Most instructors I know don’t get too excited about the opportunity to have their teaching observed by someone else. However, when the right tool is used, observations can be significantly less nerve-wracking. Instead of providing subjective comments (i.e. “I liked…” or “I didn’t like…”), the Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate Science (COPUS) simply requires that every 2-minute interval of your class be checked for 13 student behaviors (i.e. listening, working in groups, asking a question, etc.) and 12 instructor behaviors (i.e. lecturing, posing questions, working 1-on-1 with students, etc.). This means there are no determinations of right or wrong, good or bad, just what happened in the classroom for you to reflect on.
While the COPUS has been demonstrated to be useful in both educational research and instructional improvement settings, there is often a barrier associated with wrangling the raw data into something that is usable for instructors. I invite you to test out a beta-version of the COPUS Analyzer, an interactive, online program that does the data wrangling for you and produces easy to interpret visuals and analytics. This app was developed alongside a study we published in Science.
Here are some of the things that you can do in the COPUS Analyzer:
- View heat maps to visualize what you and your students are doing throughout your class
- Compare several classes to notice trends when teaching certain topics:
- Compare your style of instruction with a national, evidence-based classification of instructional styles
- Generate pdf reports of multiple classes that can be used as evidence of teaching excellence in promotion and tenure packages or for convenient self-reflection
- Customize above features to include only the data you want
- Convert 2-minute by 2-minute data into summary for the whole class exportable to an excel sheet
- Train COPUS coders with ease by highlighting time blocks where coders disagreed in assignments of COPUS codes:
- Calculate inter-reliability of the coding
- Many other features!