Peer Observations of Classroom Activities

What is POCA?

The Peer Observation of Classroom Activities (POCA) program is a network of faculty observing each other's teaching. Peer-observation programs can document the types of teaching practices on instructor and departmental levels, support professional development opportunities, and evaluate the effects of instructional interventions with pre and post observations. This program helps participants by conducting observations and providing an objective source of formative feedback.

While in the POCA program, participants take on two different roles: observer and instructor. Both observing and being the instructor who is observed are beneficial processes. When observing other instructors, you have the opportunity to see how others conduct their classes and to experience a class from the students' point of view. When being observed, you will likely think about your teaching practices in different ways than you typically do, especially by considering the student or observers perspective of the classroom experience.

To register please follow:

POCA Timeline

Activity / Deadline Timing Dates for Spring 2023 Dates for Fall 2023
First announcement about the program / sign-up opens Approximately one month before the end of the prior semester Mid-November Late April
Associate Dean for Faculty and Inclusion notifies faculty who MUST go through the program Approximately three weeks before the end of the prior semester Late November / Early December Late April / Early May
Second announcement via COE Update Approximately two weeks before the end of the prior semester Early December Mid-May
Registration deadline One week before the start of the semester January 17 @ 5:00 PM August 1
COPUS Trainings Multiple, in the two weeks before the start of the semester (participants only need to attend one) January 12, 17, and 18 August 7 – August 18
Deadline for providing course details and observation availability Friday of the first week of classes January 27 August 25
Sign up to do three observations Week 2 – week 4 January 30 – February 10 August 28 – September 8
Observations conducted Week 3 – week 11 February 6 – April 14 September 11 – November 3
Deadline for completing Teaching Practices Inventory End of week 12 April 21 November 10
Personalized reports sent to participants End of week 14 May 5 December 1

Key Contacts

For questions about program design, development, implementation, and logistics, please contact Dr. Tareq Daher or Dr. Markeya Peteranetz.

Participant Responsibilities

As an Observer You Will:

  • attend a 2- to 3-hour training on using COPUS at least once. Training must be completed prior to conducting in-class observations
  • sign-up for at least three observations using the designated sign-up sheet
  • complete at least three 50-minute observations instructors during the semester - if you do not arrive for an observation on time, it does not count towards your required 3 observations
  • turn in completed COPUS forms on Canvas by the deadline

As an Instructor You Will:

  • provide information about your course and dates when you can be observed (this is part of the registration form)
  • complete the Teaching Practices Inventory (online) once during the semester
  • participate in a 30-minute one-on-one consultation