Teaching Consultations

Mid-Course Review (MCR)

In a Mid-Course Review, Graduate Instructors receive an assessment of their students’ learning in their course. During the review, a Teaching Consultant from the Center elicits feedback from the students regarding how they think their learning in the course is progressing. The Consultant conducts this conversation during the last 15-20 minutes of the class while you are out of the room, encouraging students to be as specific as possible. Because the students actively discuss their ideas, the process tends to focus student comments on high priority issues and helps to distinguish these ideas from outlier, or low consensus, comments. Afterward, you and the Consultant meet to share in the students’ feedback and discuss ways to address any issues that arise, allowing you to make changes before the course ends.

Individual Teaching Consultation (ITC)

Individual Teaching Consultations provide Graduate Instructors a structure and process for assessing their own pedagogical development. Before the ITC, you submit a plan for a single period of classroom instruction, outlining the goals of the course, and your goals for the ITC. Then, two Teaching Consultants observe your class. Afterward, you watch a DVD of the course alone, providing an ideal opportunity for you to analyze your teaching and begin your own assessment of the class. Finally, you meet with the Consultants to discuss the observations and provide concrete suggestions for teaching strategies. The ITC helps you think more self-consciously and with greater clarity about your own teaching. An ITC also enables you to speak more articulately about your teaching, and the ITC Observation Report serves an important role in your Teaching Portfolio, showing your competency in and commitment to continuing your progress as an instructor.

Both ITCs and MCRs are completely confidential and conducted by Teaching Consultants outside of your discipline.

Because we receive a large number of requests each quarter, we ask that you sign up for your ITC or MCR by the Friday of the third week of the quarter to guarantee your request can be filled.


When should you sign up for an MCR and ITC?

Mid-Course Review: If you are teaching your own course, we suggest signing up for the MCR early in the quarter, when there is still an opportunity to make changes in the course. The Center can provide MCR services for as many courses as you might lead during your graduate study. If you will only be teaching one course during your graduate career, we encourage you to sign up for the ITC, since you will receive more detailed feedback. You are welcome to sign up for both an ITC and MCR, as the processes focus on different aspects of teaching.

Individual Teaching Consultation: You should sign up for an ITC when:

  1. you are teaching your first stand-alone course, assuming you have not had an ITC before
  2. you are leading a regular discussion/lab/problem set (i.e., weekly) session and the Lead Instructor is not present during these sessions.
  3. If you are the Teaching Assistant and leading a specified portion of the sessions for the course and you are unlikely to have a stand-alone course or lead a regular section in the future.

The Center has found that it makes less sense to have an ITC when:

  • you are an intern, as the faculty are explicitly mentoring you; or
  • you are leading writing sections or serving as a writing intern, as you should be receiving guidance from the faculty member you are assisting; or
  • you are TAing and only teaching a small portion of the course. As part of the ITC, the Center evaluates the course goals, section goals and learning methods for the course, for which you are not responsible in this case.

The Center strongly encourages that you receive one ITC during your graduate career, but we cannot guarantee a second ITC.

The CTl will open the ITC/MCR request system during the first week of the quarter. Please check back and sign up then. We will announce the opening of ITC registration via our listserv, so sign up at: https://lists.uchicago.edu/web/info/teaching, if you are not already on that list.