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Palomar College Learning For Success

Online Course Observation Procedure

This page explains what should happen before, during, and after a class observation for an online course. FIND ONLINE COURSE EVALUATION FORM HERE.

Responsibilities of the Evaluator and Evaluee prior to the Class Observation:

    1. The evaluator will contact the evaluee as early as possible during the semester to determine a mutually agreeable method for conducting the online observation. Methods for observing an online course include: 

      (1A) participating as an observer in the evaluee’s Canvas course [the observation period should be limited to two weeks] or

      (1B) arranging a time to review the distance education platform together where the evaluee will guide the evaluator through the online course.

      In either case, the evaluator will review the course syllabus, assessment methods and/or tools (e.g. exam, rubric), online course observation form, (optional but helpful OEI rubrics), and other pertinent course materials either before or during the class observation period. The evaluator will also need a Course Outline of Record for the class; it can be found on the Curricunet website.

  1. Previously, evaluators requested Canvas access via ADAs or the Instruction Office. Now, the evaluees themselves are the ones who grant the observer access to the Canvas shell and then revoke that access when Option (A) is chosen. This is done using the evaluator’s full Palomar email address (e.g.,–this is an example; do not add me to your Canvas). This happens in the “People” tab of the evaluee’s canvas course, and ATRC helpfully has created a video for how to do that [link]. An evaluator should communicate with the evaluee about when the two-week observation window will begin (within or near the evaluation window of October for full-term courses or during the middle-point of the term for shorter term (FT1, FT2, etc.) courses). Then, the evaluee must give the evaluator the role of OBSERVER (and only OBSERVER) and then revoke the role after the two week observation period.
  2. The evaluee will give notice to online students that another faculty member will view the discussion board and/or online class participation if the evaluee believes this is appropriate.
  3. Prior to the online course evaluation, the evaluee may send a list of some course features that the evaluee would like the evaluator to assess during the online observation. Examples might include:  Are the deadlines and student responsibilities clearly stated? Do the instructions for projects and assignments foster collaboration and discussion?

The Major Focus of the Online Observation:

Answer each of the following questions regarding the online class observation. FIND ONLINE COURSE EVALUATION FORM HERE.

  1. In what ways has the instructor prepared students for this online course and ensured that students have information about Palomar services?
  2. Describe how the instructor has organized the course, giving particular attention to the information provided in the course syllabus and to statements about course objectives. Regarding technical skills, in what ways has the instructor developed an online course that is easy to navigate and use?
  3. Describe the clarity of course content. In what ways is the content challenging or thought-provoking? Is content consistent with the Course Outline of Record? How does the instructor demonstrate knowledge and currency in his/her discipline? (You will find the Course Outline of Record on the Curriculum website).
  4. Describe the ways in which the instructor communicates with students, motivates them, encourages discussion, and promotes student interactions with each other.
  5. Describe the clarity of the instructor’s course expectations, grading policy, method of assessments and feedback.
  6. What is noteworthy about this class and why? Other comments?

Actions After the Online Observation is Completed:

The evaluator will meet with the evaluee at a mutually agreeable time after the evaluation report is completed to review the results of the student evaluations, the online observation, and the Evaluation Report.

Observation and Student Evaluation Period for Full-Term Courses: Mid-March through End of April

Observation and Student Evaluation Period for Short-Term Courses: Middle of Course Term

Observation and Student Evaluation Period for Counseling/Library Sessions: Weeks 4-14 of the semester

Probationary Faculty Spring Meetings (Year 2 and 3 Faculty Only): End of Semester

Spring 2021 Probationary Spring Meeting Confirmation due to Tenure and Evaluations Office: End of Semester Before Leaving for Summer

Link to full calendars