Student Consultants on Teaching (SCOTs)

Through the Student Consultants on Teaching (SCOTs) program, student volunteers work with AE3 staff to enhance the teaching and learning environment across the college. There are four main activities that SCOTs can be involved with over their time in the program. SCOTs who complete one or more of these activities over the course of an academic year will receive a certificate declaring them a “Student Consultant on Teaching” for that year.

These SCOT activities are done with training and assistance from AE3 staff. An AE3 staff member will accompany a SCOT on classroom observations and group interviews. The SCOT and AE3 staff member compile the data into a report and discuss the results with the instructor.

SCOT Activities

Focus Groups

AE3 will normally conduct two or three SCOT focus groups each year in an effort to gather feedback from students about a special topic related to teaching and learning. Typically we provide lunch and ask a series of targeted questions on the topic at hand. This is a great way for students to share information in a relaxed and low-stress environment. AE3 then works on implementing changes based on the feedback received.

Classroom Observations

The SCOT and AE3 staff member meet with the professor prior to class for guidance on what to focus on for the observation. For example: How often do certain kinds of students respond? Why aren’t the students getting involved in discussions? Are the students asking questions among themselves? What hinders their learning? Is the instructor helping students make connections between the current course materials and related concepts? The SCOT and AE3 staff member write a summary report and discuss the results with the instructor during the post-observation debriefing. (If desired, a video of the class can be made during the observation time).

Research Assistants

SCOTs may be able to assist faculty or AE3 staff with collecting and analyzing data about courses and student learning. This fits with the campus emphasis on the “scholarship of teaching and learning.” We also try to involve the SCOTs in College grant programs (GATE and SIIP) where they may be part of the proposal review committees and also assist in collection of targeted instructional feedback.

Class Group Interviews

The instructor leaves the classroom for the last 15-20 minutes of class while the SCOT interviews students to assess how well they are learning and how they perceive the class. The SCOT asks the students to respond verbally and in writing to these questions:

    • What helps your learning in this class?
    • What hinders your learning in this class?
    • What suggestions do you have to improve this class?

For more information about the SCOT program, please contact Chris Migotsky at migotsky@illinois.edu.