Working with Observe
Overview of Observe features Observation outputs and reports
Customising the observation framework Comparison features and reports
Observation, recording observation detail and issues arising

The Observation Framework

Observe includes a number of templates which are typical for organisations in specific sectors that maintain observation programmes. It is also designed so that any organisation can customise the Observe observation framework to dovetail with their existing manual, or semi electronic, system.

This customised observation framework can be based on either a list of observation indicators each with grade criteria or a limited number of observation indicators, possibly without grade criteria.

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An appropriate start to customising your observation program to the Observe software is to gather together all the details of your existing framework, which will probably include observation performance indicators, grading criteria for the indicators, rules for overall grading by observers and headings for the general issues that you seek to achieve through observation.

Then view the templates to see if any template reflects your observation framework. If so this template can be customised. Alternatively you can create a new template to reflect your existing observation framework.

To view the templates open the Observe program, click Skip at the initial splash screen, then Next at the Quick Tutorials screen. At the QuickStart screen click the Open a Template File button, highlight the template files you wish to study and click Open.

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The Grading screen shows the observation performance indicators for 3 perspectives where the default setting is Learning, Teaching and Achievement. Click the perspective radio button to change perspective.

There is space for 10 observation indicators for each perspective. Each will usually have grading criteria. The criteria can be viewed by clicking the Grading Criteria button against the observation indicator. The criteria can be customised. The 4 grade headings, which have the default settings Outstanding, Good, Satisfactory and Unaccceptable can also be customised.

Towards the bottom right hand corner of the Grading screen there is a Grading Rules button, which when clicked shows some default rules for assessing overall grades. These can be customised.

Towards the bottom of the screen there is space to make notes under three headings for the perspective. These headings, which by default are 'Issues arising to improve, Training needs and Strengths/ Good practice to share' can be customised. There are two additional text boxes for notes on the Events screen.

Viewing the templates will identify whether a template should be modified, or a new template file created, to create the Observe template for your existing observation framework.

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To create the observation template for your organisation:
  1. select the template you are going to modify, or click File>New, or Open a New file on the QuickStart screen;
  2. accept the default perspectives or change by clicking Options of the main menu bar and then entering your perspectives;
  3. modify/ enter your performance indicators. Click Move on the Grading screen next to the performance indicator to delete it or move its position;
  4. accept the default text for the 4 grades or change by clicking Options of the main menu bar and then entering your perspective headings;
  5. modify/ enter the criteria for each performance indicator by clicking the Grading Criteria button for each performance indicator and entering the appropriate text for each grade;
  6. click the Grading Rules button on the Grading screen and accept or enter your changes to the grading rules
  7. accept the default headings for the 3 text boxes for notes on the Grading screen or change by clicking Options of the main menu bar and then entering your perspective notes headings;
  8. accept the default headings on the Event screen - Health and Safety/ Resource Issues and Equality and Diversity Issues - or change by clicking Options of the main menu bar and then entering your event notes headings;

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You can also customise the drop-down lists on the Events screen to reflect the type of events subject to your staff observations.

The drop-down lists are defined in the OrgData.seq file that is located at C:\Program Files\Observe 2.2\Observe. Each drop-down list is identified by a number in brackets, e.g. Learner type is (4).

To customise the drop-down lists click the Edit drop down lists button on the Events screen or by clicking Options of the main menu bar and clicking a similar button. This will bring a 'Notepad' listing to screen which can then be edited as appropriate.

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Observe has a feature to record training needs arising from observation.

Every organisation will have a different portfolio of training modules relative to lesson management. To help the user Observe has a default list of training modules under Learning and Teaching headings.

This list of training modules can be customised for the organisation template by clicking Options on the menu bar and then Modify training modules

This will show a screen where all the default training madules are listed. These can then be customised to reflect the actual training modules offered by the organisation.

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When you have compiled the observation template for your organisation save it by going to File>Save_as_Template.

You will save your template as a .ado file. You might wish to save it as a password protected, read only file to ensure that those using the template to create new files for individual observations resave the template file correctly.

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When you have compiled the observation template for your organisation you need to establish the framework to manage obsercations for all relevant staff in the organisation. In large organisations this may be several hundred staff. The staff observation files for larger organisations are best managed by department.

The Observe software creates observation files for staff and saves each file in a department folder. This can be done on an individual basis or, automatically, by importing staff data from a CSV file.

Ensure that you observation template file is open before using this feature as this is the file that will be saved. Then access the staff observation file featureby clicking File>Create Staff Observation Files.

Either enter the staff details and click Add or click Import for guidance on how to import staff details using a CSV file.

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