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Teaching Tip: Taking an Inventory of Your OM Teaching Practices

November 23, 2014

teaching2Here’s a great resource I discovered in Faculty Focus (Nov. 19, 2014): the Teaching Practices Inventory. It’s an inventory that lists and scores the extent to which research-based teaching practices are being used. The inventory takes about 10 minutes to complete and is designed for use by individual faculty. It is a self-report inventory, with the power to promote a comprehensive review of and reflection on your personal teaching practices. Inventory items are organized into 8 categories: 1) course information provided to students; 2) supporting materials provided to students; 3) in-class features and activities; 4) assignments; 5) feedback and testing; 6) other (such as pre-post testing); 7) training and guidance of TAs; and 8) collaboration or sharing in teaching.

Of course, the insights provided by the inventory are a function of the truthfulness with which it’s completed, but if you’re using it on your own, there is no reason to be less than candid. The inventory comes with a scoring rubric that gives points for practices to improve student learning. It would be best to first take the inventory (a clean copy is available here), score it using the rubric in Appendix 1 of the original research article, and then read the article, which explains and justifies the point values. The article also contains the scoring results from 179 inventories, which offer something against which individual scores can be benchmarked. Although the practices are listed individually on the inventory, many are related and mutually reinforcing. If some of the practices are not being used, they can be implemented incrementally.

How strongly can I suggest that you take this inventory? At the very least, spend time looking at it. The data it provides is such a contrast to the judgmental, summary feedback provided by end-of-course student ratings. The inventory is predictive only in the sense that it identifies practices that research has shown help students learn—and who among us wouldn’t want to use those kinds of practices?

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