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The Professional Special Purpose Certificate in Teaching, Learning & Assessment for Academic Practice is a level 9, non-major award. The 15 ECTS-credited ‘SpCert’ focuses on four interrelated facets of Academic Practice: teaching, learning, research and leadership.

Summer 2022

Academic Practice is piloting a new block-timetabled version of Perspectives on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, the 5 ECTS core module in Trinity’s Special Purpose Certificate in Teaching, Learning & Assessment in Academic Practice.

This in-person module is aimed at academics and/or academic-related professionals with teaching responsibilities. Module participants will explore core principles of academic practice such as curriculum design, assessment, evaluation, and teaching that enhances student learning. Participants are supported to engage in a community of practice during the two on-campus days and beyond. The module may be taken either on a standalone for-credit basis, as part of the SpCert, or for professional development purposes alone. 

For early-career academics taking the SpCert for credit, this module should be completed as one of and ideally the first of their three 5-ECTS modules. You can read more about the module by clicking on link to perspectives above.

Dates: Tuesday 12th July & Wednesday 13th July 2022
Times: 10:30-13:00 & 14:00-16:30 both days (a sandwich lunch will be provided)
Venue: Room 1.03, 3-4 Foster Place
Facilitators: Dr Jonny Johnston (Academic Practice) & Assoc. Prof. Cicely Roche (Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences/ Academic Practice)

Register Now

Who is the SpCert for?

The SpCert in Teaching, Learning & Assessment for Academic Practice is for academics and/or academic-related professionals in Trinity. Cohorts typically include teaching academics, researchers with teaching responsibilities, part time or adjunct teaching staff, and other professionals with roles in supporting learning.

The SpCert is a research-informed professional qualification in academic practice, designed to be flexible and practice-based. Candidates are supported to engage in modules/areas most appropriate to their own interests in the areas of teaching, learning, and assessment. Programme participants develop and evidence their academic practice, knowledge and values and can engage with the programme at times that are appropriate to them.

About the SpCert

The core values of the SpCert are grounded in supporting and fostering excellence in teaching across the disciplines, recognizing the impact on student learning of all those who teach and also taking into the account the enormous diversity of teaching contexts at Trinity. As the SpCert focuses on application of theory to practice and on reflection and evaluation, all candidates should hold responsibilities for teaching and/or supporting learning while participating in the course. The SpCert is awarded following the completion of three distinct 5 ECTS modules, one of which should normally be ‘Perspectives on Teaching & Learning in Higher Education’. The SpCert is a level 9/ M-level award on Ireland’s National Framework of Qualifications and aligns to Ireland’s National Professional Development Framework which recognises both accredited and non-accredited forms of professional development for academics and those engaged in supporting teaching and learning in the Irish higher education context. Upon completion of the certificate staff can undertake further modules to facilitate lifelong learning and help maintain high quality practice throughout their careers.

Applicants to this course would normally hold a minimum of an honours degree or equivalent in any discipline. The SpCert handbook is updated annually to reflect the details of the modules available within a particular academic year. Please view our handbook for more detailed information. The SpCert is not open to graduate teaching assistants, for whom a separate programme is available.

Please note these modules are open to and free of charge to Trinity staff members only. For any queries please contact


Participants who are awarded the Certificate may apply to the Postgraduate Diploma/M.Ed in Higher Education within the School of Education; such participants may secure an exemption from one of the four modules within the Diploma.

Informal enquiries about the partial exemption from Diploma modules should be made to Dr. John Walsh (M.Ed Co-ordinator) at


Assessment FAQs

I have completed three modules.  Do I have to submit assignments and a portfolio?

No. You can choose to submit an assignment for each module by the deadline given by the facilitator OR you can choose to submit a Teaching Portfolio upon completion of three modules.

How do I submit an assignment?

You submit your assignment through Blackboard, your facilitator will guide you through this.

I have submitted my assignment to Blackboard, what happens now?

Approximately 30 days after submission of your assignment, you will receive an email from our course administrator with your feedback and a grade.   This email should also inform you on how many modules you have completed to date on the Special Purpose Certificate.  If this is the third assignment you have submitted, you will also be notified within this email that these grades are subject to the Court of Examiners and that you will be contacted after the COE sits, which is usually in April.

I have completed three assignments.  How do I graduate?

If you have completed an assignment following each module you have undertaken, you should have received an email from the course administrator with your feedback and grades.  This email should also inform you that these grades are subject to the Court of Examiners and that you will be contacted after the COE sits which is usually in April.  If you have successfully passed all assignments, your details will be forwarded to the Graduations office in Academic Registry.  Please ensure your contact details, address, phone number and current email are up to date with our course administrator otherwise the information originally provided will be the contact details Graduations office will receive from us. 

I have completed three modules but I have not submitted any assignments.

If you have completed three modules over a long period of time, (for example you started in Michaelmas Term 2015 and completed the last module in Hilary Term 2019) and you have not submitted any assignments, your option would be to submit a Teaching Portfolio.  This is due to the fact that assignments have specific deadlines.  In certain circumstances extensions can be given for submission of assignments but this is normally within the academic year of completing that module.

I have completed a module this term, can I get an extension for submission of my assignment?

Please contact the course administrator directly. Extensions can be given under certain circumstances.

When do I submit my Teaching Portfolio?

The closing date each year for submission of a teaching portfolio is typically the first week in January.  The next closing date is Friday 7th January 2022.  Please submit your portfolio to the course administrator Jade Concannon. After submission of your portfolio, you will receive feedback and a grade approximately 30 days later.  This is subject to review at the Court of Examiners by the External Examiner.  Typically our Court of Examiners sits in April.  Graduations are then held the following summer of that year.

Can I incorporate a fourth and fifth module to my portfolio?

You may incorporate learning from other modules into your portfolio but you must choose and declare which three modules your case studies concentrate on.

I have to resubmit my assignment/portfolio, how much time do I have?

Where a resubmission is required, you will normally have one working month (assignments)/two working months (portfolios) in which to submit.  Alternatively portfolios can also be resubmitted for the next round the following year.

General FAQs

How long do I have to complete the Certificate?

Those joining from academic year 2021-22 have 3 years from date of first enrolment to complete three modules and submit assignments for each module. Alternatively, you can choose to submit a teaching portfolio (please see above FAQs).

Do I need to attend all classes in the module?

Yes, attendance is compulsory at all classes for certification purposes.  If you have attended modules but have not been in full attendance, you need to contact the course administrator to see if you are eligible to submit assignments/portfolio or if you need to retake a module.

Who can I contact if I have any queries?

Please contact the Course Administrator: Jade Concannon, Education Support Officer, Email

Timetable 2021-22

Hilary Term 2022

Location: Online - Blackboard

Dates: 25th January 2022 - 15th March 2022

13:05 - 14:50 

Registration has now closed for this module


Reflecting on and Evaluating your Teaching in Higher Education

Facilitator: Prof. Cicely Roche & Dr Jonny Johnston

The module uses reflection as a framework for critical inquiry into teaching in higher education. Combining the practical elements of teaching and evaluation with a scholarly approach to reflective practice, this module will use guided reflection as a vehicle to stimulate participants to think critically and systematically about their teaching, exploring both the realities of its practice and the pedagogies that guide it. The module also encourages exploration of what it means to be an academic within this changed higher education environment, and how to understand, define and develop new academic identities through reflecting on and even problematizing their identities as teacher-scholars. This reflection happens as part of a critical conversation that engages in a scholarly discourse about, and evaluation of, teaching. This evaluation of teaching and learning will thus take place in an environment of systematic dialogue, reflection, peer review, and shared analysis. The module aims to provide a framework with which academics can foster a more critical understanding of their role in this changing and uncertain higher education environment. What arises is a ‘community of practice’ or a ‘teaching commons’ a space that supports and encourages reflection, dialogue and research on teaching.

  • Session 1: Module overview and seminar on Teaching Philosophy Statements- Tues 25th January 2022
  • Session 2: Reflecting on Teaching in Higher Education - Tues 1st Feb 2022
  • Session 3: Development of Teaching practice: Models and Frameworks - Tues 8th Feb 2022
  • Session 4: Reflecting on Teaching in Higher Education: Peer presentations and feedback - Tues 15th Feb 2022
  • Session 5: Reflecting on Teaching in Higher Education: Peer presentations and feedback - Tues 22nd Feb 2022
  • Session 6: Reflecting on Teaching in Higher Education: Peer presentations and feedback - Tues 1st Mar 2022
  • Session 7: Planning for impact and leadership in future practice - Tues 15th Mar 2022

Michaelmas Term 2021

Location: Online - Blackboard

Dates: 16th September - 2nd December 2021

14:00 – 16:00 

Registration has now closed for this module

Curriculum Design in Higher Education

Facilitators: Dr Jonny Johnston, Assoc. Prof. Cicely Roche, Dr David Hamill, Dr Caitriona Ni Shé & Dr Pauline Rooney.

This module introduces the principles of curriculum design and development at both module and programme level. Participants are supported to explore and critique different models and frameworks of curriculum design, developing insight into how to shape curricula to enhance student learning. This module is structured on an experiential basis and colleagues are supported to identify effective principles of curriculum design at the module, session, and programme levels and integrate these into the design and development of a module suitable for use in their own current or future teaching.

  • Session 1:  Introduction to Curriculum Design - Thurs 16th September 2021
  • Session 2:  Curricular models, frameworks, and design methodologies - Thurs 30th September 2021
  • Session 3:  Inclusive Curriculum Design and Inclusive Curricular Practice - Thurs 14th October 2021
  • Session 4: Designing for online/hybrid/blended learning - Thurs 4th November 2021
  • Session 5: Rapid prototype a module of your own (workshop 1/2) - Thurs 18th November 2021
  • Session 6: Module showcase (workshop 2/2) -Thurs 2nd December 2021

Location: Online - Blackboard

Dates: 21st September - 14th December 2021

11:00 – 13:00 

Registration has now closed for this module

Assessment & Feedback in Higher Education

Facilitators: Dr Jonny Johnston, Dr Pauline Rooney & Dr Caitríona Ní Shé

This module explores the key role that assessment and feedback play in enhancing student learning. Participants will explore the multifaceted nature of assessment and feedback practices and how enhancing these practices, for both the assessor and the student, requires an integrated research-informed approach. Module participants are encouraged to share their experiences and practices of assessment and feedback and reflect on the associated opportunities and challenges, e.g. self- and peer-assessment, and giving and receiving feedback. Assessment literacy and digital approaches to assessment and feedback also feature as key module themes. 

Assessment and feedback practices explored in the module are contextualised through programme-focused approaches. Module participation is intended to support colleagues to engage with assessment and feedback and to develop and implement assessment and feedback practices that enhance student learning.

  • Session 1:  Introducing Assessment & Feedback - Tues 21st September 2021
  • Session 2: Programme Focussed Approaches to Assessment -Tues 5th October 2021
  • Session 3: Assessment Design & Redesign - Tues 19th October 2021
  • Session 4: Exploring Feedback - Tues 9th November 2021
  • Session 5: Assesssment & Feedback in Blackboard - Tues 23rd November 2021
  • Session 6: Transparency in Assessment Practice  - Tues 7th December 2021
  • Session 7: Assignment Consultancy  - Tues 14th December 2021

Location: Online - Blackboard

Dates: 27th September - 20th December 2021

11:00 – 13:00 

Registration has now closed for this module



Perspectives on teaching and Learning in Higher Education

Facilitators: Dr Jonny Johnston, Dr Pauline Rooney & Dr Caitríona Ní Shé

This online module is aimed at academics and/or academic-related professionals who teach and support student learning and who may be new to a teaching role. The module enables teachers in higher education to clarify conceptions of, and reflect on their own approaches to, teaching and learning in higher education. Module participants will explore how to apply the theories and principles of teaching and learning to their practice. The module will introduce strategies for teaching online and in hybrid environments and explore the fundaments of curriculum design & assessment. The module is designed to develop a supportive community of practice through formative peer feedback. 

For early career academics taking the Special Purpose Cert for credit, this module should be completed as one of their three 5 ECTS modules.

  • Session 1: Teaching as a Scholarly Activity – Mon 27th September 2021
  • Session 2: Philosophies & Practices of Teaching and Learning Mon 11th October 2021
  • Session 3: Introduction to Curriculum Design – Mon 8th November 2021
  • Session 4: Introduction to Assessment & Evaluation – Mon 22nd November 2021
  • Session 5: Teaching & Learning in a Digital World – Mon 6th December 2021
  • Session 6: Feedback in Practice – Micro-Teaching 1 – Mon 13th Dec 2021*
  • Session 7: Feedback in Practice – Micro-Teaching 2 – Mon 20th December 2021*

(*N.B. Module participants are welcome to attend either or both of sessions 6 and 7).

Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement

Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement.