#15toptips for Student-Centred Teaching 4: Consider the balance between formative and summative assessment

Over the past decade the National Student Survey (NSS) has provided important insights into students’ perceptions of and satisfaction with their educational experience at university. The NSS has many detractors in the sector, and one can understand why. Concerns about it are even more vocal now that data from it is feeding into the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), despite the fact that there is no proven link between student satisfaction and teaching excellence. Continue reading


SEDA’s collaboration with the Erasmus+  Project, E-TALEB, with lead partner, USEK (Université Saint Esprit de Kaslik), Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Lebanon.


In February 2013, SEDA was approached by USEK (the Université Saint Esprit de Kaslik, Lebanon) to be a partner in a Tempus IV project ‘Framework for Professional Standards in Teaching and Learning Practices in Lebanon’ (FPSTLP). On behalf of SEDA, and in discussion with the then SEDA Co-Chairs, Mike Laycock submitted documentation expressing SEDAs willingness to contribute and what our expertise and role could be. Mike also nominated Liz Shrives and the SEDA Executive Committee agreed both as the SEDA representatives. Continue reading

#15toptips for Student-Centred Teaching 3: Build ‘authenticity’ into your assessment strategy

As lecturers we often tend to think first of what we want to teach. This is an entirely natural response if we view ourselves primarily as subject specialists. Given the task of developing a module on, say, the development of medieval domestic architecture, my own immediate priority as a young lecturer was to think of the content – domain knowledge – that it was crucial (in my view) to cover in such a module. I’d then start thinking about how these could be reframed as ‘objectives’ and ‘learning outcomes’. Thinking about assessment often came last, and when I did I often fell back on my own experiences of being assessed at undergraduate and post-graduate level. Not surprisingly, the ‘essay’ or related types of individual written exercises tended to figure prominently. But it doesn’t have to be like this. In fact, if students are to develop the kind of ‘graduate attributes’ that are increasingly made explicit on University websites, setting these kinds of traditional forms of assessment will give students a limited palette with which to demonstrate them.  Check out the ‘Graduate Attributes’ that relate to your own institution – do the assessments on your modules, or on your courses, REALLY ensure that students can demonstrate these? Is there any kind of ‘constructive alignment’? Being student-centred is about placing the learning needs of students at the heart of your teaching. This extends, also, to the capacities and skills they will need to both secure graduate level jobs and to function effectively as professionals when they do so. Thinking about, designing, and employing authentic assessment is therefore a key aspect of student-centred practice. Continue reading

ICED / HELTASA 2016; A personal account by David Baume

Overview and impressions

At 8.30 am on November 23rd a man leaps onto the stage of the University of Cape Town’s Baxter Theatre and chants, shouts, sings, threatens and / or greets us – I’m going on his expressed emotions here, alas I don’t understand his spoken language.
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#15toptips for Student-Centred Teaching 2: Get your students active. It’ll take the pressure off you and they’ll learn more!

I suspect we’ve all done it at some stage or other. Faced with the challenge of juggling lots of competing deadline and tasks, it’s all too easy to allow other responsibilities to crowd-out the time needed for the effective planning of teaching. Before you know it, the day (or more) you had set aside to plan the session you will be teaching later in the week or the next week, or next month is reduced to a fraction of this, and tough decisions then have to be made about how to manage the session in question. Given this, it is also all too easy to adopt what, for many of us, is actually sometimes the least taxing pedagogical approach – the old fashioned ‘lecture’. Whilst I recognise that not all colleagues find lecturing a comfortable experience, for many it is both familiar, and easy. It’s a pedagogical comfort zone. Something to which we can retreat when the occasion calls for it. Continue reading

#15toptips for Student-Centred Teaching 1: Trust your students and they will trust you

Teaching in higher education can be hugely rewarding experience. However, most of us teaching in higher education found our way into this role because we had previously built-up a considerable body of discipline-specific expertise via our research. As a landscape historian, when I first started teaching as a PhD student my first thought was to think about what I wanted to teach (content), rather than HOW I was going to teach (pedagogy). I ‘knew my stuff’ in terms of the history, but was less than confident in designing a pedagogical approach that would ensure that the students learnt what I wanted them to. Continue reading

#15toptips for Student-Centred Teaching: Introduction

At the beginning of a new year, are there reasons to be cheerful?

Welcome to the first of my SEDA blogs. I will be writing 15 blogs over the next calendar year and look forward to hearing some of your views on issues relating to teaching and learning. Continue reading

SEDA Research and Evaluation Small Grants 2017

What are SEDA small grants? 

SEDA small grants continue to be a very sought-after source of support for researchers wanting to learn more about issues associated with educational development.  They are available to provide support for research and evaluation in staff and educational development with the aim of continued improvement in the quality and understanding of educational development practices. Examples of the types of projects which have been completed span a wide range of themes including building and evaluating the impact of fellowship (Wisker, 2004); CPD habitus and the UK Professional Standards Framework (Hall, 2007); integrating the student voice into the PGCert (Peat, 2009); how to get academic peers to develop their scholarly activity (Parker and Quinsee, 2011) and developing a shared situational judgement/case-based training resource for supporting the development of Graduate Teaching Assistants in Higher Education (Mountford-Zimdars et al., 2016). Examples of previous reports can be found on the SEDA web-site. Continue reading

What SEDA means to me

I have been undertaking educational development activity for many years. For about a decade of those years I was working in nurse education and was fortunate enough to be involved in the setting up of an education development unit in a school of nursing and midwifery. In 2008 I moved into a central role in the across institution Centre for Education and Academic Practice. As with many other centres ours has changed its name over the years. I have always been fortunate to have great colleagues to work with however it was not until my move the central centre that I became aware of SEDA and its work. I went along to a conference with a colleague and presented and was suddenly part of this great community of people who were supportive, asked about your work and offered comments and suggestions. Over the few days at the conference I realised how this was a network that I really wanted to be part of and share my work as well as learn from others. Not doing things in a moderate fashion, and encouraged by Julie Hall, I jumped with both feet and offered to join the conference and events committee that just happened to have some space on it. Did I know what I was doing in terms of workload etc. no, BUT I did know this was one of the most supportive groups of people I had been able to discuss education developments with. Continue reading