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Why evaluate teaching – and how does that work with TAP?

For students to learn successfully, teaching must be appropriately designed. Likewise, students should take responsibility for their own learning process. This means that students themselves are very good at judging how teaching should be designed for them. For this reason, there are regular evaluations at the TH Cologne that make the quality of teaching visible and promote it. The Teaching Analysis Poll (TAP) is a possible tool for course evaluation. A TAP allows students to understand: We value your feedback and learn from your experiences.

In a nutshell: How does TAP support your teaching?

TAP allows for an exchange on current learning conditions in a course. Students reflect on their learning and provide feedback. With the feedback gathered by the evaluators, you can identify problems and improve your teaching.

Background: Where does the Teaching Analysis Poll come from?

The Teaching Analysis Poll was developed at U.S. universities around the year 2000 and has since spread to European universities. It is recognized as an evaluation tool at the TH Cologne. The teaching strategy and the evaluation regulations set the requirement to continuously improve the quality of teaching at the TH. With the “Shift from Teaching to Learning“, students should take more responsibility for their own learning process as well as that of their fellow students. As a teacher, you take on an accompanying role. This change in perspective means a transformation of course evaluation. The students’ learning success is now the focus.

In questionnaire-based course evaluations, students reflect on their learning process using a layered description of the learning objectives. This ranges from the acquisition of specialist knowledge to the complex analysis and evaluation of scientific facts. TAP, on the other hand, relies on extensive dialogue. The students reflect in small groups, evaluate the mentioned aspects in a plenary discussion, and hand their results to the evaluators. They, in turn, report the results to the teachers. Finally, you, as the teacher, discuss the results with the students, and the circle closes.

Video: Teaching Analysis Poll (German) by The Center for University and Academic Teaching (ZHW) at the University of Regensburg, YouTube.

Step by step to TAP

  • In order to be able to offer several TAPs in the middle of the lecture period, a TAP period of two weeks is set. The dean’s offices will be informed of the dates.
  • The dean’s offices share this information with faculty and set faculty-relevant priorities as needed.
  • Interested teachers request a TAP via this form and provide the following information:
    • Name of teacher
    • Are you newly appointed?
    • Faculty
    • Name of the course, module, and the students’ semester of study
    • Course format: classroom, hybrid, digital
    • Expected number of participants
    • Date & time of the course
    • Location & room number
    • Is a projector available?
    • Suggested dates for debriefing (same day if possible)
    • Is there a special reason for TAP? (e.g., innovation, special changes, …)
    • Notes on special features of the course that could be useful for TAP implementation (e.g., special concept/format, particularly important elements, etc.)
    • E-mail address
  • For lecturers in degree programs with blocked courses, appointments can be made outside the TAP period. Ideally, the TAP should be carried out after 60% of the lecture period.
  • TAPs are particularly recommended for newly appointed lectureres and innovations or major changes in teaching. Please register a TAP outside of this period using this form.
  • Two evaluators, a member of the Center for Academic Development (ZLE) and a member of the Quality Management Department, will be present at the agreed course date. They organize the last half hour of the session.
  • The evaluators explain the TAP process to the students and have them discuss the three set questions in small groups:
    • By what do you learn the most in this course?
    • What makes learning difficult for you?
    • What suggestions do you have for improving these obstructive aspects?
  • The results are collected in small groups and discussed in plenary with all students.
  • A vote is taken on the statements: How many students agree with the statement? How many reject it?
  • The Leukipp tool from the University of Applied Sciences Münster is used for collection and coordination.
  • The results of the TAP are anonymously summarized by the evaluators on a TAP sheet and, if possible, discussed between the evaluators and the teacher on the same day.
  • This discussion includes documenting possible questions and procedures to be reviewed with students in the follow-up.
  • In the following session, teachers discuss the results, interpretations, and options for action with the students.
  • Students are also asked to rate the extent to which they found the TAP useful.


As an alternative to standardized questionnaire-based course evaluations, a Teaching Analysis Poll (TAP) can be used as an open format of course evaluation. In this case, a member of the Center for Academic Development (ZLE) and a member of the Quality Management Department 4 interview the students about their learning success while the teacher(s) is/ are absent.

Evaluation regulations of the TH Cologne as of 16.05.2018, §9, sentence 4

Important notes

The results of a Teaching Analysis Poll are confidential! They are given exclusively to the teachers. The respective dean’s office is only informed that a course evaluation has taken place via TAP.

Header-Image: © Celt Studio/

  • Dr. Klara Groß-Elixmann

    Dr. Klara Groß-Elixmann is a research assistant at the Center for Academic Development at TH Köln. She coordinates TAPs at TH Köln in collaboration with the University Department for Quality Management. She also designs the "Barrier-free teaching" project and organizes the university didactic training programme.

We appreciate your feedback!

When developing this offer, we tried to include you as a teacher in advance. We would therefore be delighted if you would help us to further improve our offer. Please let us know what you would like, what bothers you or what you particularly like. Would you like to contact us directly? Then write to us at!