Parents' Program Provides Special Support For Teaching Analysis Polls
Bill McAllister, Faculty Consultant, TRC and Department of History
We are pleased to announce that the Parents Program has awarded the Teaching Resource Center a grant that expands our ability to offer Teaching Analysis Polls during the 1997-98 academic year. The Parents Program, an organization comprised of non-alumni parents of current U.Va. students, supports important services and projects at the University.
Any faculty member or teaching assistant can request a Teaching Analysis Poll (TAP). The poll is conducted by a trained member of the Teaching Resource Center staff. Instructors absent themselves during the TAP to promote frank feedback from their students. The TRC staff member conducting the poll asks the students three questions: "What most helps you learn in this course? What most impedes your learning? What suggestions for improvements can you make?" The TRC staff member clarifies ambiguities and confirms that opinions represent those of the majority. S/he relates the results to the instructor soon thereafter, and often in the process they confer about course improvements. The instructor then responds directly to the students. For a more detailed description of the TAP process please visit the TAP web page.
Teaching Analysis Polls offer many benefits. Most directly, students who participate in a TAP contribute to a more effective learning environment, and instructors institute measures to improve their pedagogy. Unlike end-of-semester evaluations, a TAP results in mid-course enhancements of direct benefit to both students and instructors. Students usually respond positively to a teacher who listens to their concerns and takes corrective measures. Moreover, after participating in a TAP, students often consider more carefully what they must do in order to prepare properly for class. An enhanced classroom dynamic commonly results from the TAP; students learn more and instructors teach better.
Analysis Polls engender a less direct, but perhaps more enduring legacy
as well. Professors and graduate students who participate in a TAP invariably
report that the improvements they institute carry over into other courses
and subsequent years. Indeed, many instructors request multiple TAPs
over the course of several semesters in order to hone their pedagogical
skills. Here's a sampling of comments from faculty and TAs who have
utilized the Teaching Analysis Poll:
a TAP for your class, contact the TRC at 982-2815 or firstname.lastname@example.org.