Open Classroom Week

Open Classroom Week is an initiative of the University of Calgary Teaching Academy, supported by the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. It is offered once every year in the winter term. The event gives instructors the opportunity to observe classroom practices across faculties and disciplines, and to engage in conversations about teaching with their colleagues.  Each term, a handful (10 – 15) instructors open their classroom doors to allow their colleagues to observe their approaches to different classroom settings, teaching practices, technology applications and learning experiences. The week wraps up with a themed conversation that serves as a debrief for both instructors and observers.

Participants are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to observe teaching across disciplines and to choose classes based on class size/type, instructional approach, or a particular teaching challenge. Some of the teaching approaches and technologies that can be observed during Open Classroom Week include: teaching in large classrooms, flipped learning, inquiry-based learning, case studies, personal response systems (clickers, TopHat, Kahoot, etc.), practice-based application and small group work, among others.

Open Classroom Week 2017 

This year, 18 instructors from Science, Kinesiology, Arts, the Werklund School of Education, Social Work and the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning will open the doors of their classrooms to observers. 70 classes are open for observation, and approximately 350 observations spots are available. 
Dates: March 6 to 17, 2017

Benefits of Open Classroom Week

Open Classroom Week has been useful in several ways: (a) it raises the profile of teaching on the U of C campus, (b) it “normalizes” the desire to see other people teach, (c) it raises awareness of common teaching issues and challenges, (d) it starts an open dialogue about teaching at the U of C, and (e) it helps individual teachers to challenge assumptions and explore new practices (the assessment data supports these claims). Robin Mueller (Taylor Institute faculty member) and Meadow Schroeder (Teaching Academy member) are evaluating the effectiveness and impact of Open Classroom Week by way of a small research project. The results of this project will inform further development of the Open Classroom Week initiative.

Robin Mueller 
Educational Development Consultant, Taylor Insitute for Teaching and Learning 

More information 
Mueller, R. (2015). Open Classroom Week: Demystifying the process and practice of teaching. TI Connections by The Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, University of Calgary. 

Miltenberg, J. (2015). Instructors invited to observe their colleagues teach. UToday, University of Calgary. 

Miltenberg, J. (2015) University instructors open their classrooms to observers. UToday, University of Calgary.