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Teaching and Learning Approaches


The role of creativity in enhancing student learning in STEM subjects- Dr Matthew Saunders, School of Natural Sciences

This resource aims to help academics incorporate more creative approaches to teaching and learning when designing modules for STEM subjects. This resource outlines the fundamental aspects of creativity, how to include these aspects in module design and delivery and how to appropriately assess creativity in the classroom.

What is creativity and why is it required in science teaching?

The demands being placed on Higher Education Institutes (HEI) are ever increasing, with the expectations of students in relation to the learning experience provided and the fundamental role of universities in training the next generation of critical thinkers. Because of this, it is important to consider the process of creative course design, delivery and assessment in producing graduates with the attributes, knowledge base and confidence to tackle any task (Donnelly and Fitzmaurice, 2005). Creativity is a difficult concept to define due to its complexity, with words such as originality, imagination, vision and innovation being associated with this term (DeHann, 2011; Hwang 2017).

The role of creativity in enhancing student learning in STEM subjects - Dr Matthew Saunders (PDF 569 KB)


Student Centred and Active Learning Approaches in Large Group Teaching - Trip to Thapar University September 2017

Thapar Session Sep 2017

Click on the photo above to play video.

“This session was held during the ongoing ‘New Directions in teaching & learning’ programme at Thapar University in September 2017. Academic staff at Thapar University had requested that I carry out a large group teaching session with undergraduate students that could be filmed and made available to them. The idea was to explicitly model and provide examples of various active learning and student centred learning approaches that can be used in large class teaching. 

Given my scientific background in eye development and disease research I thought that a ‘master class’ for biotechnology students in this area would be of interest to them. Over 200 students attended the class from all years of the undergraduate Biotechnology programme as well as Master’s students. I was confident that I could engage such a large class of students and used a number of different approaches encouraging think, pair, share to answer questions (including the use of a ‘nerf’ ball thrown  around the lecture theatre), the use of a gapped handout so students could add their own notes and some short quiz questions on the content. The students submitted their answers to Mentimeter and a word cloud was generated that we then discussed. I also showed a YouTube video of cataract surgery and we had a short discussion about cataract t surgery in India, based on a paper that the students had read prior to coming to the class. 

At the end, I gave the students an opportunity to submit a ‘minute paper’ asking them what were the two most interesting things they had learned in the class, something that they found confusing or still didn’t understand and what they enjoyed / did not enjoy about the teaching approaches used. The students were positive about the session and the use of the 'nerf ball' in the class when asking (and answering) questions. Students also enjoyed the cataract video. A number of students said that the pace was a bit fast and they would have liked to have had more time to explore some of the topics further and in greater depth. I agree with this – I wanted to cover several different areas and to maximise the variety of teaching and learning approaches used in the class. Students also enjoyed the quiz saying that it helped them focus on the material and also the use of Mentimeter to create the word cloud. There were also positive comments about the gapped handout.

I personally found the session very enjoyable and rewarding. There were some technical hitches that I had to solve ‘on my feet’ i.e. Wi-Fi access for the word cloud, but it all went very well. The students were attentive, interested in the material and open to engaging in the various activities I incorporated into the teaching.”

Prof Michael Wride


Emerging Issues in Higher Education III

From Capacity Building to Sustainability (PDF 652KB)


In at the Deep End - Starting to Teaching in Higher Education

Part 1 (PDF 2.92MB) For optimum reading, please save the pdf, then open in adobe, reduce to 100%, go to view, rotate view, counter clockwise.

Part 2 (PDF 9.58MB) For optimum reading, please save the pdf, then open in adobe, reduce to 100%, go to view, rotate view, counter clockwise.


The Professional Special Purpose Certificate in Academic Practice

The Professional Special Purpose Certificate in Academic Practice is a level 9, non-major award that focuses on professional development in academic practice, integrating four interrelated facets: teaching, learning, research and leadership. It carries a credit volume of 15 ECTS.