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Observation of Teaching (OoT)

Welcome to the Observation of Teaching (OoT) pages of the Quality and Enhancement Office website.  This area includes information relating to Observation of Teaching generally, and more specifically, the implementation of the University's Observation of Teaching Policy.  It includes links to key information and external resources and videos.

All academic staff, other than hourly paid, involved in teaching are expected to engage in the University's Observation of Teaching Policy.  However, anyone involved in teaching at the University is encouraged to engage in observation of teaching.  We hope the information on these pages will help you think about your reflective practice going forward.

Watch Sam Grogan's (PVC Student Experience) introduction to the University's Observation of Teaching Policy.

Observation of Teaching - Sam Grogan from Chris on Vimeo.

Observation of Teaching provides an opportunity for those supporting learning, teaching and assessment to reflect on, and in practice, to become reflective practitioners.  Also, Observation of Teaching can foster discussion and sharing of practice.

We "should engage teachers in talking about teaching, creating a functioning 'community of practice' that shares values and approaches" (Gibbs, 2012)

Information about the OoT Policy and related processes

The Observation of Teaching Policy provides a clear, developmental path through which we can take pride in the innovative and high quality teaching demonstrated throughout the University. It’s also a way in which the academic community can continually improve, champion and recognise good practice in its most significant asset: its staff. The Policy provides a safe environment for teaching staff to observe different teaching methods in practice and to share their own teaching practice with colleagues with the aim of placing consideration of the student experience at the heart of our endeavours.

OoT applies to all academics, other than hourly paid lecturers (unless included at their School’s request), teaching on programmes leading to credit or qualification of the University. “Teaching” includes all activity with students that contributes to module learning outcomes and so staff whose only teaching activity is supervising dissertations and/or projects are included in OoT.

A Code of Practice has been developed to support staff through the before, during and after stages of the OoT process.

A flow chart has been developed to guide staff through the stages of the process.

Observation of Teaching is organised so that staff observe and are observed by colleagues from within their own School (but not necessarily their own discipline). You have been allocated a random group with 6 or 7 members; each group member should observe once and be observed once in a non-reciprocal manner. For example, in a group with 6 members (A, B, C, D, E, F) A observes B, B observes C, C observes D, and so on in a chain. Observations do not have to take place in any particular chronological order so, for instance, it may be more convenient for C to observe D before C is observed by B. For ease of reference, each group member has a letter next to their name. This is a provisional suggestion of who could observe whom; feel free to change this amongst the group if this is not suitable. Group members are responsible for contacting each other to make mutually convenient arrangements regarding the teaching observation slot.

Staff will be informed of their OoT groups in early October.  If you need a reminder of your group, please contact the Quality and Enhancement Office via and a member of the team will email the details. Alternatively, give Lynn Clarke a call on ext 55670.

Further information can be found by viewing the Observation of Teaching staff development presentation. See also General Resources below.

Under the Policy, the period for observations runs from Monday 17 October 2016 (trimester 1, week 4) until Friday 11 August 2017 (trimester 3, week 10) .

A survey has been created to record observation dates. No details are required about the observations other than the dates they took place. Dates can be entered together or separately. To enter dates on separate occasions simply complete the survey twice.

An optional template has been provided for use as an additional resource. The template facilitates the stages before, during and after observations. If you decide to use the template the contents should remain confidential between you and the person you are observing and should not be submitted anywhere.

Aside from entering observation dates into the survey, there is no requirement to complete any other documentation. 

If the optional template is used there is no requirement to submit this.  

If you have a question that hasn't been addressed on these pages, take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions. If you can't find the answer you are looking for then please get in touch via

General resources

The Higher Education Academy (HEA) supports and guides both institutions and individuals in engaging with the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) and in gaining HEA fellowship accreditation. Observation of teaching has many benefits for teaching practitioners including providing an opportunity to reflect in and on practice. The three dimensions of the UKPSF are: Areas of Activity, Core Knowledge, and Professional Values. Each of these dimensions has an associated set of statements which reflect the complexity and multi-faceted nature of the professional role of those teaching and supporting learning, and which you are encouraged to use to facilitate your reflections in the area of teaching and learning. If you are interested in becoming a Fellow of the HEA you may find it helpful to consider how the observation of teaching relates to the UK PSF and so support your application. Further information can be found at HEA UKPSF.

Reflective practice

What's happening in the UK Higher Education sector with regards to Observation of Teaching?

The following videos are taken from the 'Food for thought' series. More resources are available via the pgcapsalford You Tube channel.

Ms Shirley Bennett (University of Nottingham)

Ms Aileen Morris (University of Lincoln)

Prof Brenda Smith (Higher Education Academy)

Dr Simon Lygo-Baker (University of Surrey)

Craig (School of Arts & Media)

Carena (School of Health Sciences)

Neil (School of Computing,
Science & Engineering)

Jon (School of Health Sciences)

Sarah (School of Nursing, Midwifery
Social Work & Social Sciences)