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SCOTs Program Available to All Faculty

October 29, 2012

Writer: Devan Barker

If RateMyProfessor and end of semester course evaluations sometimes seem less than helpful in providing usable insight for polishing your instruction, you need to know about the SCOTs program.  Student Consult on Teaching (SCOT) is a pilot program at BYU-Idaho designed to give instructors useful and actionable data about their instruction during the course of the semester.  

The following three-minute video shows some BYU-Idaho faculty talking about their experience with the SCOT program.

Students who have been specially trained use multiple methods to do one of two things.  They attend and observe a classroom session, collecting data on the classroom experience from a student's perspective, or they facilitate focus groups and interviews to elicit data from the students registered in the course.  These students are not professionals sent to critique or evaluate the instruction; rather, they simply collect data and observations from the unique vantage point of the students' experience.

Among the many methods that SCOTs use to support faculty, the following are some of the most popular:

IN-CLASS DATA COLLECTION:

  • Recorder/Observer - the SCOT sits in on a class and takes notes on the process.  They then provide a written report summarizing things like how much time was spent on each activity, who participated, who didn't, what kinds of questions were asked, and the ebb and flow of student engagement.
  • Faux Student - The SCOT takes notes as if he/she were a student in the class along with a running commentary on how well they understand what they're annotating.  They then give these notes to the faculty.
  • Filmmaker - The SCOT unobtrusively films the class and burns the video to a DVD for review.  The SCOT makes themselves available to review the video with you, the instructor, or you may simply review it yourself.

STUDENT FOCUS GROUPS:

  • Interviewer - The SCOT uses the last 15 minutes of a class period to interview your students about their learning and their perceptions of the course.  They then provide a written summary of their findings.
  • Focus Group - The SCOT organizes a group of your students for an in-depth, out-of-class focus group.  They then generate a written report of their findings.  A meal is provided to the participating students.
  • Student Feedback Teams - The SCOT helps organize four students from your class into a feedback team that meet weekly with each other and bi-monthly with the instructor for the entire semester.  This group provides feedback directly from the students about what is working best for them to promote learning. Refreshments are provided each week for the participating students.

The greatest benefit of this program is that it is tailored to each individual instructor. To explore the program further or to request a SCOT, simply click on this link or contact Devan Barker at barkerde@byui.edu.