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Why evidence teaching? How we do evidence teaching in a systematic, effective, and scholarly manner?
EiR 2017 Prof Denise Chalmers
These are questions that the Educator-in-Residence (EiR) for 2017 Professor Denise Chalmers responded to at a workshop on Evidencing Teaching on 28 August 2017. The workshop was a follow-up on the EiRP-Ruth Wong Memorial Lecture she gave on 24 August 2017 on “Why Recognizing and Rewarding Teaching is Critical to Achieving an Excellent Student Experience”.
There are two purposes for evidencing teaching that Prof Chalmers impressed upon the participants, namely (a) to improve practice (with a focus on process); and (b) to document quality of practice (which is a summative exercise).
She then discussed a framework where evidence on teaching can be drawn from four sources—peers and colleagues, self-assessment, input from students, and student achievement. At a micro and more individual level in enhancing practice, these sources inform us about how we as teachers have an impact on our learners. At a macro and on a larger scale, the four sources provide evidence on the impact of teaching on learning.
By walking through with the participants concrete examples for each source of evidence, Prof Chalmers illustrated how such data could be collected in a systematic and effective way. For instance, peers and colleagues could provide formative feedback on programme and course content, or particpate in collegial observation of classroom practices. In terms of self-assessment, she highlighted reflective course memos as a good way to document and summarise changes made to course content. Meanwhile, student evaluation of teaching could be collected via student feedback surveys or focus group interviews, and student achievement could be gleaned from students’ self-reports of knowledge and skills gained, evidence of learning (pre- and post-tests), or through externally verified learning achievements. She also underscored the importance of underpinning our practice, seeking external validation, getting feedback from industry about our graduates, and demonstrating upon reflection how our thinking (which has an impact on practice) has changed over a period of time. It is timely for faculty to think about how they evidence their teaching, in particular documenting their practice through the teaching portfolio.
EiR 2017 Prof Denise Chalmers fielded questions from workshop participants.
The general feedback from workshop participants was positive and enthusiastic. They found it to be insightful and practical, with a clear idea on how to get started on reflecting about good and effective teaching, and what specifically to work on within their own practice.
Workshop participants in animated discussion
Prof Chalmers referred participants to the following sources for further details:
Australian University Teaching Criteria and Standards (AUTCAS). Retrieved from http://www.uniteachingcriteria.edu.au/
Chalmers, D. & Hunt, L. (2016). Evaluating teaching. HERSDA Review of Higher Education, 3, 25-55. Retrieved from http://herdsa.org.au/herdsa-review-higher-education-vol-3/25-55