The Institute of Teaching and Learning coordinates and supports a wide range of projects designed to enhance our teaching excellence across the University. On this page you will find details of and updates on ongoing projects, summaries and results from completed projects and information about how you can get involved in future teaching and learning projects.
Institute Fellows are colleagues from across the University who are working with the Institute on short term projects that will support the University in achieving its goals in teaching and learning.
- Here we are delighted to share details of the projects that our 2022/2023 Fellows are working on.
- You can also read the Final Reports of previous ITL Fellows on their completed projects below.
Widening Participation for Neurodivergent Students Through Curriculum Design (Teaching, Learning and Assessment)
Janine Dixon is a Lecturer in Fashion Technology (Digital Product Development) at The University of Manchester
"I hope to join the dots in terms of the support and resources already available at the university to ensure they are easy for students and academic advisors to find, as well as develop further resources for staff (delivering) and students (experiencing) teaching, learning and assessment at Manchester. "
The project aims to widen participation for neurodivergent students and to better understand their needs, as well as celebrate their strengths. It will look at the student experience of our neurodivergent learners to highlight what we are doing well on and what can we improve further on.
To co-create a programme-level strategy in order to embed inclusive assessment into the pharmacy undergraduate degree
Jenny is an academic pharmacist, having previously worked in the NHS as a pharmacy education and training specialist. Jenny’s work focusses on authentic learning, where she is particularly interested in implementing novel teaching and learning interventions, understanding the “hidden curriculum” and developing assessments that test what learners can do rather than what they know. Jenny works with national stakeholders such as Health Education England and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in modernising pharmacy teaching, learning and assessment.
" My project on inclusive assessment (with a focus on disability) has two workstreams of “evidence” and “engagement”. "
Utilising an evidence-based approach, Jenny will develop a set of indicators of inclusive assessment, that can be applied at either a programme or course unit level. Jenny will then explore the student voice, working with a range of stakeholders to develop a culture change intervention to facilitate disclosure and access to assessment support for disabled learners.
Peer-to-Peer Assessment: empowering students to write their own feedback using comparative judgement and making inner feedback explicit.
I am a Senior Lecturer in Accounting in AMBS who loves questions! I am a qualified accountant with strong links to the professional accounting bodies and business world. I enjoy teaching accounting through the lens of sustainability on large (600+) undergraduate as well as MBA courses. I aim to empower students to become independent connected engaged learners. I run teaching excellence debriefs, sharing best practice to enable lecturers to make the most of their teaching time with students. I also work as a freelancer in wellbeing, preventing burnout, time management and professional skills.
Active feedback empowers students to write their own feedback using comparative judgement and making inner feedback explicit. I’m working on applying this idea using a variety of comparators, sharing my work through a series of workshops and writing up a journal article to spread the word."
Once set up this idea requires minimal teacher input, increases student agency as well as increased satisfaction with feedback.
Embedding Commercial Awareness into the Curriculum: to make more accessible to all
I am one of the Senior Lecturers at Manchester and the current Deputy Head of Law as well as being a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I teach both contract law and tort law and am interested in the areas of vicarious liability and employers’ liability in tort law as well as all things teaching and learning related. I co-author Routledge’s Business Law (Routledge, 2020) and am currently working on a new edition of Routledge's Tort Law. I have recently been appointed as a University of Manchester Teaching Fellow and my project is related to commercial awareness.
Pilot study for a digital interactive virtual lab simulator to support undergraduate practicals
I’m Shazia Chaudhry and I’m a Senior Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences (part of FBMH) and one of two academic admissions officers for our school. I’m a teaching-focussed lecturer and so teach molecular cell biology to our biological sciences, medical and dental students. My interests involve social responsibility where we have organised large public engagement & WP events with the Manchester Museum and a digital Biodiscovery website showcasing our research.
" 13 years ago I started developing a virtual lab to help with our practical teaching and this has evolved from videos to an immersive virtual lab simulator. every student in our school (around 3,500 students) undertakes mandatory practical units each semester in years 1 & 2 . Students always want more sessions, but it is challenging for us to provide these due to room, timetabling & staff constraints. "
As we now move towards a blended and flexible learning format, we provide equal delivery hours for in-person laboratory practicals and online practicals. The virtual lab simulator would allow us to deliver our online practicals in an immersive 3D lab environment, using browser-based 3D C.G.I. and to add value to the student learning experience. Whilst we are starting with the biological sciences, we are collaborating with other colleagues across the university so we can help develop simulations for other programmes with practical components.
Developing a framework for online and blended learning that focusses on encouraging students to engage critically with their subject
I've always been fascinated with the visual arts and grew-up wanting to be an artist - an unusual life choice for a native of Splott, Cardiff, but it developed in me a critical way of looking at the world. I eventually found my way to the more prosaic career of graphic design, working for some years designing printed educational resources. When the World Wide Web arrived I saw its potential for teaching and learning and set about making a nuisance of myself at the various institutions that employed me, helping them realise the potential of the online environment. Along the way I've picked-up an enormous amount of experience and expertise.
Through stories we can understand the world around us, and when we help students learn we help them create their own stories by following a narrative we set in motion.
When learning developers help teachers build a course, together they embark on a joint narrative. The aim of this project is to understand this storytelling-based communication and use the mechanisms of interactive fiction to navigate through the course design process.
Inclusivity and representation in digital learning materials
Chris (he/him) has a PhD in History and has published and taught extensively on imperialism, politics and culture, before joining the University of Manchester in 2021 as a learning technologist for the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health. As a researcher, teacher and now learning technologist, he strives to be an ally, dedicated to challenging dominant narratives and systems of inequity and discrimination, particularly in education.
There are considerable disparities in health and healthcare for ethnic minority groups, fat people, older adults, people with disabilities, transgender people and women. These disparities are true not only for patients but also regarding outcomes and obstacles faced by healthcare students and staff. One reason for these disparities is that for much of healthcare education, the ‘normal body’ as presented in teaching materials is that of the White, slim, young, non-disabled, cis-gendered male.
This project will make advances in this area, by collating existing teaching resources and working with people from underrepresented communities to create new ones that authentically reflect the diversity of human life. All outputs will be made open-access for the widest possible impact on health education and patient safety at the university and beyond.
A Focus on Continuing: Supporting students with resits and interruption
Karen has been a Senior Lecturer Senior Lecturer in Experimental Psychology in the Division of Psychology, Communication & Human Neuroscience (School of Health Sciences) since January 2002. While very much enjoying research (with a particular interest in in aspects of face recognition) she is also Co-Director of the MRes Cognitive Neuroscience & Neuropsychology and MRes Experimental Psychology with Data Science, and is very enthusiastic about improving students’ teaching and the learning experience. Through her initiatives in teaching and learning, for example through curriculum development and the creation of an academic advising programme, Karen is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
" It is essential that we support our students to make the most of these situations, as part of an inclusive approach to teaching and learning. "
This project will build on Karen's existing expertise as both a Programme Director and Academic Advisor to consider how best to support students during resits and periods of interruption.Having failed an original assessment, students with resits may lack academic confidence, may find it difficult to admit failure, and may not seek advice on how to turn failure into success. The aim is to identify good practice in student support with a view to improving student continuation.
Student “Study Expenditure” and its Alignment to the “Study Budget” in Flexible Learning
Neil is a Lecturer in Mathematics (School of Natural Sciences). His research involves modelling composite materials and the optimization of material properties for improved performance in industrial applications. He lectures in applied mathematics, including financial and actuarial units. Neil is also the Senior Academic Advisor and the Student Support and Welfare Tutor in mathematics
" I intend to investigate mechanisms to monitor the student workload ("study expenditure") and its relationship with the “study budgets” in the university’s implementation of flexible learning for 2021-22. "
The key outcome will be an enhanced understanding of good practice in defining and applying study budgets, and in supporting students in managing their own learning schedules. This will potentially inform future adjustments to the university’s flexible learning model, and it also has implications for student well-being.
User-Centred Design of Teaching Evaluation for Continuous Improvement
Glen is a Reader in Medical Engineering and Design in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering. He has worked in academic research for over 20 years to develop novel medical devices and understanding the biomechanics of disease and clinical treatments which has led to several patents, nominations for an IET innovation award and over 50 journal papers in the area of biomechanics and medical engineering.
" I am keen to improve teaching quality through understanding user needs, which links to his research in user-centred medical device development. "
Applying a user-centred design approach to try to understand the important requirements for what makes good and bad teaching by engaging with key stakeholders - students, lecturers, industry and others. Through this user-centred approach it is hoped that some areas of best practice can be identified to both improve measurement of teaching quality and enable the sharing of best teaching practice across the university.
Information about completed ITL fellowship projects and their outputs is available below by theme.
Designing smarter assessments, Prof David Schultz SFHEA
This project will explore aspects of assessments such as design, delivery and supporting effective student engagement, with a focus on creating resources and guidance to support staff in developing inclusive, authentic assessments which are less vulnerable to forms of academic malpractice such as collusion and contract cheating.
- Read Dave's ITL fellowship project report (July 2022)
- StaffNet article about Dave's project (March 2023)
Staff assessment literacy, Sally Hickson SFHEA
Come watch with me: blending the syncrhonous with the asynchronous, Dr Jen McBride SFHEA
Building on a successful trial of “watch-parties” in online teaching, this project aims to establish the critical – and causal – factors which best promote effective learning, student engagement and community in different flexible and blended learning environments. This project will evaluate the effectiveness of flexible and blended learning in different contexts, and create a broader framework to optimise our flexible and digital learning practices which brings together the very best of online and in-person teaching.
Developing an education framework for simulated learning, Dr Emma Ormerod SFHEA
This project aims to provide a flexible framework to support staff in embedding simulation as an effective teaching method, integrating an approach that deepens student learning and confidence building while supporting staff in delivering this as a new teaching method or enhancing their existing approach to simulation.
Pilot studies for a flexible, competency-based course in Quantitative Biology, Dr Thomas Nühse SFHEA
In this project, student volunteers join small-scale pilot courses to explore the boundaries of flexibility: for the best learning experience, how should we balance flexibility vs timetabling, structure vs openness and guidance vs independence? What kinds of materials, assessments, feedback and support keep students engaged and motivated in an unconventionally flexible course?
- Read Thomas' ITL fellowship project report (July 2022)
- StaffNet article about Thomas' project (March 2023)
Student use of webcams during live online synchronous teaching, Dr Craig Morley SFHEA
This project investigates staff and student perceptions and practice of webcam use and its impact on engagement and learning. It is not about coming to a decision on whether students should or should not use webcams, but on identifying strategies to support students to engage and allow staff to gauge engagement whether webcams are used or not. The project looks to use these findings to produce community-sourced / co-created profiles of recommended best practice on 1) strategies to show / gauge engagement without webcam use; 2) methods to encourage webcam use when and where appropriate.
Developing virtual labs, Dr Maria Canal SFHEA
Effective use of online discussion boards, Dr Ralf Becker
Flexible learning opportunities and applied pedagogy, Prof Jen O'Brien PFHEA
Supporting digital capabilities, Dr Jane Mooney SFHEA
Accessible by design: developing inclusive pedagogies, Dr Wendell Kimper
This project will look at how we can change our approach to teaching to remove barriers to access for disabled students, with a particular focus on harnessing the innovations that have taken place during the pandemic to create more inclusive learning environments.
Students as course creators on a new independent study course unit, Dr James Brooks
This project involves the creation of a course unit where students independently research a topic of their choosing and build high quality, inclusive learning material for it. More broadly, my vision is for students to use the independent study unit to forge a path for those that follow. We can use this to guide both the specific topics we teach within disciplines and our more general approach to blended learning. Through this course the student gets the option to explore a topic of their choice, to take ownership of their learning, and to see their learning very directly through the eyes of a teacher. Lecturers get rich feedback from the students and a direct and clear path to integrate the student voice into the curriculum.
Student-staff partnership in teaching and learning design, John Owen SFHEA
Developing a peer support scheme to support the transition of an articulated programme, Dr Li-Chia Chen SFHEA
Li-Chia’s project aims to develop and pilot a staff-facilitated, peer-support scheme for international students on a newly launched articulated programme, the dual-degree BSc Clinical Pharmacy (2+2+1) programme between the China Pharmaceutical University and the University of Manchester, from September 2021. The project will pilot a co-designed peer mentoring scheme to enhance international students' learning experiences and help them reach their potentials without being disadvantaged by estrangement, cultural backgrounds and learning styles.
- Read Li-Chia's ITL fellowship project report (July 2022)
- StaffNet article about Li-Chia's project (April 2023)
Providing effective support to WP students from applicaiton through to end of year 1, Dr Emily Cooksey
This project aims to look at the support needs of students joining from Widening Participation backgrounds. By focusing on the bridging support between admissions and joining departments, the aim is to provide transitional support to enable our WP students to hit the ground running with their studies and provide them with an effective welcome to the university.
Academic advising: lived experiences of students and staff, Jennie Blake PFHEA
Academics in residence and support for commuter students, Dr Nick Weise PFHEA
Developing learning interventions, Steven Broom
As well as supporting our Institute Fellows, the Institute is called upon to lead teaching and learning projects with colleagues from across the University in task and finish groups, to support the delivery of teaching and learning enhancements in line with the goals set out in the Teaching and Learning theme of Our Future, the University's Strategic Plan.
Since our launch in October 2019 we have undertaken work on the following:
- Student outcomes - academic advising, work-integrated employment, co-curricular opportunities, peer support, student engagement and student voice
- Assessment and feedback - contract cheating, assessment literacy and inclusive assessment
- Curriculum development - curriculum design models, equality, diversity and inclusion, interdisciplinary learning, internationalisation and research-integrated learning
- Working environment - progression and promotion, reward and recognition, peer observation and review, effective working cultures, staff development and creating headroom
Between July 2020 and February 2021 the Academic Advising Task and Finish Group (AATFG) oversaw an evaluation of the effectiveness of our Academic Advising practices. To help us do this, we participated in an international project (with OneHE and Peer Review Portal) that helped us survey our practice and benchmark our performance against participating HEIs from around the globe. The outputs included a SWOT analysis and a set of recommendations. The resulting Global Review Action Plan is being taken forward by the Senior Advisors' Network.
- Chair: Professor Peter Green, Vice-Dean (Teaching, Learning & Students) in the Faculty of Science and Engineering
- Secretary: Emma Sanders, Teaching and Learning Officer (Academic Development)
- Group membership and Terms of Reference
- Report of the Academic Advising Task & Finish Group (February 2021) (pdf)
The AATFG reported to the Teaching and Learning Engagement Forum (TLEF) in 2021.
The Contract Cheating Task and Finish Group (CCTFG) met between April and September 2020, tasked with looking into what support was required for both staff and students about the extent and consequences of ‘Contract Cheating’, within the broader context of awareness and training around Academic Integrity.
- Chair: Prof Judy Williams PFHEA NTF, Director of the Institute for Teaching and Learning
- Secretary: Emma Sanders, Teaching and Learning Officer (Academic Development)
- Group membership and terms of reference
The CCTFG reported to the Teaching and Learning Engagement Forum (TLEF).
- Contract Cheating Toolkit
- We need to talk about contract cheating, TEA blog post (21 September 2021)
The Differential Attainment Project preceded the creation of the Institute of Teaching and Learning, and coordinated a series of pilot projects and interventions between March 2017 - March 2019.
CHERIL Grant Award Projects
The University's former Centre for Higher Education Research, Innovation and Learning (CHERIL) ran a competitive research grant open to University of Manchester staff and enabled colleagues to promote teaching and learning excellence through research and the sharing of best practice, to enhance the student experience by ensuring distinctive graduate attributes and global awareness and to understand and inform sector developments and higher education policy. CHERIL awarded up to fourteen grants per academic year of up to £20,000 each between 2014/15 and 2016/17.
- Public engagement and cultural professionals' mentoring in course assessment and feedback by Kostas Avarantis (School of Arts, Languages and Cultures).
- Transition to University as a nursing student by Steven Pryjmachuk, Bernie Hannity, Janet Ellis, Jane Griffiths and Caitlin McWilliams (School of Health Sciences).
- The Bridge to Higher Education: A case study using the Fashion SOC as the scaffold (2016) and Transition into University: Fashion and Materials SOC – Case study (2015) by Rachel Studd and Gianpaolo Vignali (Department of Materials, School of Natural Sciences).
- Nurture through transition by Sam Aston (The University of Manchester Library).
- Mindfulness: The Phase One Medics Perspective (2015) by Sarah Shepherd and Claire Mimnagh (Division of Medical Education, School of Medicial Sciences) and Interventions to promote mental health in professional students (2016) by Sarah Shepherd, Claire Mimnagh, Jo Hart and Mary Walsh (Division of Medical Education, School of Medicial Sciences/Counselling Service).
- Student Open Access Research (Appendices) by Simon Bains & Frances Pinter and Publishing and research learning for students by Simon Bains (The University of Manchester Library).
- "It is not the easy option people think it is”: A focus group/action research study of the experience of live at home students in the Manchester Medical School and the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work by Shaun Speed, Pip Fisher, Dianne Burns and Sarah Calvert.
- Projects with the ‘E’ factor: a model for innovative interdisciplinary final year projects to enhance the student experience and employability by Maggy Fostier and Carol Wakeford (Faculty of Life Sciences).
- Outputs resulting from the project - ‘Summer internships – what works? Evidencing impact of undergraduate quantitative skills from the University of Manchester Q-Step Centre’s Pilot Year’ by Jackie Carter.
- What makes an Inclusive Learning Environment?, by Cath Prescott.
- Creative methodology to explore the social problems of hearing loss in marginalised communities by Sheila Fidler, Jenna Aston, Diane Harris.
- Creating inclusive learning environments through 'We Get It' student Ambassador programme by Cath prescott (School of Health Sciences/Equality and Diversity team).
- Understanding and supporting International Students PGT outcomes by Juup Stelma and Susan Dawson (School of Environment, Education and Development).
- Predicting Student Success: Assessing the relationship between student engagement and attainment by Hannah Maltby, Dan Swain and Sami Karamalla-Gaiballa.
- Maximising academic potential by optimising support for students returning to university following industrial placement and interruption by Michelle Keown and Tracey Speake.
- Flipped Teaching by Angela Davies, Andy Brass, Mandi Banks-Gatenby and Diane Harris (School of Health Sciences/School of Environment, Education and Development).
- Learning Through Resources by Claire Fox (School of Social Sciences).
- Across the Divide: How can University-school partnerships influence academics' pedagogic practice? (2016) by Lynne Bianchi, Peter Green, Sophina Choudry (School of Engineering/School of Environment, Education and Development) and Mind The Gap -a year 2 project building on the findings of the 'Across the Divide' project (2017) by Lynne Bianchi (School of Engineering).
- Video and Rich-Media Resources in HE Engineering Education by Martin Gillie, Fiona Saunders and Andrew Gibson.
- Talk about Medicines: an evidence-based approach for teaching and learning by Kurt Wilson and Sarah Collins (Division of Medical Education, School of Medical Sciences).
- Developing peer assisted student support for eLearning students by Roger Harrison (School of Health Sciences).
- Defining and measuring the behaviours of transformational educators by Dianne Burns and Judy Williams (School of Health Sciences/School of Medical Sciences).
- Evaluating Field-based Learning: Multidisciplinary Mobile Mapping Methods by Chris Perkins.
- Students in public (SIP): Establishing processes for publishing and disseminating student research in the context of course unit delivery by John Zavos (School of Arts, Languages and Cultures).
- Unpacking links between learning gains, learning styles and achievement amongst 1st year pharmacy students at Manchester Pharmacy School by Sarah Willis, Harsha Parmar, Victoria Silkstone and Zubin Austin (Division of Pharmacy and Optometry, School of Health Sciences).
- Learning Criminology Inside: Prison based Criminology instruction at Manchester - Shadd Maruna (School of Social Sciences).
- EDriNet The Educator Driven Network by Jennifer O'Brien (School of Environment, Education and Development).