- Database of practice
- Learning and Teaching Development for Research Staff and PhD Research Students
Learning and Teaching Development for Research Staff and PhD Research Students
- University of Liverpool
- North West
- Date first submitted:
- 16 Nov 2009
- Date last modified:
- 16 Nov 2009
- Relationship to RDF:
- Domain A: Knowledge and intellectual abilities
- Knowledge base
- Domain B: Personal effectiveness
- Professional and career development
- Domain C: Research governance and organisation
- Professional conduct
- Domain D: Engagement, influence and impact
- Personal effectiveness
- Academic practice
- Career development
- Doctoral researchers
- Research staff
Impact Level 2: Learning
This accredited development opportunity offers researchers a sound understanding and excellent knowledge of teaching and learning in higher education. The training aims to give researchers the skills to facilitate a learning experience that will benefit undergraduate students. Participants learn about active student engagement, managing student expectations and maintaining high standards in teaching methods. Skills developed as a result of this training are transferable to other sectors outside academia, this includes the opportunity to communicate effectively, present with clarity and manage resources and time available accordingly.
Impact Level 4: Outcomes
This training course is accredited by the Higher Education Academy, offering successful participants a qualification that is portable and recognised nationally and internationally. A small number of researchers who have completed the course have already been successful in becoming lecturers in HE. As well as their excellent research record, it has been stated that the evidence of teaching training has made them very competitive candidates for these posts. On other occasions, researchers have been given limited teaching duties in their departments, another tangible example of enhancement in their practice and their status within an academic department. This may lead towards improving their prospects for employment within the sector. Other benefits may also include the opportunity for undergraduate students to be taught by highly skilled and motivated researchers who are early on in their career and engage actively with cutting edge research and effective teaching practice. Research led teaching is a process that is becoming prevalent in the design of current curricula in HE.
Rationale, aims and outcomes
What is the rationale for doing this?
How does it fit with institutional strategy?
What are the main features of the provision?
What are the aims and expected outcomes?
Learning and teaching is seen as an important part of the development agenda for early career researchers. Not only it offers an opportunity to develop skills related to teaching, it also allows participants to practice their communication skills, organise and deliver structured learning content and utilise resources available to engage productively with their audience.
With the current drive for freeing up academic time to concentrate on research, early career researchers can be utilised more effectively and offer their expertise within lecture theaters and small group teaching arrangements as well as time consuming assessment and timely feedback to support student learning. Quality training is important to ensure that the skills of these highly motivated individuals are used for the benefit of the institution, their professional growth and the learning of students.
We have observed that informal teaching tasks led by researchers are common within departments, including supervision roles in research groups. We argue that this training course will ensure that teaching that takes place across the University by researchers is informed by learning theories, pedagogic research and sharing of effective/good practice.
The training has been designed to be efficient and take into account the busy schedules and demanding roles of research staff and phd students. Assessment tasks have been designed to be creative, engaging and beneficial to the learning and development of the course participant.
The aim of this type of training is to offer research staff and phd students the opportunity to develop skills related to learning and teaching. Participants will experience a range of key educational theories that link closely to good teaching techniques, teaching large groups/small groups, assessment and feedback.
Are there any pre-requisites for engagement, e.g. levels of skill, years of experience, essential pre-activities?
How many participate in each 'activity'?
The course is available to research staff and phd students with an interest in teaching. Participants do not have to have a teaching role in their departments however they recognise that this may become an opportunity in the near future.
Evaluation: benefits, challenges and next steps
How do you monitor effectiveness?
Who do you seek feedback from?
Do you have benchmarks?
The course is seen as an opportunity for research staff and phd students to receive structured training in learning and teaching. In addition, due to the fact that the course is accredited by HEA, participants value the recognition of the qualification in the UK and abroad.
For the institution, this will mean that skilled researchers have received quality training and they can be utilised to support undergraduate students in their learning. In addition, academic departments can use the early career researchers who have received the learning and teaching training to free up teaching time from busy academics who engage in key admin roles and high quality research activities.
Like any new course a number of challenges may appear that haven't been thought of. The course organisers have based the course on existing practice and expertise that has been developed with the educational development division. We have now evaluated the course using questionnaires and small group discussions and we have acted on the valuable feedback we have received.
The course has been designed to be light-touch in order to fit well with the researchers busy schedules but at the same time it needs to be effective and well structured to offer quality training to participants. Currently accreditation from a recognised professional body is pending, but all steps necessary have been taken to ensure that this is achieved.
At the moment there is uncertainty about the funding of development activities for researchers (post Roberts). The course fees are covered by Roberts money so all researchers in the University can participate without any charge. all development opportunities are under review and we await for further announcements. All development programmes for Researchers are currently under review and we await for further announcements in relation to future plans