Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer
Search the Staffnet siteSearch StaffNet
Search type
Purple image with heading of Projects

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

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. 

We are delighted to share details of the projects our 2021/2022 Fellows are working on below.  You can also now read the project reports of our inaugural cohort of ITL Fellows (2020/2021).  

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.

Developing a peer support scheme to support the transition of an articulated programme, Dr Li-Chia Chen

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.

Providing effective support to WP students from application 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. 

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. 

Come watch with me: blending the synchronous with the asynchronous, Dr Jen McBride

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. 

Student use of webcams during live online synchronous teaching, Dr Craig Morley

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. 

Pilot studies for a flexible, competency-based course in Quantitative Biology, Dr Thomas Nühse

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? 

Developing an education framework for simulated learning, Emma Ormerod

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. 

Designing smarter assessments, Prof David Schultz

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.  

Task and finish groups

As well as supporting our Institute Fellows, the Institute is also leading on a number of other teaching and learning projects with colleagues from across the University in task and finish groups. The task and finish groups will support the delivery of teaching and learning enhancements across four themes:

  1. Student outcomes - academic advising, work-integrated employment, co-curricular opportunities, peer support, student engagement and student voice
  2. Assessment and feedback - contract cheating, assessment literacy and inclusive assessment
  3. Curriculum development - curriculum design models, equality, diversity and inclusion, interdisciplinary learning, internationalisation and research-integrated learning
  4. Working environment - progression and promotion, reward and recognition, peer observation and review, effective working cultures, staff development and creating headroom

Theme 1: Academic advising

The Academic Advising Task and Finish Group (AATFG) will oversee an evaluation of the effectiveness of our Academic Advising practices. To help us do this, we are participating in an international project (with OneHE and Peer Review Portal) that aims to help institutions survey their practice and to benchmark their performance against participating HEIs from around the globe. 

The AATFG reported to the Teaching and Learning Engagement Forum (TLEF) in 2021.

Theme 2: Addressing contract cheating

The Contract Cheating Task and Finish Group (CCTFG) is looking into support required for staff and students about the extent and consequences of ‘Contract Cheating’, in the context of awareness and training on Academic Integrity. 

The CCTFG reports to the Teaching and Learning Engagement Forum (TLEF).


Completed projects

Details of completed projects including findings and outputs will be updated here as they become available.

Differential Attainment Project

The Differential Attainment Project ran from March 2017 to March 2019.

CHERIL Grant Award Projects

The University's former Centre for Higher Education Research, Innovation and Learning (CHERIL) supported developments in teaching and learning by conducting original, rigorous educational research into pedagogy, policy and practice in higher education. The CHERIL Grant Award was a competitive research grant open to University of Manchester staff and enabled colleagues to undertake a research project into aspects of teaching, learning and the student experience. CHERIL awarded up to fourteen grants per academic year of up to £20,000 each from 2014/15 to 2016/17.

The grant facilitated research into aspects of teaching, learning and the student experience in higher education. CHERIL grant award projects contributed to the delivery of the University’s strategic objectives 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.

Enhancing the student experience

Inclusive Teaching and Learning

Teaching and learning methods

Widening participation and access to HE