Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)

Module EDUC59560: Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

Department: Education

EDUC59560: Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Not available in 2020/21
Tied to X9K814


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To support higher education professionals in developing a wide range of knowledge, skills, values and behaviours which underpin high quality teaching and the support of student learning.
  • To offer structured professional development opportunities to individuals who teach and support learning in higher education.
  • To develop the ability to reflect critically on teaching.
  • To develop higher education professionals who are committed to continuous development and lifelong learning relevant to learning and teaching in higher education.
  • To provide opportunities for professional recognition against institutional, national and international benchmarks.


  • Areas of activity, core knowledge and professional values as outlined in the UK Professional Standards Framework of teaching and supporting learning in higher education (UKPSF);
  • Key theories, principles and concepts in learning and teaching in higher education, e.g. approaches to learning (deep-surface), constructive alignment, threshold concepts, assessment for learning, research informed teaching;
  • Contemporary practices and approaches to learning and teaching in higher education including, for example, inclusive practice, widening participation and the internationalisation of learning and teaching; technology enhanced learning and digital skills, assessment and feedback;
  • Reflective practice and the role of reflection for developing as a higher education professional;
  • The process of practitioner enquiry and pedagogic research as a means to evaluate and enhance practice.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Demonstrate a broad range of knowledge and values relevant to learning and teaching in higher education;
  • Demonstrate in-depth understanding and critical awareness of selected concepts, principles; current practices and new insights relevant to learning and teaching in their own disciplines and contexts, informed by research at the current limits of understanding;
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Demonstrate a wide range of skills and behaviours relevant to learning, teaching and assessment,
  • Effectively design learning opportunities, teach, support and assess student learning;
  • Critically examine learning and teaching from a range of perspectives, with a particular emphasis on students’ perspectives;
  • Conceptualise, analyse and critique learning and teaching informed by relevant scholarship;
Key Skills:
  • Critically reflect on their own practice to support effectiveness, enhancement, innovation and problem-solving;
  • Effectively carry out practitioner enquiry / pedagogic research in their own disciplines and contexts.

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

  • Interactive workshops, delivered as longer 1-2 day blocks as well as shorter sessions of 1-2 hours or half days;
  • Reflective activities involving collaborative problem solving, observation (face-to-face and/or using video footage), peer review and professional conversations about academic practice, both 1-1 and in small supportive groups;
  • Incremental compilation and review of a reflective journal in which selected aspects of participants’ practice are critically reviewed;
  • A discipline specific pedagogic research/practitioner enquiry based project involving interviews with students;
  • Work-based activities as required by their specific roles and responsibilities;
  • Structured meetings with a mentor and relevant colleagues, 1-1 or in small groups;
  • E-portfolios will be used to document and collate work while the course progresses. The following work will be submitted for summative assessment: a recording of a classroom based teaching session, e.g. lecture, seminar, tutorial, practical, which reflects typical teaching duties; a reflective journal with an annex of relevant evidence which includes the pedagogic research/practitioner enquiry based project.
  • The written submission will be complemented by participation in a professional conversation, i.e. a structured reflective discussion with a senior academic similar to a viva, either 1-1 or in a small group, conducted face-to-face or through video conferencing, which will be video or audio recorded.
  • All components of the assessment are aligned with Descriptor 2 of the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) for teaching and supporting learning in higher education.
  • Work will not be graded; judgements are pass-fail.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshop 7 1 hr - 2 days 47
Observation and reflection on practice/professional conversation 4 2-3.5 hrs 12
Mentor meeting 8 every 10 weeks 1-2 hrs 12
Writing retreat./compilation of written submission 2 7.5 hrs 15
1-1 tutorial/drop-in 3 15-60 mins 1
Work based learning 400
Self study 113
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Classroom-based teaching session (recorded) 1 hr 25% Yes
Professional conversation (recorded) 1 hr 25% Yes
Written submission: reflective journal and annex with evidence 7,500 words 50% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment opportunities include formal pieces of work which need to be completed in order to progress, e.g. a critical review of individuals’ teaching practice presented to other course participants and an outline proposal for their enquiry-based project, for which formal tutor and peer comments will be provided, as well as many informal development opportunities to discuss work and gain feedback in a dialogic manner, e.g. in small group or 1-1 reflection on teaching sessions and mentoring meetings, aimed at supporting participants in improving their academic practice. There will be several opportunities to post reflective comments (e.g. in a discussion board or blog) and to read and comment on other participants’ posts. These posts will provide the basis of reflective texts and professional conversations, constructed incrementally and enhanced by peer review and eventually contribute to the summatively assessed work. Participants will be encouraged to develop autonomy in seeking feedback from multiple sources and developing their ability to self-assess as well as reviewing the work of their peers. Exemplars of past participants’ work will be used extensively to develop current participants’ notions of quality and evaluative judgement.

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