Module 4 – Teaching and learning in practice

The overall aim of this module is to provide a framework for continued reflective development in the context of practical, authentic learning in the participant’s School or Division.  This module is essentially self-directed (with support from a local mentor) and encourages participants to direct their learning in ways which best meets their needs in their respective School or Division. The central focus of the module is a personal research project that informs a Reflective Teaching Portfolio and the writing of a personal Teaching Philosophy.

All participants are required to submit a project proposal to the PCUTL Board Project Review Panel before they formally commence on this module.

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Module 4 ILOs: On completion of the module a participant will be able to:

1. Critically review, assess and evaluate a substantial, systematic and coherent body of learning and teaching activity in order to develop appropriate learning and teaching or learning support activities;

2. Critically reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of:

a. the teaching and/or learning support practice they developed and
b. their approach to meeting the needs of the project, and use these insights to inform their on-going personal and professional learning and teaching practice, scholarship and future development needs.

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

There are no set workshops for this module. Participants are supported by mentors who are invited into the role as subject experts. Mentors for this module do not take part in the summative assessment process. Both mentors and participants are supported by the PCUTL programme team through the VLE and regular face-to-face dialogue.

Participants will be helped to achieve the Learning Outcomes and practise the Programme Values by:

  • Working with the PCUTL programme manager and appointed mentor to identify specific development opportunities (within and outside CU e.g. HEA Subject Networks) that would support the creation, execution and dissemination of a self-selected research project;
  • Negotiating a learning contract that will form an essential element of the module support and monitoring processes;
  • Personal contact with PCUTL staff to support engagement with the programme and literature, creation of supporting evidence, development of reflective writing skills, articulation of philosophy of teaching etc.;
  • Networking with other PCUTL participants;
  • Access to comprehensive learning resources through the Module VLE;
  • Engaging in discussion with the CU community by presenting the project at a PCUTL Project Presentation Event.

Skills that will be practised and developed

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

  • Critical review of topics-related, education literature;
  • Practise / development of research skills to support pedagogic enquiry;
  • Presentation skills;
  • Writing reports for dissemination;
  • Writing critically and reflectively.

Participants requiring more focussed sessions to develop other teaching / learning support related skills e.g. change management, leading and managing teams 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.

The formative assessment is on-going through:

  1. Presentation of the Project at PCUTL Presentation Event (this may take place before / after portfolio submission);
  2. Support from the Programme Manager, selected mentor and review of formative reflective extracts;
  3. One cycle of Peer Review of Learning and Teaching.

The summative assessment for this module is in 2 parts:

Part 1: Critical reflective project portfolio:

  • The portfolio will comprise a Level 7 scholarly, critically reflective text (max 3,500 words) supported by evidence in appendices;
  • The submission must include a personal philosophy of teaching and an annotated project diary;
  • The portfolio will address Learning Outcomes (1), 2 + Programme values 1-6.

Part 2: Module project report:

  • A 1500 word report in the form of a paper that could be used to disseminate the Project to the participant’s School / Directorate / Institution. This element of the assessment will be used to address Learning Outcome 1.

The potential for reassessment in this module

In accordance with University Regulations, participants are able to have one resubmission attempt.

Syllabus content

HMT008 is essentially a self-directed project-based module.

The following are examples of how the Module learning outcomes may be addressed:

  1. Redesign or critically review an existing programme of study (or contribute to a significant and identifiable part to the process of the review) or similar scheme of learning support or activity – to include assessment and feedback to learners. As an example, the scope of the review could involve consideration of the learning and teaching aspects of modules during a Departmental / School-wide review.
  2. Develop a School or University system for staff and/or student support and the development of effective learning environments.
  3. Prepare a constructively aligned proposal for a significant new module or programme of study for the School / Department. Such a proposal should be grounded in the current national, international and possible future developmental contexts of the discipline and research-led HEIs in general. Contextualising the proposal in terms of existing University processes for the adoption of new modules/ programmes of study is essential. The proposed module could be at either undergraduate or postgraduate levels.
  4. Develop a project that is appropriate to the participant’s specific context and needs. Participants are advised to seek early guidance from the PCUTL Programme Manager. The project will need to be agreed with the Chair of the PCUTL Board and the Programme Manager before commencement.

All participants are required to submit a project proposal to the PCUTL Board Project Review Panel before they formally commence on this module.

Indicative Reading and Resource List:

PCUTL is supported by a comprehensive VLE that houses multi-media resources to support participants’ learning for this module. Participants will select resources appropriate for the topic of their project. Generic starter texts only are listed here.

Baumfield, V Hall, E and Wall, K (2013) Action Research in Education. 2nd edition, London: Sage Publications.

Biggs, J and Tang, C (2007) Teaching for Quality in Higher Education, 3rd edition, Buckingham: SRHE/OUP.

Boud, D and Falchikov, N eds (2007) Rethinking assessment in Higher Education, Abingdon: Routledge.

Butcher, C Davies, C and Highton M (2006) Designing Learning: from module outline to effective teaching, London: Routledge.

Cousin, G (2009) Researching learning in Higher Education: an introduction to contemporary methods and approaches, London: Routledge.

Dunn, L et al (2004) The student assessment handbook: new directions in traditional and online assessment, London: RoutledgeFalmer.

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.

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

Harvey, J(1998) The Evaluation Cookbook available at:

Krueger, R. A. (1998) The Focus group kit, London: Sage.

Krueger, R. A & Casey, M. A. (2000) Focus groups a practical guide for applied research, London: Sage.

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

Moon, J (1999) Reflection in Learning and Professional Development: Theory and Practice, London: Kogan Page.

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

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

Toohey, S (1999) Designing Courses for Higher Education, Buckingham: SRHE/OUP.

Web-based resources:

a)    Generic

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:

Support for teaching HE through the medium of Welsh

1)    Nationally:

2)    At Cardiff:

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:

JISC learning technology-related resources:

Quality Assurance Agency for Subject Benchmark Indicators:

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

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

b)    Thinking about Researching in HE

Harvey J (1998) ed Evaluation Cookbook. A practical guide and free to download at:


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September 2015+ Module 4 Description HMT008

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