Which observation protocols are available online?

posted January 22, 2019 and revised January 23, 2020
by Cassandra Paul and Adrian Madsen

In this post we explain which observation protocols are available as online tools, and how to access them.

Faculty in physics departments often observe each other’s teaching and give each other feedback to improve teaching. Using an observation protocol for these observations can help faculty articulate the goals of these observations and focus on particular aspects of the classroom. There are several observation protocols that are available in an online format, where the users enters data into the protocol tool in real-time during the observation, and the results and analysis are automatically generated.

Several observation protocols are available on the General Observation and Reflection Platform (GORP). GORP is a secure web-based platform that allows users to customize existing observation protocols, (and create their own protocols), in order to simplify data collection and sharing. GORP also automatically creates charts for analysis. LOPUS, SPOT and COPUS observation protocols are available on the GORP online system. Due to GORP platform constraints, SPOT is listed as an “institution” rather than a protocol on GORP. GORP users who want to use SPOT need to create a separate account where SPOT is selected as the user’s institution.  The version of COPUS available on GORP is different than the original version, where the GORP version of COPUS records observations in real-time, whereas the original version of COPUS records observations in two-minute segments. Users should be aware of this difference if they plan to compare their GORP COPUS results to other COPUS data.

The COPUS developers have also created an online tool, COPUS Profiles, where users can upload their existing COPUS data in a spreadsheet format and create several different visual representations of these data.

You can also use the RIOT online. Visit the RIOT developers website, and login with a Google account. There you can create an observing session and download your data in either spreadsheet format for data manipulation, or view autogenerated charts for analysis.

Additionally, the TDOP is available for online use through the TDOP developer’s website. In addition to creating charts for analysis, their program allows users to create different studies and aggregate results from many different observations together.