Classroom Observations using the COPUS Protocol
Goal: Would you like to gather information on what you and students are doing during a class period? The goal of the Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS) is to assist instructors with their own reflective teaching by providing them with this non-evaluative information. COPUS is an observation protocol that focuses on active learning practices and was designed for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines.
A COPUS observation is most helpful to instructors that employ a variety of pedagogical methods; that is, if lecture is taking place during the entire class period, COPUS data will not be that useful. Instructors voluntarily request observations using COPUS for their own reflective teaching practices. The COPUS classroom observation is not intended to be used for evaluation, and COPUS Consultants who conduct an observation should not be member of the instructor's personnel committee or Chair.
Requesting a COPUS Observation: Any instructor may request a COPUS observation for their own course. A COPUS is most effective when the instructor is willing to use the observation data coupled with reflection and self-assessment to improve their teaching.
Process: After a COPUS is requested, CETL assigns a trained FACT Consultant from a different department to observe one of the instructor's classes on a mutually agreed upon date. A post-observation meeting between the instructor and Consultant is held to discuss the information from the implementing observation protocol.
COPUS Consultants: COPUS Consultants are trained to implement the COPUS protocol and provide a service by collecting confidential information on the instructional practices used in their classes.
Resources for COPUS Observations
- COPUS protocol http://www.cwsei.ubc.ca/resources/COPUS.htm
- Felder, R. M. & Brent, R. (2009). Active Learning: An Introduction. ASQ Higher Education Brief. Retrieved from http://macwmys.org/Upload/active-learning-an-introduction-felder.pdf
- Freeman, S. et al. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences, 111(23), 8410-8415. doi:10.1073/pnas.1319030111. Download the presentation slides and the meta-analysis paper.
To schedule a COPUS observation for your class, please complete the brief Request Form below.