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Medical Education
Center for Faculty Educators

Teaching Observation Program (TOP)

Are you a health professions educator who is curious about how others perceive your teaching? Would you like specific, constructive feedback from a peer, in areas you specify? Peer feedback is a valued way to improve teaching and learning at UCSF.

Background

The Teaching Observation Program (TOP) was established by the Academy of Medical Educators in 2005. While focused primarily on the School of Medicine, TOP strives to serve all UCSF faculty with teaching observations and peer feedback.

The philosophy of TOP is to focus on what an individual identifies as a need in their teaching.  TOP observers have been trained to do observations of large group, small group, clinical and surgical teaching, and to give structured peer feedback, in writing.  

How TOP Works

There are 5 steps in this participant-driven approach:

  • Initiate a request, via an online form, to participate in teaching observation and feedback. Receive the link to the TOP Portal.
  • Select from a list of observers on the TOP Portal. Make contact to arrange a pre-meeting to clarify needs and expectations, and schedule the observation.
  • Participate in the observation.
  • Receive written comments about your specified needs in a separately scheduled feedback session. Comments are completely confidential.
  • Request an optional confirmation letter - you can request a confirmation letter for your ADVANCE Educator's Portfolio or CV, with the option to send copies to your education leadership (e.g. department chair).

TOP Glossary

TOP Participant: The UCSF or UCSF-affiliated faculty member who requests an observation.

TOP Trained: A faculty member who has participated in an in-person or online workshop on peer observation and feedback provided by UCSF.

TOP Observer: A faculty member who is TOP trained and who has observed and provided feedback to a faculty member in an actual teaching situation and also has been observed and received feedback on their teaching.

TOP Advisor: A TOP Observer who has extensively practiced observation and feedback skills, and has been observed giving TOP feedback. These advisors, upon request, provide advice to TOP observers in preparation for observation and feedback.