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Unit information: Engaging Higher Education Students in their Learning in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Engaging Higher Education Students in their Learning
Unit code AFACM0019
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Mrs. Poletto-Lawson
Open unit status Not open




School/department Arts Faculty Office
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit has been designed to engage participants in developing their academic practice, with a particular focus on the design of and critical reflection on teaching and supporting learning practice.

The unit aims to:

  1. Enable participants to develop a critical and systematic understanding of the scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education;
  2. Develop participants’ abilities to design inclusive, engaging and research-rich teaching in digital and face-to-face contexts;
  3. Enable participants to apply flexible and creative strategies in their teaching;
  4. Develop participants’ abilities to critically reflect upon and develop their academic practice, supporting them in demonstrating fulfilment of D1 of the UKPSF.

Intended learning outcomes

Successful completion of this unit will enable participants to:

  1. Critically engage with a range of current research into teaching, learning and assessment (PLO 4; UKPSF A1, A2, A3, K3, V3);
  2. Apply an evidence informed approach to developing inclusive, engaging and research-rich learning and teaching in digital and face-to-face contexts (PLO 1; UKPSF A1, A2, A4, K1, K2, K3, V1, V2, V3);
  3. Apply flexible and creative strategies and skills to engage students in their learning in your discipline (PLO 3; UKPSF A1, A2, K1, K2, K4);
  4. Critically reflect on how learning and development during the unit has enabled fulfilment of D1 of the UKSPF and identify areas for development (PLO 5; UKPSF A5, K5, V3, V4).

Teaching details

At the heart of the programme’s learning, teaching and assessment strategy is the aim of supporting participants in being effective, creative and reflective, evidence-based teachers and supporters of learning in Higher Education.

In order to do this the programme models a range of active, innovative and research-rich approaches to teaching in Higher Education. The teaching approach will:

  • be blended i.e. a mixture of online (live and asynchronous) and face-to-face sessions;
  • involve engaging participants in both current and contemporary research into teaching as well as undertaking research into teaching and their own practice themselves, modelling research-rich approaches that can be used in their own practice;
  • engage participants in a range of ways to support them in becoming critically reflective practitioners including:
    • introducing models of critical reflection to support them;
    • engaging participants in articulating their own approaches to teaching in the context of pedagogic literature;
    • involving participants in interdisciplinary peer support groups for participants to share practice and reflect on their practice and support each other;
    • ensure each participant has a Faculty-based disciplinary mentor to observe them teach and discuss and reflect on their developing practice;
  • draw on practical examples/disciplinary perspectives from across the University/disciplines;
  • include less formal interactions to support participants and provide space to nurture the community e.g. writing retreats, drop-ins.
  • engage participants in best practice in supporting their own students’ personal development, including a focus on personal tutoring and research supervision.

The programme will also provide a range of tutor and peer feedback opportunities including a draft assignment plan.

Assessment Details

Formative and summative assessment is focused on engaging you in undertaking/drawing on research relevant to your own teaching context, and critically reflecting upon, developing and innovating in your teaching practice. Assessment will involve:


Reflective portfolio:

a. 2 teaching observations. Pass/Fail and Must Pass. (LOs: 2, 3, 4)

b. Critical reflection (5000 words, 100%) drawing on: 

  • Desk-based research into your own teaching and disciplinary context which has the potential to enhance your own teaching and others’. (LOs: 1, 2)  
  • Your approach to teaching, including planning for further development. (LOs: 1, 2, 4)   

Reading and References

Biggs, J. B., Tang, C. S.-kum, & Society for Research into Higher Education. (2011). Teaching for quality learning at university (4th ed.). McGraw-Hill/Society for Research into Higher Education/Open University Press.

Brookfield, S. D. (2017). Becoming a critically reflective teacher (2nd ed.). Wiley.

Fry, H., Ketteridge, S. & Marshall, S. (Eds.) (2015). A Handbook for Teaching & Learning in Higher Education: Enhancing academic practice (4th ed.). Routledge.

Hockings, C. (2010). Inclusive learning and teaching in higher education: a synthesis of research. Advance HE.

hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to Transgress: Education as the practice of freedom. Routledge.

Race, P. (2020). The lecturer's toolkit: a practical guide to assessment, learning and teaching (5th ed.). Routledge.