Student Observation of Teaching: changing learning and teaching at the University

Student Observation of Teaching is an opportunity for students to collaborate with academics to develop their teaching. The student observer acts as a “critical friend” to the academic, offering feedback on their practice, and a fresh perspective on how they work with students.

How does the scheme work?

This might involve observing some of the academic's teaching yourself; leading a focus group of students; talking with them about questions, challenges, or ideas they have in their teaching; or a combination of all of these. Full training and support will be given, and if you are an undergraduate, the involvement will count towards your HEAR.

Students have consistently said they enjoyed it, found it interesting, felt it developed their relationship with academic staff, and offered them benefits in terms of thinking about their own learning habits. And with this year being slightly different in terms of learning and teaching, opportunities for staff and student collaboration to make the learning experience as good as possible are particularly important.

How will this scheme help me?

Taking part in this scheme should help you reflect on your own learning, and consider how different forms of learning and teaching might help you get the best from your studies, particularly in these unusual times. This experience is useful for your CV, especially if you are thinking about teaching as a career, and (where relevant) will be included on your HEAR.

It should also benefit you if you’re pursuing accreditation with the Higher Education Academy, as well as shaping the University’s stand on what good teaching is and does. Obviously, all of this should also have benefits for other students across the University; and it makes a real difference to individual participants. A student who took part in a previous instance said, “I am happy to have achieved something and to act as a bridge between students and the academic department. This is one of the best experiences for me at The University of Sheffield.”

How can I get involved?

More information about the scheme is available in a briefing note, which sets out what is involved for participants. The scheme is running in both the autumn and spring semesters, and you can be involved with either or both depending on your availability. In each instance, there’s an initial training event, and ongoing workshops and support throughout the semester.

To apply, please fill in the Google form by midday on Monday 28 September. Successful applicants for the autumn semester will be confirmed by Friday 2 October.

More information about the Student Observation of Teaching scheme

In addition to this scheme, there are other ways to participate in the constructive dialogue between staff and students, called for in the Learning and Teaching at the University of Sheffield 2016-21.

Explore other ways to get involved