they may need.
- When collecting materials for the review (syllabus, Blackboard templates, etc.), faculty members should be invited to provide information about special efforts or innovations connected with adapting the course reviewed to an online/hybrid format only if they wish to do so, i.e., faculty members should not be required to create any new documentation for the peer review.
- When written evaluations are shared with faculty members, they must be given the opportunity, if they wish, to respond in writing, which will then become part of the formal record.
- Unlike previous years, the College is not suggesting any particular format/questions for the review. We are offering links to examples of templates for evaluation of online teaching from other institutions as well as slightly revised LAS Sample Peer Teaching Evaluation Review questions, which can serve as resources for thinking in more detail about how to review online courses. These resources are intended only as tools to help you conduct your reviews in a supportive and flexible fashion as best suits your department’s needs. Please feel free to use them (or not) as seems best for you.
Peer Teaching Evaluations Resources AY 2020-21
We recognize that reviewing online teaching is a novel experience for many of you. We have therefore collected some resources that may be helpful. Below you will find links to some online teaching evaluation forms from other institutions. You will see that they are quite extensive. We are not suggesting that you use these forms or include all of the elements they contain. We did think, however, that you might find within them some ideas for questions or dimensions of evaluation you might want to use in reviewing an online course. We have also slightly altered our standard teaching questions in ways that will make them more suitable for reviewing online courses. These are also provided below. Again, we are not asking you to use this as a template, although you are free to use some or all of these questions as the basis for your review if you wish to do so.
Comment on the design of the course, including the level of difficulty, material covered, and pacing.
Are the learning outcomes well considered?
Is the course designed to meet them effectively?
Are there special features designed for online/hybrid classes that are deserving of comment?
Comment on the nature and number of assignments for the course.
Are they appropriate to the material
Are there a sufficient number of them? Too many?
Are they well-designed to assess whether stated learning outcomes are being met?
Are they clearly articulated?
Comment on the class’s organization and structure.
Is the instructor using Blackboard resources effectively?
Is the organization of the course page clear and easy to navigate?
Does the instructor make effective use of the blackboard and/or other instructional media?
Where the goals of the class session clearly articulated?
Did the class meeting accomplish those goals?
Evidence of instructor interactions (e.g., discussion forums, chat rooms, drop box comments, course news, question and answer forum, online office hours, email threads, weekly announcements, etc.).
Comment on classroom teaching.
Is the pace and difficulty of material appropriate to the course?
Is the lecture/discussion well structured?
Are explanations clear?
Is the technology used to deliver the courses accessible and effective?
Were the goals of the class session clearly articulated?
Did the class meeting accomplish those goals? Did the instructor encourage communication in some way?
Note: This question and the next are places where the templates for evaluating online courses we have provided may be especially useful, especially in evaluating asynchronous courses.
Comment on instructional atmosphere/general performance.
Was the instructor enthusiastic?
If there are synchronous meetings, did he or she have good rapport with the students, treating them respectfully and encouraging their participation?
Were the students engaged?
Did they ask questions at a level appropriate to the class format (i.e. lecture or discussion)?
Was the climate in the session conducive to learning?
If course is asynchronous, did the instructor take steps to keep students engaged?
Are there mechanisms for allowing interaction among students and between the students and the instructor?
Are there clear and inviting mechanisms for instructor-student communication?
What feedback do you plan give the faculty member on the basis of your observation?
What are some of the particular strengths of the course design? Of the teaching style?
What specific recommendations do you plan to make?