TOP: Teaching Observation Program

TOP Online Module TOP Training Materials Course & Clerkship Signup


TOP is a voluntary peer mentorship program participated in by faculty of all levels and consists of observation of teaching followed by a feedback session. Established in 2005 and directed by the Faculty Development Working Group, TOP serves faculty across the School of Medicine, and working group members have given workshops on TOP to faculty and administrators of the School of Nursing, which piloted the program in the Masters Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN).

Please visit this page again for the date of the next workshop. Find information about the workshop at the link below:

The Teaching Observation Program: Introduction to Peer Assessment of Teaching


How TOP works:

A. Faculty are observed by mentors: Academy members (the mentors) who have been trained in observation and feedback techniques observe colleagues (the mentees) in teaching sessions, and give feedback afterward. These sessions can be requested by individual faculty members, course and clerkship directors, etc. In this mentee-driven process, the individual being observed may request feedback on the teaching session as a whole, or may ask their mentor to focus on specific aspects of their teaching, e.g.:

  • Using PowerPoint effectively
  • Engaging an audience
  • Emphasizing main points
  • Improving the pace and flow of a presentation

Letters of completion: Faculty who have been observed and received feedback will receive a letter documenting their participation in this faculty development activity. The Academy will send carbon copies to department chairs, division chiefs and others upon request. Due to the confidential nature of the feedback, the letter does not include any details.

Info on how to submit a TOP request for yourself or for your course or clerkship

B. Faculty observe Academy mentors: Any faculty member may request to observe an Academy member in a teaching session. The observation is followed by a debrief session. To request to observe a mentor, please review the membership list and contact Karen Brent with your request.

TOP Training Online Module

The Academy has developed an online method of training TOP Mentors and replaces the Academy's live orientation and training workshops, accessible via the CLE.

The module benefits both novices seeking to learn basic feedback skills as well as experienced mentors seeking to hone their skills or practice with a different teaching setting. The training module uses the principles of "blended learning," which combine the benefits of live interactions with the flexibility and efficiency of web-based technologies to provide an optimal learning experience.

While we recommend using the module in its entirety, feel free to adapt it to the needs of your department or division. The live interactions require TOP Module Coaches, who are familiar with the training module and experienced in providing peer feedback. We recommend using this module to first train a group of mentors who can serve as Module Coaches for future TOP Mentors.

The module includes:

To access the module in the CLE for UCSF Faculty:

Alternatively, scroll down to Search for Courses/Spaces on the left hand side of the screen and enter the title: UCSF Academy of Medical Educators TOP Mentor Training Module.

If you are non-UCSF faculty, you can still access our public versions: