Using Classroom Observations to Improve your Teaching

Monday 1:30pm-4:00pm UMC 247
Mini Workshop


Rachel Teasdale, California State University-Chico

Small changes can make a big difference in engaging your students! This workshop will briefly review some of the results of the RTOP research project, in which more than 200 introductory and majors geoscience classes were observed in an effort to understand how classrooms are able to engage students and improve learning. We will focus on pedagogical practices that help make courses more student-centered. As a participant, you will develop a set of simple strategies that fit the constraints of your course content, student population and classroom dynamics to increase student engagement in your next course.


  • Review results of the On the Cutting Edge research on Understanding and Improving our Teaching (many participants may have had a RTOP observer attend one of their classes and are part of the 205 observation data set we'll review)
  • Review easily-adaptable teaching practices used by faculty who teach Student-Centered classes
  • Participants will set goals for improving student engagement in their own courses and develop a set of strategies you can use in your next course to engage students in the class period, and improve their learning.

Program (in progress!)

1:30 Welcome & Introductions

1:45 Introduce the RTOP observation project, what do geoscientists do in undergraduate classes and how that impacts student participation and learning

2:00-2:30 Review student-centered teaching practices- from the easy to use, to those that might seem more complex to adapt

2:30-3:00 Set goals for your course(s), report out

3:00-3:45 Work on teaching strategies to use in your next course(s)

3:45-4:00 Share ideas

4:15 Adjourn

Contact Info: (for more info or to volunteer to be an RTOP-er or to be RTOP-ed)

Useful Resources:

Integrate activities (with data/worksheets etc)

Thur/Fri workshop: Teaching with InTeGrate Materials in a 2YC Environment

8:30am-11:30am HALE 240

Example Activities on Teaching with Data(left tool bar on this site links to teaching with GIS, Google Earth, Simulations, Visualizations, etc.)

Thur Posters: Large data sets & teaching resources, Digital visualization workshop: Teaching with InTeGrate Materials in a 2YC Environment

Friday Talks: Sustainability & Envt- REC Ctr Med. Ice Overlook

Data Resources (e.g. GLOBE, climate change, other data sets)

Friday Talks: NASA & NOAA Data - REC Ctr Large Ice Overlook;

Zillions of ideas at SERC:

Link to info about ABCD/Color coded "voting" cards (thanks Diane!)