Open Classroom initiative

Welcome to the Open Classroom initiative.

Suitable for: academic and professional service staff at the University of Birmingham who teach.

'My favourite part was…“Seeing - and enjoying! - a new discipline and a different teaching style, with different tools and different preoccupations'. (Anonymous, 2020)

As a result of the circumstances created by COVID-19, we are pleased to confirm the Open Classroom 2020/21 will still be running, but slightly differently than its previous format. This year the Open Classroom will be focusing solely on online teaching, and will offer those who register the chance to collaborate with peers who are presented with similar challenges around the design and delivery of bimodal programmes. 

Taking part in the Open Classroom will provide participants a safe space to develop and enhance their teaching practice. If you choose to take part in the initiative you will be able to observe, or have observed a particular element of online teaching practice that you would like to learn about or showcase. We are also aware that colleagues at the university are using online platforms and Canvas and creating new resources to facilitate online learning. To support those who want to be involved in reviewing this kind of material, we also encourage those who wish to communicate this to members of your group. Checking for consistency of Canvas pages after the release of the University Canvas Framework 2020/21 may be an example of this.

Unlike traditional peer observation schemes there will be no form filling or reporting back to other staff, although you will be asked to give feedback on the initiative via an online survey. Please note that the Open Classroom is not a replacement of current University guidelines on peer observation within Schools and Departments, but acts as a complementary initiative to current practice of this kind.

Expectations of those taking part

Those registering will be placed into groups of 3 and where possible, we will match colleagues based on the type of teaching that you would like to observe/showcase e.g. synchronous/asynchronous. It is expected that those who opt to both observe and be observed do so at least once during the term. This is not a requirement for those who opt to observe only.

How to Register

We are pleased to confirm that registration for Term 2 of the academic year 2020/21 is open and will close on Monday 1st February.

Click here to access the registration form.

Key dates for registration 

There will be two registration dates for the Open Classroom 2020/21. Please register in the appropriate window based on your teaching commitments for the academic year. You are welcome to register in both of these windows should you choose to. 

Term 2 – Observations from 1st February 2021 until Friday 2nd July 2021

Open of Registration – Monday 11th January 2021. Close of Registration –Monday 1st February 2021.