Consultations

CATL faculty consultants are available for confidential consultations upon request of a faculty member. All consultations about teaching and individual courses are formative, voluntary, developmental, and not part of the formal faculty evaluation process. During Fall 2020, due to office size limitations for physical distancing, the default format for consultations will be virtual or by phone, and we will work with you to find the best option to meet your needs.

CATL’s consultation services are designed to help all Elon faculty be systematic and reflective in assessing teaching and learning. During a consultation, a CATL faculty consultant will offer collegial support informed by research on learning and teaching. We will not tell you how to teach, but we will ask questions and explore possibilities so that you can meet your teaching and learning goals.

Consultations may take place during a single discussion or in regular, ongoing meetings for a more complex project. We offer consultations to individuals and groups (programs or departments) for a variety of teaching and learning questions or projects.

Discover more about types of consultations below, or schedule a consulting appointment by contacting the CATL Program Coordinator — (336) 278-5106 or catl@elon.edu.

Consultation formats


Consultation topics range, but might focus on such common topics as (re-)designing a current or future course or assignment, making sense of student perceptions of teaching and learning, or experimenting with a new pedagogical technique or inclusive teaching strategies. Consultants can also talk with you about measuring student learning or developing a SoTL project related to teaching and learning.

In short, consultations will be tailored to meet the goals of individuals, using one or a combination of approaches, each of which provides a different set of data for you to use to analyze your teaching and your students’ learning:

Conversation

Topics for consultations will vary: a conversation might focus on strategies for a particular class, teaching technique, technology, or question about student learning — or it might be a discussion of options for gathering data from your students, making sense of SPOTs, or even designing a scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) research project to investigate some aspect of student learning.

Midterm student focus group

We also provide a structured way to gather midterm feedback from students. Research on this technique, called a Small Group Instructional Diagnosis (SGID), demonstrates that these focus groups typically lead to more student learning and greater student satisfaction. It involves setting aside 20-30 minutes of class time to allow a consultant to gather written feedback and to talk with students after you step out of the room. During a follow-up consultation, the consultant will analyze the feedback with you, discussing how you might respond to the range of student comments generated by the focus groups.

  • Given the unusual circumstances for teaching and learning this semester, we are collecting mid-semester, formative feedback from students in a different format than usual: Instead of an in-class focus group, a CATL consultant will work with you to collect and analyze responses to anonymous student feedback surveys. Please fill out this form by the end of business day on Friday, October 2nd, 2020 to assist us in assigning a consultant to work with you and your class. In special circumstances, we may be able to adapt the format to meet your teaching context this fall.
  • PLEASE NOTE: CATL is able to accommodate one (1) course request per faculty member each semester. As in other semesters, we will honor as many requests as we are able to, and notify faculty when we’ve reached maximum capacity.
  • If your course does not follow the undergraduate calendar and you’d like to arrange a focus group or midterm student survey for a particular day and time, fill out this Focus Group Interest Form.

Classroom observation

Another way to gather data about your teaching is to invite a CATL faculty consultant into the classroom to observe. CATL in-class observations are formative (non-evaluative). During one, the observer attends a portion of your class and takes detailed notes about the specific pedagogical choices you make and the effects those choices are having, by identifying patterns, observing student-to-student and faculty-to-student interactions, and documenting the time and duration of various class activities.

Classroom observations will continue in Fall 2020, with some modifications; a CATL consultant will work with you to determine how best to adapt the observation to the course or activity you would like feedback on. Before the observation, the consultant will gather information from you about the class context, your goals for the observation, and any additional information to help make the observation useful. After the visit, the consultant will discuss with you what was observed; together, you can develop strategies for further experimentation and refinement, and identify areas for ongoing reflection. A teaching observation works particularly well if you already have engaged in some analysis of your own teaching, but would like another perspective.

To keep in mind


  • Any materials generated in the course of observations and consultations are considered the property of the individual instructor.
  • We do not report on or share materials generated in a consultation, observation, focus group, or other confidential services with anyone except for the instructor who requested it. This means:
    • Individuals who wish to include reports or feedback generated from one of these services in annual reports, tenure and/or promotion packets, or the like, may use the copy provided to them.
    • We do not report or share any details with anyone else (including a department chair or dean), this includes whether or not the person sought services in the first place.
  • Departments, programs, colleges, or schools who engage CATL staff for group consultations can ask that the content of the session be confidential.

If you are seeking ways to describe your work with CATL, here are a few suggestions for documenting your involvement with CATL.

Schedule an appointment


To schedule a consulting appointment contact the CATL Program Coordinator at (336) 278-5106 or email catl@elon.edu.

To request a mid-semester focus group and consultation, fill out the request form, by Friday, October 2nd. (We will take requests until then, unless we reach scheduling capacity before that date.)

Note: if you have a specific question about Moodle or instructional technology, our colleagues in Teaching and Learning Technologies (TLT) can provide just-in-time, useful information about various tools and apps. To schedule an appointment, contact TLT at (336) 278-5006 or email tlt@elon.edu. Teaching and Learning Technologies also welcomes drop-in questions in Belk Library room 115 on weekdays between 8am and 5pm.