Welcome to the Open Classroom initiative

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

We are pleased to confirm that registration for Semester 1 of HEFi's Open Classroom is open for registration. Please read the information below regarding registering, which includes expectations of engagement for those taking part.

"Meeting other educators and having the opportunity to chat with them about their teaching. The observations were certainly useful, but these informal discussions around the observation itself were invaluable." (Anonymous, 2021)

The Open Classroom is an informal, low risk form of a peer observation initiative. 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.

Now we are all transitioning back to hybrid working and spending more time on campus, we are now re-introducing the option to observe face-to-face teaching as part of this academic year. Please note that it may not be possible to facilitate the observation of one particular mode of teaching, so we recommend you discuss any preferred modes you would like to observe within your groups.

To support those who want to be involved in reviewing online material, we also encourage you to give feedback to members of your group on this. Checking for consistency of Canvas pages after the release of the University Canvas Framework 2020/21 may be an example of this.

Registration and Semester Dates

Semester 1:

  • Register between 13 September 2021 and 27 September 2021
  • Observations to take place between 27 September 2021 and 13 December 2021

Register for Semester 1 here

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. 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. However, we do expect that you observe at least one colleague’s teaching practice.

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.

Looking Ahead

As part of the Birmingham Academic Career Framework (BACF), the Open Classroom will undergo a slight change for Semester 2 as the initiative becomes a mandatory element of the BACF. The initiative will continue to be an informal, safe space with the expectations for participating revolving around the observation of colleagues practice for developmental purposes.