Module 1 – Experiencing UK Higher Education

This Module is designed as the explicit foundation for teaching practice in UK HE. As such, the module will challenge and support participants to explore and answer the following questions with respect to their own teaching contexts:

  • What is Higher Education in the UK in general and Wales in particular?
  • What is my role as a teacher of my subject / discipline in Cardiff University?
  • Who are my students?
  • How do I help students learn?

Staff employed at Grade 6 , within the Teaching and Scholarship or Teaching and Research career pathway, who have a substantial role in supporting teaching and learning, and who have a 36 working month probation period, are required to complete Modules HMT005, HMT006 and HMT007 totalling 40 credits, during the probation period.

Participants who have at least 2 years’ experience of teaching / supporting learning in UK HE can seek exemption from HMT005. Exemption would be based on a 1000-1500 word reflective statement, and evidence in the form of appendices, in which candidates demonstrate the ways in which the Module 1 Intended Learning Outcomes have been achieved through the applicant’s prior experience and/or learning. Participants would submit the statement and appendices, together with a teaching-focussed CV, to the PgCUTL team. As staff prepare their exemption applications they will have access to, and be encouraged to be familiar with, related resources that would be available through Learning Central for full module participants. Guidance can be found below

PgCUTL Module 1 Exemption Guidance

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Module 1 ILOs: On completion of the module a participant will be able to:
  1. Describe the local and national contexts with respect to UK HE policy both generically and in their subject, and consider their role(s) within it.
  2. Plan and run sessions that support student learning by giving active roles to students, fostering critical and independent thinking according to the standards of their subject.
  3. Explore the relationship between research, scholarship, related professional activities and teaching and learning as relevant to their own teaching practice.
  4. Use PRLT to explore the impact of their teaching and/or support for learning on students’ learning, and plan modifications accordingly.
  5. Identify further professional development needs in relation to teaching and/or supporting student learning.

In addition, participants must demonstrate how their teaching practice is underpinned by the following programme professional values (PVs):

  1. An understanding of how students learn;
  2. A commitment to reflection and evaluation and consequent improvement of professional practice;
  3. A respect for individual learners and for their development and empowerment, no matter what their circumstances;
  4. A commitment to scholarship in teaching, both generally and within their own discipline;
  5. A commitment to the development of learning communities, including students, teachers and those engaged in learning support;
  6. A commitment to encouraging participation in higher education with respect to the issues of equality and diversity. In this regard, professional practice should be informed by equal opportunities legislation, policy and best practice.

How the module will be delivered

Participants will be required to attend 3 full-day workshops that introduce the concepts and assessment methods for the module. The workshops are led by Institutional and / or national experts in their theme and are intended to act as triggers to participants’ own enquiry and application into practice. The workshops address generic issues with respect to the theme and involve a range of presentations, opportunities for small-group work and ‘micro-teaching’ exercises. Translation from the generic to the discipline-specific context is supported by a discipline-specific mentor.

Non-contact time learning will be supported by the PgCUTL team, a subject-specific mentor and access to comprehensive learning resources through the Module VLE. PgCUTL Mentors are drawn from School staff and, as experienced subject teachers, provide opportunities for crucial context-specific discussion and reflection.

Skills that will be practised and developed

During this module participants will have the opportunity to practise the following skills:

  • presenting to a small group using an educational medium appropriate to the message;
  • creating and using journals;
  • writing lesson plans;
  • writing reflectively;
  • facilitating someone else’s reflective practice through Peer Review of Learning and Teaching;
  • engaging in critical discussion about UK HE.

Participants requiring more focussed sessions to develop other teaching / learning support related skills e.g. lecturing skills, vocal skills, presentation skills etc. are advised to take the stand-alone workshops provided by Cardiff University’s Staff Development programme.

How the module will be assessed

The assessment activities have been specifically designed to facilitate participants’ learning and achievement of the Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO) and Professional Values. The activities are outlined below together with the ILO with which they are most closely aligned. All assessment elements are compulsory.

Formatively assessed elements (all compulsory):

  • 3 x reflective extracts (500 words each) to be loaded onto Learning Central as a personal journal for dialogue between participants and PgCUTL team (ILO 1);
  • 1 x Mentor teaching –observation-focussed peer review of learning and teaching (PRLT) with accompanying reflections (LO 4). Participants select their own areas for peer-assisted reflection. Participants are encouraged to use the PRLT process to explore an aspect of their practice that is useful for the creation of their reflective portfolio;
  • 1 x annotated lesson plan (500 words max) with accompanying resources (LO 2, 3). Participants select their own lesson and are encouraged to select a lesson that is useful for the creation of their reflective portfolio;
  • Mapping of learning to date against the UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and supporting learning in higher education (UKPSF) (PVs).

Summative element:

All the formative elements above submitted in the form of a portfolio for summative assessment. A 500 word (max) academic, Level 7 text will front the appendices and form the written claim reflecting on learning to date and planning for next-step development (max 500 words) (LO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Summative assessment is marked by the PgCUTL team.

Total word count c 2500

Portfolio, 100% contribution, Experiencing UK Higher Education, Assessment 6 weeks after commencement of contact sessions

The potential for reassessment in this module

In accordance with University Regulations, participants are able to have one resubmission attempt. Successful completion of HMT005 is required before participants can progress to HMT007, but a first refer can be carried while participants undertake HMT006.

Syllabus content

The 3 workshops have been designed to meet the needs of teaching staff within Cardiff University. Each workshop is intended to act as a trigger for self-reflection. Each workshop is underpinned by, and overtly relates to, the current and seminal scholarly literature in the area.

Indicative focus of each workshop (attendance compulsory):

1)    Introduction to module; Locating in the discipline, department, Uni and UK HE in context- focussing. Reflecting on teaching using the e-environment: to include e-portfolios, blogs and electronic etiquette;

2)    Conceptions of learning and teaching + Planning for learning (to include lesson plans);

3)    Introduction to learning modalities e.g. large group, small group, practicals / demonstrations, 1:1 contexts (could be replaced by confirmed attendance at an HEA Subject Network related workshop, Teaching through medium of Welsh workshops etc).

Indicative Reading and Resource List:

PgCUTL is supported by a comprehensive VLE that houses multi-media resources, including related journal articles, to support participants’ learning for this module. The list here reflects core text books and key web-based links.

Core texts These are available both in School Offices and University Libraries

Biggs, J and Tang, C (2011) Teaching for Quality in Higher Education, 4th edition, Buckingham: SRHE/OUP. Available as an ebook.

Grace, S and Gravestock, P (2009) Inclusion and diversity: meeting the needs of all students, London: Routledge.

Other recommended reading (reflecting the range of teaching contexts likely to be experienced by participants):

Brookfield S. (2006) The skilful teacher: on technique, trust and responsiveness in the classroom, Jossey-Bass: San Francisco

Brookfield S. (2011) Teaching for critical thinking: tools and techniques to help students question their assumptions, Jossey-Bass: San Francisco

Bolton, G. (2014) Reflective Practice: writing and professional development, 4th edition London: Sage.

Exley, K. and Dennick, R (2004) Small group teaching, tutorials, seminars and beyond. London: Routledge.  Available as an ebook.

Exley, K and Dennick, R (2009) Giving a lecture: from presenting to teaching, 2nd ed, London: Routledge.

Fry, H, Ketteridge, S and Marshall, S (eds)  (2009) 3rd edition A Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education – Enhancing Academic Practice, London:  Kogan Page. Available as an ebook.

Jordan A, Carlile O, Stack A (2008) Approaches to learning: a guide for teachers, Maidenhead: OUP. Available as an ebook.

Laurillard, D (2002) Rethinking University Teaching: a framework for the effective use of learning technologies, 2nd edition, London: Routledge. Available as an ebook.

Moon, J (2000) Reflection in Learningand Professional Development: Theory and Practice, London: Kogan Page.

Morss, K and Murray, R (2005) Teaching at University: a guide for postgraduates and researchers, London: Sage.

Ramsden, P (2003) Learning to teach in Higher Education, London: Routledge
Farmer. Available as an ebook.

Schön, D (1983) The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action, London: Temple Smith.

Web-based resources

Cardiff University’s ‘The Way Forward’:

Cardiff University’s Learning Support pages:

Cardiff University’s Assessment Strategy and Feedback Policy:

Cardiff University’s Peer Review of Learning and Teaching pages:

Higher Education Academy and related subject networks:

A wealth of resources to think about supporting students with mental health needs can be found at:

UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and the support of learning in Higher

JISC learning technology-related resources:

Quality Assurance Agency for Subject Benchmark Indicators:

Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, for policy documents for Wales:


Support for teaching HE through the medium of Welsh:

1)    Nationally:

2)    At Cardiff:

A really useful, external resource to support all aspects of the module:


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September 2015+ Module 1 Description HMT005

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