Register for a SCOT

The SCOT (Students Collaborating On Teaching) program places trained student observers into the classroom.

These students take notes on the course actions and activities, generate a report, and provide that report to the faculty. All reports and observations are kept entirely confidential, and the results belong to the faculty member. No one but the faculty member and the CSTL can access the report.

The purpose of this program is to provide faculty with a student-level perspective of their teaching.

Most faculty haven’t taken an undergraduate-level course in several years, and they design their teaching of undergraduate courses based on their own experiences as students. This disconnect can sometimes lead to misunderstandings of how their teaching comes across to modern students.

SCOTs are trained to provide honest, practical, and clinical feedback. Using eight criteria, SCOTs observe and report on the classroom experience. These students are available to collaborate with the faculty member, as they provide targeted observations and specific recommendations if necessary.

Teaching is exceptionally difficult. The role of a SCOT is to provide insight, to highlight the practices working best, to confirm the instructor’s suspicions about their own teaching practice, and to help instructors construct or fill in their own roadmap to becoming the instructor they want to become. Sometimes the gains will be small and sometimes they will be great. SCOTs become part of an instructor’s journey.

Currently faculty may choose to work with SCOTs on the following options:

  1. Note-taking
    • The SCOT takes notes in the class.
    • Those notes are given to the instructor.
  2. Observation
    • The SCOT sits through the entire class session.
    • General observations and impressions of events during the class are recorded.
    • Observations are compiled in a report for the instructor.
    • Either the SCOTs or an instructional designer will then review the observations with the instructor.
  3. Targeted Observation
    • The instructor provides specific aspects of their teaching for a SCOT to observe.
    • The SCOT observes the class.
    • The SCOT compiles a report for the instructor on the requested aspects of the class.

The process requires few steps.

First, complete and submit the form to request a SCOT. Which can be found by clicking this link Please provide a range of possible observation times and any preparation the observers may need to make sense of the class they’re observing. We don’t want the observation to occur on a test day. Also provide any specific elements for the SCOT to observe.

Two SCOTs will be assigned. This is to establish interrater reliability.

The assigned SCOTs will appear unannounced in one of the class meetings in the range of dates listed in the request. They will sit in the class as regular students. They can be ignored. They can be treated as regular participants. They will be prepared for either.

Each takes their own notes. After the session, those notes are compiled for the instructor. These observations largely involve recording in writing what happens during the class (e.g., chronology of classroom activities; time spent in questioning, board work, small group discussion; and so on). SCOTs are trained to describe rather evaluate. The objective is to provide a record of significant and impactful moments in a given class.

The SCOTs will write a report that includes their observation notes, specific points on teaching components, and a summary. That report will be emailed to the instructor. The instructor may also request a meeting with the SCOTs to discuss the results further and ask follow-up questions and recommendations.

Once complete, the results belong to the instructor. These reports and observations are treated as confidential and are not shared with anyone other than the instructor.

How to build upon and use the results of these reports can be discussed with an instructional designer.

For more information, contact the CSTL at (573) 651-2298 or at