Welcome to TDOP

The Teaching Dimensions Observation Protocol (TDOP) is a customizable observation protocol can be used to produce robust and nuanced depictions of the dynamics that unfold among teachers, students, and technologies in the classroom. Based on theories of learning as an activity distributed among different actors and artifacts, the TDOP has been extensively field-tested and is being used by over 300 researchers, program evaluators, and professional developers to create detailed descriptions of what happens inside classrooms.

What can you use the TDOP for?

The data produced with the TDOP can be used for a variety of purposes including:

  • To document the types of teaching practices being used in your department or organization, especially those known as “active learning” techniques
  • To support professional development by providing an objective source of formative feedback for peer mentoring or self-evaluation
  • To evaluate the effects of instructional interventions by conducting pre- and post-observations of instruction, and
  • To carefully specify the different teaching practices that distinguish between control and experimental conditions in research studies

Why use the TDOP?

While many educators teach in similar ways, upon closer inspection there is considerable variation in how classroom dynamics unfold in different classrooms. With the TDOP it is possible to document these nuances of teaching at a much more fine-grained level than is possible with other observation protocols. Besides being a rigorously field-tested and research-based tool, the TDOP represents a methodological advance in the field by:

  • Capturing variations in how classroom dynamics evolve in real-time rather than requiring observers to assign summary scores
  • Capturing multiple dimensions of teaching rather than just one or two: teacher behaviors, instructional technology use, cognitive engagement, pedagogical strategies, and student-teacher interactions
  • Avoiding coarsely grained descriptors of teaching such as “lecturing” or “active-learning” by documenting more finely-grained variables
  • Providing an online experience that includes automated inter-rater reliability tests, data storage and management, and data reporting and visualizations
  • Being a customizable tool so that you can tailor the protocol to meet the needs of your own institution or research goals

How to start using the TDOP

First take a look at the user guide and get acquainted with the protocol itself. The TDOP is available to use free of charge. Sign up as an administrator to create your own groups and individual studies.

The TDOP was largely adapted from Osthoff, E., Clune, W., Ferrare, J., Kretchmar, K., & White, P. (2009). Implementing immersion: Design, professional development, classroom enactment and learning effects of an extended science inquiry unit in an urban district. Madison: University of Wisconsin–Madison, Wisconsin Center for Educational Research.