Open Classroom Week is an initiative of the University of Calgary Teaching Academy, supported by the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. The event gives instructors the opportunity to observe classroom practices across Faculties and disciplines, and to engage in conversations about teaching with their colleagues. Each term, a handful (10 – 15) instructors open their classroom doors to allow their colleagues to observe their approaches to different classroom settings, teaching practices, technology applications and learning experiences. The week wraps up with a themed conversation that serves as a debrief for both instructors and observers.
Participants are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to observe teaching across disciplines and to chose classes based on class size/type, instructional approach, or a particular teaching challenge.
In Fall 2015 and Winter 2016, Open Classroom Week attracted 143 registered observers; these participants occupied 218 observation spots. Approximately 35 observers and instructors also attended the debrief discussions during these two offerings of the Open Classroom Week initiative.
Documentation and Materials
Assessment Strategies and Results
- Open Classroom Week – March 2015 – Participant Follow-up Assessment
- Themed Conversation – Making Teaching Practice Public (Open Classroom Week Debrief)
- Open Classroom Week March 2015 – Assessment Summary
Reflection and Impact
Open Classroom Week has been useful in several ways: (a) it raises the profile of teaching on the U of C campus, (b) it “normalizes” the desire to see other people teach, (c) it raises awareness of common teaching issues and challenges, (d) it starts an open dialogue about teaching at the U of C, and (e) it helps individual teachers to challenge assumptions and explore new practices (the assessment data supports these claims). We will move forward with Open Classroom Week by offering it once yearly (in the winter term), and incorporating more fluid (ad-hoc) opportunities for instructors to open their classes during the fall term when there are initiatives, processes, or applications that instructors would like to highlight.
Robin Mueller (Taylor Institute faculty member) and Meadow Schroeder (Teaching Academy member) are evaluating the effectiveness and impact of Open Classroom Week by way of a small research project. The results of this project will inform further development of the Open Classroom Week initiative.
Project collaborators: Robin Mueller, Teaching Academy members
ePortfolio author: Robin Mueller