Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2018-2019 (archived)

Module EDUC40320: Learning and teaching in higher education

Department: Education

EDUC40320: Learning and teaching in higher education

Type Open Level 4 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2018/19 Module Cap


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The aims and content of the module are designed to meet the learning outcomes, which are underpinned by the UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and supporting learning in higher education (K PSF).
  • Specifically, this module aims to:
  • Provide an overview of learning and teaching practice and theory in higher education, within the particular context of the subject-disciplines and Durham University;
  • Establish in participants a culture of enquiry-based reflection on, and evaluation of, their own teaching practice;
  • Develop familiarity with, where appropriate, learning technologies.


  • This module asks participants to consider fundamental aspects of learning and teaching associated with their role as practitioners in higher education. Participants will be asked to conceptualise how they see their role as a university teacher, and reflect on the implications of how this conceptualisation impacts on their personal practice. Participants will be introduced to some of the generic issues that they face as university teachers in their day to day activity, for example, curriculum design (introducing the notion of ‘constructive alignment’), the range of teaching scenarios (for example, large group teaching and how to encourage active learning), transforming assessment and feedback and, particularly pertinent to the Durham context, the development of research-led learning and teaching. The principles, that the module aspires to put forward, are those that ask participants to consider how best to support students to adopt a ‘deep’ approach to learning and their development as independent learners. The use/role that e-learning has to play in the development of the above is also explored. Having being introduced to these initial ideas, participants are then encouraged to take these learning and teaching concepts/strategies and interpret them in their personal disciplinary context. (See below for further details).

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • At the end of the module students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of the design and planning of learning activities and/or programmes of study in education;
Subject-specific Skills:
  • At the end of the module students will be able to demonstrate a reflexive and innovative approach to learning and teaching in higher education with an ability to engage in:
  • 1. Teaching and/or supporting student learning;
  • 2. Assessment and giving feedback to learners;
  • 3. Developing effective environments and student support and guidance.
Key Skills:
  • At the end of the module students will be able to reflect on personal practice.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • An initial intensive contact period (2 days) will establish an overall framework for understanding and participating in learning and teaching in higher education. This initial period will be primarily workshop based, and will therefore draw upon the existing experience and perceptions of the participants. This will include input from both relevant staff with expertise internal to the University (e.g. the Learning Technology Team) and external.
  • Each participant will prepare a 10 minute presentation discussed during a formative assessment event (held approximately six to eight weeks after the initial contact period).
  • The module will also incorporate short sessions and virtual opportunitesopportunities for collaborative reflection on teaching, peer observation and peer review of drafts of the final report.
  • Drawing on peer discussion at the above event, written formative feedback from module tutors and from further independent reading, participants will submit a 3,000 word report for summative assessment, in which they reflect on, and evaluate aspects of their teaching practice, with an explicit mapping document that reflects the first four of the UK PSF Areas of Activity, thereby satisfying the learning outcomes of the module.
  • Overall, while the course team will provide key input to provide a framework of understanding, the emphasis is on experiential and peer learning on the real issues that course members are facing in their everyday disciplinary practice.
  • The workload NOT covered within teaching practice or other normal duties of probationary staff, while varying from discipline to discipline, should be in the region of 15-25 hours.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 3 days 21
Work-based learning 119
Private study 60
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Summative Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 3,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Each participant will prepare a 10 minute presentation for a formative event.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University