The Student Consultants on Teaching (SCOT) program aligns with the Faculty Center’s mission to actively support excellence in teaching and learning. Consultants are carefully selected and trained to provide descriptive observation and work as a resource to faculty. The consultants all have an interest in supporting excellence in teaching and learning, and they receive training in pedagogy, observational techniques, and classroom data.
SCOTs provide a unique outlook on classroom dynamics because they have a student perspective but are not enrolled in the courses they observe. Student-conducted observations are not meant to be content focused, but instead provide faculty with feedback from highly motivated students who are dedicated to improving teaching and learning on campus.
What is a SCOT?
A Student Consultant on Teaching (SCOT) is a UCF undergraduate or graduate student who, when requested, can provide faculty with feedback about their classes in a variety of ways. Student consultants learn from Faculty Center staff members about how to provide objective information on classroom services. As a part of their training, SCOTs learn about pedagogy, observational techniques, and classroom data.
SCOTs can supplement peer observation or student perception of instruction by providing an objective student perspective through several different services. Each of these services can be customized to accommodate the needs of faculty.
- Recorder/Observer: SCOTs observe a class session and record the session in writing. SCOTs make several simultaneous observations, such as chronology of classroom activities, time spent on questions, lecture, small group discussion, etc. SCOTs will organize the data, provide some basic analysis, and give the record to the instructor.
- Primed Student: Similar to the recorder/observer, SCOTs observe and record a class session, but guided by specific needs of the instructor. For example, faculty may want to know the following: How many students are actively participating in discussions? How am I interacting with my students? How many students are taking notes? How are students using their technology?
- Faux Student: SCOTs sit in on classroom lectures and takes notes as if they were a student in the class. The notes are then turned in to the instructor so that they have a better sense of what concepts or ideas students perceive as important.
- Focus group: SCOTs facilitate a focus group with students during the last 15 minutes of class while the instructor is not present. SCOTs engage in a conversation with students using questions, which are suggested by the instructor, designed by the SCOT, and/or located in an established protocol. The aim of the discussion is to identify what the instructor does to help students learn, what hinders their learning, or SCOTs can ask about their overall thoughts of the course. This information is relayed to the instructor in a written report. The students’ identities are kept anonymous so that they are comfortable providing feedback.
- Combination: The instructor can request multiple services listed above or suggest another service that would better fit their needs.
How the Program Works
Step 1: Inquire or request. The process begins when the instructor submits an inquiry or request form to the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning. The form is then forwarded to the student consultant coordinator. The SCOT coordinator will either respond to the inquiry or assign a student consultant to the instructor. SCOTs are assigned based upon availability and discipline. SCOTs are not assigned to faculty in their discipline.
Step 2: Schedule initial meeting. Once a SCOT is assigned to the instructor, the SCOT will reach out to them via email or phone to schedule an initial meeting.
Step 3: Meet with your SCOT. During the initial meeting, the instructor and the SCOT discuss a plan of action. The success of the services provided is highly dependent upon this crucial step. In the initial meeting, the SCOT introduces themselves to the instructor, becomes acquainted with the course and the instructor’s needs, and reviews different options that are available for feedback.
Step 5: Receive feedback. After the student consultant has completed their assignment, they contact the SCOT coordinator to review their report. After review, the SCOT sends the written report to the instructor. The instructor has the option to meet with the SCOT face-to-face to discuss the report.
Step 6: Follow up. After the initial services are complete, the instructor can request more services from their SCOT or terminate the consultation process. At any time, an instructor can request a new SCOT or new services. If the instructor would like to contact their previous SCOT directly, they may do so.
Step 7: Evaluate your SCOT experience.
Upon completion of services, the instructor will be emailed an evaluation form. This information will be used to improve the program.
Meet Our SCOTs
Meet our graduate and undergraduate student consultants and learn why they became involved in the program.
Inquire about the program or request a SCOT. If you have more questions, please check out our FAQs.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I request a SCOT? You can request the services of a SCOT by submitting a request form. Once the form is submitted, it will be processed by the SCOT coordinator, who will assign you a student consultant. You will receive an email confirmation of your request. Once a SCOT has been assigned, they will contact you for the initial consultation within one business week.
- Will the SCOT provide an overall evaluation of how I facilitate my classroom? You are not being evaluated by the student consultant. SCOTs provide their services for your benefit. They seek to help you improve your course by providing feedback that is descriptive and objective, but not evaluative. It is important to understand that a SCOT functions to help faculty members gain a better understanding of what is going on in class from a student perspective. SCOTs describe classroom activities using various methods, but they do not judge or formulate opinions of what is correct or incorrect. They work with instructors to provide valuable and constructive feedback for course development.
- Can I request a SCOT from my discipline? The SCOT coordinator will not assign you a SCOT from your discipline. SCOTs are not from the same area of study as an instructor requesting their services. First, it is more difficult for a SCOT to observe a class in their field because it is easier to get distracted by the content during an observation. SCOTs are supposed to be focusing on observing multiple aspects of the class, not the course content. Second, we avoid putting our SCOTs in the potentially awkward position of observing a former or potential instructor. Although the observations are not evaluative, our SCOTs have great respect for their instructors, so we want to avoid a potentially uncomfortable situation for both parties. The SCOT program is interdisciplinary, and all SCOTs are trained to provide the same level of service with competence and excellence.
- Will any of the information that I provide to SCOTs be provided to anyone else? All services provided by SCOTs are confidential. The information that is provided during the consultation will remain among the faculty member, the student consultant, and SCOT coordinator. We respect the demands and privacy of all students and faculty members who participate in the consultation process and will not reveal any information that is not authorized to be released.
- What are the benefits of using a Student Consultant? Each consultant has experienced a wide variety of classroom structures and can provide a helpful perspective. They are trained to provide unbiased feedback about what they observe while carrying out their assignment. A SCOT can also be instrumental in receiving feedback because students tend to be more comfortable with their peers and may engage more freely in discussions about their courses.
- Can I have a SCOT observe my online class? We’ll be training SCOTs for online observations in Fall 2016! After their initial training, including a practice observation, we’ll be asking faculty members to volunteer for online observations to give our consultants more experience. If you’re interested in volunteering, please fill out the inquiry form. On the form, type “online” for meeting days and room number. In “additional comments,” indicate that you would like to volunteer for an online observation.
- Can instructors with large class sizes participate in all of the services? The SCOT program strives to accommodate all requests. We do not limit instructors with larger course sizes to any of our services. All services offered by the SCOT program are flexible and can be tailored to fit all environments and situations.