Whistlecroft, Lisa (2000) Evaluating first-time lecturing: Where to start? When to stop? In: Evaluate & Improve: Investigating Lecturers' Teaching in the arts and humanities, 1999-10-09, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.
Course review and evaluation which, to have any meaning, must focus on teaching evaluation, are becoming a regular annual feature of academic life. At the same time, courses are becoming more modular, with a larger number of relatively isolated topics being slotted together to form a more or less coherent whole. How can a teacher of one of these topics evaluate her teaching, or her students' learning? How can a newcomer to university humanities lecturing start to assess her effectiveness and her contribution to the course (or even the degree scheme) as a whole? The author is an experienced evaluator of teaching resources with a career in computer-assisted teaching and learning support. She has recently completed her first lecture course on a non-technical, purely humanities topic. To add to the excitement, her topic was in a field not previously taught at her institution, and was part of a 'case-study' course comprising four, potentially unrelated, topics assessed only by examination. This paper describes the author's attempts to place her contribution to the course in a coherent framework, and presents details of her self-evaluation using both student feedback and examination evidence, cross-related with equivalent material from other topics in the course. The author considers the nature of prior experience which might be helpful to such a teaching-evaluation process, asks questions about the balance between inspiring students and imparting information, and draws conclusions on the benefits of informal as well as planned mentoring.
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