Part 9: Spring 2019 Labs

168 Self-Assessing Your Classroom – 03.29.2019

Improving the classroom environment often requires seeing things from a different perspective. At the March 29, 2019 Active Teaching Lab, eight participants explored how technology can help us capture classroom dynamics for self-reflection and observation. Attendees explored how to decide when, where, and on what to focus for the most payoff and swapped their own experiences with self-assessment. 


  • Determine specific goals for the self-assessment beforehand and why — how will student learning benefit from the insight gained?
  • Acknowledge that your first try at recording a class may not capture what you’re after. Allow multiple trials before the particular class session to be analyzed to identify ideal tech setup for your space and goal.
  • Be familiar with FERPA guidelines before taking on a classroom recording project. A video is considered an “education record” if it is 1) directly related to the student and 2) maintained by an educational institution. A video focused on instructional practice is not an education record. If that video captures a presentation of a particular student or group, however, consent would need to be granted by those student(s) to publicly share it. Contact the Office of the Registrar with questions about FERPA compliance.
  • Consider possible ways to inform students of classroom recording (brief statement before class, note in syllabus, detailed explanation the week before, etc.) and select approaches that keep them informed while maintaining a natural classroom environment. If you record every class — even if you don’t review them all — the camera becomes part of the norm.
  • Enlist the students! Modeling that you need reflection and review to get better shows that you care. You may be surprised at the effect this alone has on their engagement and learning — and on the constructive feedback you get from them!  

For more information on self-assessment for teaching, visit the session’s activity sheet.


The Active Teaching Lab is a Faculty Engagement program with sessions held on Thursdays from 1:00-2:00pm and Fridays from 8:30-9:45am in the Middleton Building (1305 Linden Dr.), room 120. Check out upcoming Labs or read the recaps from past Labs. We build interdisciplinary conversations that are more emergent than a presenter and more dynamic than a panel — a conversation with colleagues sharing challenges, solutions, and experiments on topics selected by a variety of stakeholders.

Sign up for regular Lab announcements by sending an email to


Active Teaching Lab eJournal Copyright © 2016 by DoIT Academic Technology and the UW-Madison Teaching Academy; Jennifer Hornbaker; John Martin; Julie Johnson; Karin Spader; Margaret Merrill; Margaret Murphy; and Jeffrey Thomas. All Rights Reserved.

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