Teachers Observing Peers Program

The Teachers Observing Peers (TOP) program provides UNC Charlotte faculty members with an opportunity to observe peers representing a variety of disciplines implementing interactive methods in a live classroom setting and online courses that exemplify diverse types of online course design. Whether you are an instructor who has been using interactive methods for years or are trying to get ready to teach your first class, you are likely to benefit from the observation by getting new ideas for effective practice and reflecting on your own practice. 

Observe EXEMPLAR courses! Learn from TOP teachers!  

There are two ways that you can observe a course:

Observation Only

To access the course, click on the course title to self-enroll in a course and simply peruse the course at your convenience. You can observe as many courses as you wish!

Observation & Conversation

This option includes observing the course using guided observation prompts and a confidential post-observation debrief conversation with the TOP teacher. This option will count for credit toward the Essentials of Teaching and Learning Certificate. To discuss any of the courses below with the TOP teacher, please complete the Peer Observation & Conversation Request Form.

Available Classes

Kelly Powers, Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing

NURS 6212: Program Improvement and Evaluation (Online Asynchronous)

This course is required for all graduate students enrolled in the 100% online Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs. The course objectives include writing a grant proposal to fund a health program. As this is a challenging assignment for students, this course demonstrates how to break down a large assignment into manageable sections that build upon one another. A case study is used throughout the semester to provide students access to a healthcare clinic that is in need of health program evaluation, as well as revision and/or creation of a health program. This course also demonstrates helpful ideas for promoting ongoing group work; strategies to promote group collaboration and teamwork are infused in the course.

NURS 6302: Trends and Issues in Nursing Education (Online Asynchronous)

This course is required for graduate students enrolled in the 100% online Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) Nurse Educator program, as well as those enrolled in the Nurse Educator Certificate program. There are no required textbooks- an e-book provided by the UNCC library is used, and links to videos, articles, and websites are provided. Students engage in group work throughout the course and assignments focus on applying content to realistic scenarios in academic and clinical nursing education. The course assignments were designed to promote mastery of the material, as well as exposure to creating various products in preparation for their teaching practicum in nursing education.

NURS 6302 Course Introduction Video

Stella Kim, Assistant Professor in Educational Leadership

RSCH 6110/8110: Descriptive and Inferential Statistics (Online Asynchronous)

This is the introductory statistics course which all Ph.D. students in the Cato College of Education are required to take. In this course students learn about basic concepts and applications of statistics. The course is designed to offer students an opportunity to engage in semester-long group research projects while developing a conceptual and technical understanding of statistics individually.

RSCH 6110/8110 Course Introduction Video

Meredith Troutman-Jordan, Associate Professor in the School of Nursing

NURS 4420Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Practicum (Hybrid Asynchronous)

This is a clinical course with weekly practicum experiences at a facility that provides inpatient and outpatient psychiatric mental health care to adults. Students spend one 8 hour day per week in the clinical setting with me and have corresponding asynchronous content and activities that take approximately 1 hour per week. The course is focused on development of competencies necessary for the practice of psychiatric mental health nursing.  Emphasis is on the use of self in relationships, psychiatric nursing assessment, nursing interventions with clients and working as a member of the health care team.  Students are upper level nursing students in the first semester of their senior year.

NURS 4420 Course Introduction Video

NURS 6115: Health Policy (Online Asynchronous)

This is a core course required for all MSN students. It provides students an overview of the organization and financing of the healthcare delivery system in the United States. Students learn about and engage in analysis of healthcare policy, financing, political trends, ethical, and professional issues, including the theoretical underpinnings of health policy making, the empirical thrusts of policy analysis and research, and the relationship between health policy making and political process in the practice of nursing and healthcare.Students complete independent and group work in this asynchronous course. There are three optional virtual meetings via WebEx where they can drop in and connect with the instructor if desired.

Courtney Smith-Orr, PhD, Teaching Assistant Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering

ECGR 2103: Computer Utilization in C++ (Hybrid)

This is a freshman level entry intro to programming course. Students learn basic syntax and logic of the C++ programming language through a generally flipped class approach. The course uses an interactive e-book and has quite a bit of collaborative learning and a final group project. As an instructor I try to implement several active learning techniques into each class session to promote engagement and interactive practice. 

Dean Adams, Associate Professor in Theatre and Associate Dean of Performing Arts Services

COAA 3150: Musical Theatre History (Online Asynchronous)


This completely online course is an introduction to the history of musical theatre, which surveys the major shows in musical theater literature, through the study of plots, scores, characters, and songs of the shows. Students explore the genre’s place and function in theater history as both an art form and popular entertainment and its influence on culture in general. The course culminates in student presentations on a focused research question related to musical theatre

Cindy Gilson, Assistant Professor in Special Education and Child Development

SPED 6224: Adapting Curriculum Materials and Classroom Differentiation (Online Asynchronous)

This course is designed for graduate level students who are experienced classroom teachers seeking a North Carolina add-on license to teach Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) students or who are generally interested in deepening their knowledge about gifted pedagogy and the nature and needs of AIG learners. This self-paced, 15-week course is organized by topics in 7-day modules organized into tables rather than a list of links in the Canvas module view. The course is also differentiated for adult learners as a means to model best practices. Lastly, this course earned QM distinction in 2018.

Kaustavi Sarkar, Assistant Professor in Dance

LBST 1101: Arts & Society: Dance (Online Asynchronous)

This is a liberal studies course focusing on dance appreciation. It surveys various dance forms ranging from Cambodian Apsara dance to Hip-Hop. It introduces elements of dance studies that focus on skills such as choreographic analysis where students learn to describe and analyze movement. This skill allows them to decipher meaning-making in gesticulation. Students also experience dance in performance contexts and in community settings. This online asynchronous course uses multiple active learning methods such as annotated videos, worksheets, and weekly quizzes based on course materials.

Matthew Metzgar, Clinical Professor in Economics

ECON 3125: Managerial Economics (Online Synchronous)

This is a required junior-level course for all business majors.  The class focuses on using economic tools to improve managerial decision-making. The class analyzes economic decisions of particular interest to businesses, e.g., demand and estimation, cost analysis, and pricing policies.

Debra C. Smith, PhD, Associate Professor of Africana Studies & Affiliate Faculty of Communication Studies

AFRS 1100: Introduction to Africana Studies (Online Asynchronous)

This introductory Africana Studies course is designed to acquaint students with the history, culture, and contemporary status of Africans and peoples of African descent. The course will provide interdisciplinary exposure to the African continent including its history, people, social features, government, culture, and its contributions to our world. As we progress through the course, one primary objective is to denounce the stereotypes and distortions that have been associated with Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Amy Peters, Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Work

SOWK 2184: Writing for the Social Work Profession (Online Asynchronous)

This is a one-credit, half-term, asynchronous online course.  Low-stakes practice activities give undergraduate students the opportunity to explore the types of writing required in upper level social work courses and used by social workers in the field. Students develop their critical thinking skills, take some chances, and build their confidence through this beginner level course. 

Melanie Harris, Senior Lecturer in Biological Sciences

BIOL 2259: Fundamentals of Microbiology (Online Asynchronous)

Fundamentals of Microbiology is a course taught for non-Biology majors. Students taking this course may have varying backgrounds and prerequisite knowledge of biology. The majority of them are pre-nursing students or those intending to pursue some type of professional health program after UNCC. While this is an online asynchronous course, my goal is to get students engaging with the material and me through reflection quizzes or surveys and engaging with each other through small group discussions or other tools such as Padlet and FlipGrid. I also use a variety of techniques with the intention of addressing belonging and mindset in a STEM course.

Hilary Dack, Assistant Professor in Middle, Secondary, and K-12 Education

MDSK 3151: Instructional Design with Technology Integration (Hybrid Synchronous)

This course addresses the process of planning for instruction.  Topics include accessing standards, writing rigorous and clear objectives, developing high cognitive demand learning activities, developing assessments that reveal student learning, and integrating technology into lessons.  Students will also learn how to effectively implement the high-leverage teaching practices of eliciting student thinking, leading whole-class discussion, and managing small group work. 

Peer Observation & Conversation Request Form

Key Understandings and Principles of TOP

Classroom observations undertaken as part of the Teachers Observing Peers Program are entirely voluntary and for professional development purposes only. The observation of a class and debriefing session you choose to participate in has no connection to the peer observation processes required by Colleges for the Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion (RPT) of faculty.

Observe with an open mind. Most of the TOP Teachers have been using interactive methods for several years in ways that work for them.  You may leave a class observation with very different ideas about how you would use and implement a particular activity or technique in your own course.  During the debriefing session, there will be the opportunity to discuss and reflect on if and how you might implement both general principles and specific strategies observed into your own practice.

Go with an observation form. We suggest you print out at least one of the peer observation forms designed to facilitate and guide your data collection during the observation. You can use them to take notes and prepare comments and questions for the debriefing session. 

Class Observation - Student Engagement Map Double Entry Narrative Form
Student Engagement Map Observation Form Double Entry Narrative Observation Form Time Based Peer Observation Form
Image of Double Entry Narrative Observation Form (Online) Image of Guided Observation Form (Online)
Double Entry Narrative Observation Form (Online) Guided Observation Form (Online)

Plan for the debriefing session. When you select a date and time to observe a specific faculty member’s classroom, you also need to plan to stay for the debriefing session that follows the class.  The opportunity to discuss with colleagues about the teaching and learning observed during the session is critical to the potential professional growth of the experience.

TOP Procedures

If you are interested in participating in TOP, follow the procedures below:

  1. Review the list of Available Classes to identify a course/instructor that you are interested in observing.
  2. Select a class/debriefing session that you're interested in and click on the Peer Observation Request Form link.
  3. Enter your NinerNET username and click Start.
  4. Select your department from the dropdown menu.
  5. Select the instructor and course you would like to observe.
  6. Add in any additional information you may have, then click Request Observation.
  7. On the day of the classroom observation, show up early and bring an observation form for use during the class session.
  8. Engage in the debriefing session following the class by asking clarifying questions and sharing reflective thoughts and comments on the class session when appropriate.  The debriefing session will be facilitated by the TOP Teacher and will be conducted in a climate appropriate to a community of learners.
  9. At the end of the semester, you may be requested to provide feedback about your experience.

Due to high request volume, you may be obliged to share an observation time with other observers.