The Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning

Teaching Consultations

The Sheridan Center offers a variety of free, confidential consulting services for members of the Brown teaching community.

Teaching Observations

Looking for constructive feedback on your teaching? Interested in improving student learning? Request a free and confidential Teaching Observation. Teaching Observations provide the opportunity for collaborative discussion and cross-disciplinary feedback that can lead to reflective changes in your teaching.

A Teaching Observation is composed of three “touchpoints”: an initial consultation, a teaching observation, and a follow-up consultation.

A Sheridan staff member will contact you to arrange for a brief meeting to hear about how your class is going, your goals for the observation, and any questions you may have. They will also work with you to finalize details for the day of the observation.

A Sheridan staff member will come to observe your course. For long seminars, we may work with you to determine a portion of the class that would be best for us to observe. Please let your students know in advance that the class will be observed for your benefit, not for evaluating student performance. During the observation, the Sheridan staffer will observe and take notes on the things they observe.

You and your observer will arrange a meeting to discuss their observations and your ideas for your class. They will also provide you with a brief written summary of the observation. This summary goes only to you, although you are welcome to share it as you like.

Faculty members may request teaching observations, consultations, and early student feedback with Sheridan staff by emailing at least two weeks prior to the date you would like to be observed.

Course Consultations

Designing a new course or revising an existing course? Interested in getting feedback on a particular aspect of your course or considering new teaching strategies and methods? Then request a free and confidential Course Consultation, which gives you an opportunity to meet one-on-one with a Sheridan Center staff member to discuss designing, implementing or revising courses.

A Course Consultation can help you brainstorm new approaches to teaching your subject matter, consider the coherence of your course, and apply principles of course design and evaluation. Course Consultations may address a wide range of issues. You might wish to discuss:

  • developing learning goals for a course
  • developing methods for assessing student learning
  • preparing a syllabus
  • building in opportunities for student feedback
  • increasing student participation or improving class discussion
  • integrating innovative teaching strategies

To learn more or to request a course consultation, please contact the Sheridan Center.

Grant Consultations

In support of the efforts of the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR), the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) and the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations, and in collaboration with the Broader Impacts group, the Sheridan Center provides pedagogical expertise and feedback for the educational components of grant proposals.

The Sheridan Center staff is available to (1) review grant proposals for postsecondary educational grants and/or (2) develop evaluation plans to assess the effectiveness of proposed innovations. However, due to limited capacity, we are unable to conduct the evaluation. Please contact if you would like us to put you in touch with other evaluation resources.

The Center has expertise in:

  • creating postdoc mentoring plans
  • developing evaluation plans for postsecondary educational grants
  • developing broader impact sections pertaining to teaching and learning at Brown
  • planning teaching and curricular innovations

After consultation, the Center may be cited in the grant as part of ongoing pedagogical support offered by Brown.

For further information or to request a grant consultation, please contact the Sheridan Center.

Early Student Feedback

This is a confidential process designed to give instructors actionable, learning-centered feedback from their students before the term ends. Brown instructor comments on early student feedback include:

  • “I absolutely would recommend this service, and I will use it again for a different course.”
  • “This was very helpful since it provided an initial prioritization of what to consider and change first. With a new course I have found there is an almost overwhelming number of things I want to change - so having help defining where to start was great!”
  • "You all have really put work into designing a process that brings students and teachers into conversation. This is so important! And something a teacher cannot always do by herself. So, thank you!"

To request Early Student Feedback, please contact the Sheridan Center.

A Sheridan consultant will meet or talk by phone with you to hear more about how your class is going, key goals, and questions you have. We also talk through the process you would like us to use to gather feedback (if not the one below) and the date that you would like us to visit your class.

On the date of your choosing, the Sheridan consultant will sit in the back of your class to observe, primarily for context. (The exception would be if there is anything you want us to look for, since we are there.) In the last 20 minutes, you turn the class over to us. After a very positive framing, we prompt your students to provide feedback in the following ways:

  • Reflective Writing: We break the class up into small groups to write about key course strengths and suggestions for their learning. (This can be tailored to your own questions or to additionally prompt students to think about their own contributions to the learning environment.)
  • Large-Group Discussion: After 5-7 minutes, we convene a large-group discussion to list key strengths and suggestions. We try to get a sense of consensus and ask questions when something is unclear or not related to student learning. Key ideas are listed on the board to check our understanding with students.

Within a week’s timeframe after the visit, the Sheridan consultant will write up a brief report for you about the student feedback and class observation, and meet with you to discuss. The last part of this conversation involves strategizing with you about how to “close the loop,” e.g., thank students for their feedback, note 1-2 things you could address in response, or discuss what you can’t change (and why). The individual report goes just to you, although you are welcome to share as you like.

Digital Teaching and Learning Consultations

The Digital Learning & Design team is available to consult with faculty on learning technology tools (including but not limited to Canvas), course design and implementing educational media.  Some tools are supported by other Brown University support teams, so please review the following options:

If you have an urgent Canvas issue, Canvas provides Brown with 24/7 support via chat (choose from the Help menu in Canvas) or phone (833-761-6970). You might also find the answer to your question in our Canvas knowledgebase articles.

For Zoom technical support, instructors should refer to the Zoom & Technical Help section of our website or contact

For Course Reserves support, instructors review the Library's Reserves Website or contact reserves staff at for assistance with managing reserves materials.

For Slack technical support, instructors should refer to the OIT Slack Course Workspace Help Guides or contact OIT Support Center

If you have a question about Canvas (or one of our other Brown-supported course tools), course design, or implementing educational media, you can always email or sign up for a consultation below. (If you need Gradescope specific help, please use the Gradescope consult link below.)

Sign up for 1:1 consult Sign up for a Gradescope 1:1 consult Sign up for a Peerceptiv 1:1 consult