Incorporating engineering specificity in the UTeach Observation Protocol
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The UTeach Observation Protocol (UTOP) is designed to capture what occurs in a classroom. The UTOP was developed for use in the nationally recognized UTeach program (uteach.utexas.edu) and has been validated nationally in the Gates Foundation Measures of Effective Teaching. (http://www.metproject.org/downloads/Preliminary_Findings-Research_Paper.pdf) Currently the UTOP has been used in both science and math classrooms and is being developed for use in English language arts and social studies classrooms as well. This report serves to begin the modification of the UTOP for use in an engineering classroom to evaluate engineering specific content. The UTOP has been described as a lens for reflection on teaching practices and the goal of this report is to help focus that lens more clearly on the engineering classroom. This tool was created for utilization in both educator and administrator roles. Teachers can use the UTOP to self-assess their own teaching practices as well as in observing other teachers and identify classroom best practices. Administrators and other classroom visitors can use the UTOP to understand and evaluate what occurs in a classroom for a multitude of outcomes. The methodology chosen in this report to create the engineering specific examples used real lessons that have been implemented in engineering classrooms and vetted in actual practice. Using both initial lessons from the teachers and their feedback along with language taken from the Next Generation Science Standard Framework and the UTeachEngineering Engineering Design Protocol, the examples were developed to show how to score each indicator on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest score, in a secondary engineering classroom. The next steps recommended for this work are to pilot the examples created in this report and test the usefulness of the examples created. This can be accomplished by field-testing it in UTOP training with teachers and modifying the information based on the feedback that they provide. The work described in this paper was made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation (Award DUE-0831811).