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Maine Physical Sciences Partnership

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Campus Initiatives - University Classroom Observation Program

The University Classroom Observation Program (UCOP) brings middle and high school teachers to the UMaine campus during the spring semester to observe instruction in university STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses.

Benefit to UMaine

Benefit to middle and high school teachers

This program offers a reciprocal exchange between the university and K-12 communities.  University graduate students and faculty are conducting research in middle and high school classrooms and UCOP offers teachers an opportunity to participate in research that benefits UMaine.

How does it work?

Observation Protocol

Teachers primarily use the Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM during their observations.  This protocol is used to document what the instructor and students are doing in two-minute increments throughout the classroom period.

The Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS): a New Instrument to Characterize University STEM Classroom Practices Michelle Smith, Francis Jones, Sarah Gilbert, and Carl Wieman, CBE-Life Sciences Education, Vol 12(4), pp. 618-627 (2013).

For more information also see this resource page about COPUS.

What will UMaine do with the observation data?

Comment from participating faculty member

“I feel I have a lot to gain from interacting more with K-12 teachers. In addition to their more intensive pedagogical training than my own, K-12 teachers are decades ahead of universities in implementing active learning styles.”  -Brian Olsen, Assistant Professor of Biology and Ecology


Image Description: Groupshot2

Image Description: Two teachers sitting side by side filling in a classroom observation protocol

Image Description: Picture of faculty member, Brian Olsen

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Contact Information

Maine Physical Sciences Partnership
5727 Estabrooke Hall
Orono, ME 04469-5727
Phone: 207.581.4672 | Fax: 207.581.9555E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
A Member of the University of Maine System