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Innovative Teaching Practice Programme

The Innovative Teaching Practice Programme (ITPP) is designed to assist participants’ academic development and enhance learning, teaching and pedagogical practice.

Participants develop a broad knowledge and understanding of the educational context in UK Higher Education, placing students and their learning experiences at the core.

The programme has evolved and grown significantly and now draws on over 115 academics from 12 academic schools, 25 professional services staff from multiple teams, and six partnerships with external providers. The ITPP is founded on this spirit of collaboration, which allows us to provide a discipline-specific programme that aligns with participants’ practice and interests.

The ITPP is founded on this spirit of collaboration, which allows us to provide a discipline-specific programme that aligns with participants’ practice and interests.

The ITPP is one of the best things for the international strategy that has ever happened at Cardiff University. This has been made possible through the shared vision and values of the core team and their unwavering commitment to collaborative ways of working at every level of this innovative programme.
CU Dean for International Partnerships


Creating and implementing the Innovative Teaching Practice Programme (ITPP) is a truly collaborative endeavour, involving many University departments working hand in hand. It is a complex and flexible programme, tailored to each institution’s specific requirements. Academics and Professional Services staff from the School of Social Sciences, the English Language team and the CPD Unit work closely to develop and refine the programme for each cohort.

In September 2018, Cardiff University welcomed ten Guizhou University academics to participate in a 3-month bespoke ITPP. Following the successful completion of the programme and excellent feedback from participants, Guizhou University sent a second delegation of academics to Cardiff, this time comprising 16 academics from fields across Cardiff University's three Colleges.

In January 2020 a delegation of 16 academics from Xuzhou Medical University attended the ITPP, which had been remodelled to meet their specific training requirements.

The programme was paused during Covid-19; we are liaising with various institutions to discuss the possibility of relaunching the programme in the next year.


The Innovative Teaching Practice Programme (ITPP) is bespoke and can be adapted to meet specific requirements or specialisms of participating institutions. We worked closely with Guizhou University and Xuzhou Medical University to ensure that each participant had the opportunity to observe teaching practices within their own discipline, and we also arranged trips and tours that complemented their field of study.

September 2018

Participants in the field of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Guizhou University, China.

September 2019

Participants specialising in various disciplines taught across all three Cardiff University Colleges, including microbiology, philosophy, civil engineering and languages. This group also included leaders of the university who completed an additional Leadership of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education module. Guizhou University, China.

January 2020

Xuzhou Medical University, China. Medical academics with specialisms across a range of areas, including:

  • nursing
  • radiology
  • physiology
  • anatomy
  • paediatrics
  • pharmaceutical analysis
  • physiology for anaesthesia
  • gynaecology
  • rehabilitation medicine
  • urological surgery
  • internal medicine: nephrology
  • infectious disease/ liver disease

Learning programme overview

The programme is designed to provide:

  • a sound understanding of aspects of Cardiff University's approach to learning, teaching and pedagogical practice across a range of disciplines (depending on participant's requirements)
  • an understanding of a range of teaching strategies and how participants can use innovative technologies to support learning and teaching
  • an increased awareness of how Cardiff University uses inclusive practices to support diverse students' needs
  • an understanding of curriculum design and its relationship to assessment to support the progress and engagement of students
  • skills to reflect on professional practice in teaching

...the ITPP has formed an important part of our reform future anaesthesiologists on a large scale. As a leading member on the Steering Committee on the Delivery of Anaesthesiology Programme for HE Institutions of the Ministry of Education [in China], we lead in guiding the next series of reforms on the training of undergraduates... I have been to medical colleges (Weifang Medical University, Anhui Medical University, Xiangya Medical College) exchanging with them our [ITPP] experience.
2020 participant

The Innovative Teaching Practice Programme (ITPP) consists of five main strands:

  • core modules – led by The School of Social Sciences
  • observation sessions – large group, small group and assessment teaching
  • English language programme and study skills
  • insight sessions
  • cultural and educational activities

Core modules

Module 1: Learning, teaching and pedagogical practice in Higher Education

In this module, participants explore a range of learning and teaching strategies: specifically, the use of innovative technologies to support learning and teaching; inclusive practices to support diverse students’ needs; consideration of curriculum design, including the nature and forms of assessment to support progress and engagement; and student voice, including engaging students as partners in curriculum design and delivery.

Module 2: Case making and reflections from practice

This module provides the opportunity to observe small-group, large-group, and assessment teaching within relevant disciplines. Participants develop cases using theoretical underpinnings and reflections on practice through dialogic learning experiences.

Observation sessions

Alongside these modules, participants have opportunities to observe Cardiff University lectures in their own disciplines throughout the programme. These experiences are combined with theoretical underpinnings and reflected on through dialogic learning experiences.

Additional modules

We work closely with the participating institution to identify and implement new modules or areas of study. For example, one of the programmes included a third module for those delegates in a leadership role at their own university.

Module 3 - Leadership of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

This module was designed for members of the programme who have/aspire to have leadership roles in learning and teaching. It explored the challenges associated with undertaking a teaching leadership role in an academic context. The module also considers perspectives on leadership and considered the challenges associated with leading with influence in an academic context.

English language sessions

The programme begins with two weeks of specially designed English language sessions to develop speaking, reading, listening and writing skills relevant to the rest of the teaching programme.  These are crucial in enabling participants to adapt to a new linguistic and cultural environment, whilst developing confidence in communicating effectively in English. Following this, twice-weekly English language support sessions and one-to-one tutorials are provided for additional support.  The sessions prepare participants for the teaching modules by including relevant topics, such as using reflective language, discussing teaching-related issues, presentation skills, and using language to put forward an argument or defend ideas.

Insight sessions

The insight sessions provide participants with access to, and opportunities for, networking with management and student learning support services responsible for creating an environment for learning and teaching excellence at Cardiff University.

Cultural and educational activities

We also include social experiences and opportunities to strengthen relationships, build a cohesive learning community and celebrate Chinese and Welsh culture.  Events such as a welcome dinner and final certificate ceremony top and tail the ITPP.

Outcomes and impact

We continually refine and improve the programme in response to participants’ feedback and extended collaborators’ reflections.

We encourage honest and detailed participant feedback:

  • daily, within each teaching session
  • weekly, in meetings between the core team and cohort ‘leaders’ or representatives
  • through more formal questionnaire mechanisms before, during, and after the programme

I have listened more, become more open to students' opinions and suggestions, communicated ideas with them, and tried more varied teaching methods in class… to encourage students to be more active in the classroom… there have been significant changes in my students in terms of their enthusiasm, engagement, understanding of content and academic performance.
2019 participant

We continually refine and improve the programme in response to participants’ feedback and extended collaborators’ reflections.

We encourage honest and detailed participant feedback:

  • daily, within each teaching session
  • weekly, in meetings between the core team and cohort ‘leaders’ or representatives
  • through more formal questionnaire mechanisms before, during, and after the programme

Since the participants’ return to China, we have maintained contact via post-programme surveys (at three months, six months and two years) and virtual check-in meetings to jointly reflect on pandemic related experiences.  This has helped us develop an in-depth appreciation of the sustained impact of participants’ learning, and identify how they have disseminated learning within their institutions. We’ve learned about education-related projects, initiatives and awards, and gathered detailed feedback around the programme's long-term impact.

Participants told us they went on to support colleagues and share their learning in several ways (both in China and in the USA), including:

  • giving presentations/seminars/lectures
  • delivering at learning and teaching conferences
  • writing academic reports
  • sharing experiences at departmental meetings/forums
  • developing learning materials
  • undertaking peer-review activities
  • engaging in daily informal discussions

The Innovative Teaching Practice Programme (ITPP) places great emphasis on educators working in partnership with participants, and the importance of providing genuine opportunities for feedback. Having experienced this on the ITPP, the participants have taken this back and used the method in their own teaching practice.  They attribute stronger and more positive student evaluations as a result, and report incorporating their students’ feedback into teaching.  This encourages reciprocal learning, enabling the participants’ students to shape and influence pedagogical design, which in turn allows our participants to better understand and meet their individual students’ needs.

The learning, observation, experience and discussion [in Cardiff] has improved my teaching ideas, methods and skills and has driven me to take action in my teaching. Over the past 3 years I have taken on 3 undergraduate courses, 2 postgraduate courses, applied for and won 5 teaching reform projects, guided students to write course-cases, which won the case competition for the professional degree in finance. I am writing a book on teaching management of commercial banking, which will be published this year.
2018 participant

…[the ITPP] has brought about a very positive impact on improving students' learning, enthusiasm and effectiveness… their academic capability and performance have been significantly strengthened.
2019 participant

Students' depth of learning, critical thinking, communication, cooperation, autonomy and problem-solving skills have improved significantly.
2020 participant

This feedback from our participants demonstrates the extensive nature of the ideas, practices and approaches to student learning and engagement that they have implemented since completing the ITPP. Alongside the vast and varied dissemination activities, this suggests a shift away from the traditional teaching methods usually associated with these institutions and consistently reported by participants.

Each cohort who has undertaken the ITPP have established strong relationships amongst each other which has encouraged a wide range of new, innovative learning and teaching. Participants have found shared research interests and supported each other in embedding educational strategies in their respective disciplines back in their home institutions, as well as collaborating on new work exploring HE student/staff experiences.

This was further exemplified by participants’ successes in:

  • achieving multiple awards for sustained excellence and innovation in teaching and learning (locally and nationally)
  • applying for/achieving promotions and doctoral study in prestigious academic institutions
  • leading departmental and institution-wide teaching and learning activity.
  • securing multiple grants (from their university and provincial education bureau) for innovative teaching projects
  • enabling reciprocal visits and delivering academic keynotes (economics) and opportunities for honorary visiting fellowships in CU (nursing)
  • joint research collaborations (business) initiated in Cardiff University
  • authoring/co-authoring academic work, published in international peer-reviewed journals, focused on changed/innovative pedagogical practices

Contact us

If you would like to speak to us about how we could design and deliver a similar programme in collaboration with your organisation, please get in touch with our friendly team for an initial informal discussion:

Continuing Professional Development Unit