In 2016, we created the Active Learning Classroom Observation Tool (ALCOT), a classroom observation protocol that considers teaching and learning in the context of the classroom. By situating the observation within the classroom, we sought to help instructors consider their use of the classroom space to support presentation and student engagement as part of a broader reflection on their teaching.
The ALCOT comes in three parts:
First, the Pre-Observation Checklist is intended to be used as part of a pre-observation conversation. The pre-observation checklist helps the observer identify what the instructor wants to focus on.
Second, the Chronological Note-Taking Instrument is a tool to keep track, in real time, of what is happening during the class observation.
Finally, the Active Learning Classroom Observation Tool, when completed by the observer, is given to the instructor for review. Ideally, the observer and instructor have a post observation conversation soon after the ALCOT is given to the instructor.
You can use the protocol in a variety of ways:
- For self-check – As an instructor you can use the ALCOT to reflect on one class meeting or several
- For peer observation – Observe, or be observed, by another instructor
- For observation by Mosaic staff or as part of a consult with your teaching center – Ask a faculty developer to observe your class meeting
- For incorporation into a different protocol – take key questions that address space and import into your own approach