Teaching and course design in higher education

Introduction and contents

The materials listed below are presented on the following pages of this unit in pdf format.

  • Course guide 2005

  • Assessment guide 2005

  • Pack 1: Teachers learning and their professional development. All the chapters in this Pack focus the participant’s work and own learning as a teacher. For example, you will find:

    • survival tips to help you manage the conflicting demands of academic or professional life;

    • theoretical and research-based analysis that asks about some basic assumptions of teaching and learning;

    • challenging ideas and activities to help you consider equal opportunities issues in all aspects of your work;

    • different ways to think about and record reflection;

    • structures and ideas for planning your own development and assessing your effectiveness as a teacher;

    • suggestions for trying new ideas and testing their value in your teaching or learner support situation.

    • Chapter 1: How teachers learn and develop;

    • Chapter 2: Organising and prioritising your development;

    • Chapter 3: Professionalism in teaching;

    • Chapter 4: Valuing diversity and equal opportunity;

    • Chapter 5: Reviewing and improving your teaching.

  • Pack 2: Students Learning. In this pack you will find theories and research that encourage you to think about the different ways in which learning can happen, with the focus on your students’ learning. You will also notice that these ideas resonate with many of the theories and ideas from Pack 1 that focused on your own professional learning. Practical hints and guidance for tutors and advisors suggest ways to support the diversity of your student groups and encourage learning.

    • Chapter 1: How students learn;

    • Chapter 2: How students differ as learners;

    • Chapter 3: How students develop as learners;

    • Chapter 4: Supporting students.

  • Pack 3: Assessment for learning: practices and programmes. This pack encourages you to look back over the past ten years in higher education and consider how assessment practice has adapted in response to the changing environment. The pack’s narrative draws on a variety of selected writing whilst inviting you to join in the current debates within higher education on assessment:

    • is it possible, or even desirable, to assess everything that is learned?

    • (how) can I be sure that my grading is valid and reliable?

    • what is the most useful feedback for learning?

    • what is the most appropriate form of assessment for a particular learning outcome?

    • Chapter 1: Assessing students taking your module: design issues;

    • Chapter 2: Assessing students taking your module: practice issues;

    • Chapter 3: From module to programme;

    • Chapter 4: Assessment and degree programmes.

  • Pack 4: Design for learning. Whether you are designing a whole curriculum for an undergraduate year of study or a series of loosely related learning events, this Pack provides a framework that relates the ideas covered in the other packs to the complex design task. You will find:

    • a range of examples and ways to think about design for learning and using resources creatively;

    • questions to ask before you begin designing a course, module or programme;

    • a critical exploration of aims and learning outcomes;

    • ways to evaluate courses and programmes effectively;

    • ideas to help you plan for improvement based on you own enhanced understanding or in response to feedback from colleagues and from students.

    • Chapter 1: Designing courses: the underpinning theories;

    • Chapter 2: Designing courses: the practice;

    • Chapter 3: Specifying aims and learning outcomes;

    • Chapter 4: Practical course evaluation and improvement;

    • Chapter 5: Theories in support of evaluating and developing courses;

    • Chapter 6: Learning resources.

  • Pack 5: Ways of Teaching. Teaching in groups, lecturing, e-learning, supervising, demonstrating and field trips are all considered in this Pack. The focus is on the ‘bones’ of teaching. This Pack uses a combination of resources (both print and online, originally) to encourage you to try new approaches with students.

    • Part 1: Teaching in Groups;

    • Part 2: Lecturing;

    • Part 3: (originally online) Resources for teaching and learning;

    • Part 4: (originally online) eLearning: a new environment for learning (1);

    • Part 5: (originally online) eLearning: a new environment for learning (2);

    • Part 6: (originally online) Demonstrating;

    • Part 7: (originally online) Supervising.

In addition to the Packs, the course includes also a Study Guide, an Assessment Guide, and further, supplementary reading material provided on the course Web site to registered participants. Participants registered on the course were supported online using the conferencing system FirstClass, and tutor- as well as peer-supported discussions formed an integral part of the course experience.

OpenLearn is making available the OU-written elements of the course, including the Study Guide, the Assessment Guide and the main text in the packs. The latter use a variety of readings (‘Extracts’) selected from the relevant literature that was current when the course was last updated (2004), and, although the OpenLearn version does not include these readings, it does provide all the bibliographic details that should enable you to locate them.

Learning outcomes