1. Defining and tracking learning goals

Instructor's learning goal for the evaluated class session or assignment (Sofia)
  • Students will demonstrate active ability to describe and analyze a work of art
    • Students can talk about the formal elements of a work of art using appropriate vocabulary
    • Students can connect that formal description to broader thematic elements of the course

  • Students will respond to one another's observations about works of art within a classroom discussion

At least one way that this learning goal is helping the instructor define his or her teaching (Sofia)
  • I make sure to structure the class in a way in which students speak as much as possible. Most of the class involves asking students to describe and then asking further open-ended questions on larger issues. The idea is that the more they describe, the more they feel they have the ability to do so. But I’m not sure how much students are actually listening to one another’s observations (which are often insightful) and how much they are simply waiting their turn to speak.
  • I incorporate group activities into my classes, knowing that students who are reticent to speak in front of an entire class might be more engaged in a small group setting.

Instructor's vision of how students will step towards that goal (Sofia)
  • I envision a classroom where students respond to and build off of one another’s observations in ways that further their ability to clearly describe works of art and understand the issues at play in visual analysis.

Observer's understanding of what exactly he or she is tracking (Dory)
  • I will be tracking the degree to which students converse with each other, not just direct their comments to Sofia. This indicates ability to talk about images, and also to have a conversation about them with others. This will also help Sofia to gauge how much students listen to each other's contributions, rather than just "waiting their turn" to talk. The class will be divided into three sections.

Observer's understanding of how the tracked session or assignment will be measured (Dory)
  • To analyze the flow of conversation (amongst students or student-instructor volleys) I will use a classroom map tool similar to what Maria and I used last semester when she observed my class. I will trace the pattern of a conversation on a printed-out map labeled with student names. I will use new maps for different sections of class in order to A/B/C test different instructor strategies. The first section will be a discussion of the movie students will be watching for homework around a central discussion question that Sofia will purposefully not participate in. The second will be class discussion that proceeds as usual, and the third will be a group assignment that requires students to work in pairs. I will compare participation specifically between the first two sections. In the third section, I will listen to two different groups, monitoring the specific vocabulary that they use to describe the image they're given as a way of determining the accuracy and specificity of their descriptions. Sofia will also listen to two groups, which will give us four data points for comparison.
  • After class, I will hold a short focus group with students that elect to stay to ask them about their comfort in having a discussion on the subject matter and what styles of teaching of the three tested in class they get the most out of. These questions will be primarily developed by Sofia.
  • David will videotape the session as a precautionary measure, though we don't envision necessarily needing to revisit the tape.

2. Timeline

January 23: Dory and Sofia first meeting to discuss observation plan

February 12: Teagle group meeting/presentation/discussion

February 20: Dory and Sofia meet to revise and finalize observation plan

February 24: Sofia sends Dory class seating arrangement, vocabulary list, and focus group questions

Before March 5: Dory creates measurement tools

March 5: 1pm Dory and Sofia meet to go over class plan, make any last minute adjustments to observation

Class Observed! 2:40 to 3:55 pm
2:40-3:00 - discussion led fully by students
3:00-3:35 - discussion proceeds as normal with Sofia leading
3:35-3:55 - group project

3:55 - 4:15 Dory holds focus group with students

March 6: Dory writes up findings from focus group

Week of March 9: Dory and Sofia meet to debrief and interpret observation

TBD: Present findings to Teagle group.