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. 

  • Here we are delighted to share details of the projects that our 2023/24 Fellows are working on. 
  • You can also read the Final Reports of previous ITL Fellows on their completed projects below.  

John Roache

Out of the margins: harnessing methods of digital annotation as a means of amplifying the student voice

John Roache is Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literatures in English. He has published extensively on issues of textual and socio-political marginality, and is now looking to harness this work in the development of more inclusive approaches to pedagogy both inside and outside his subject area.




This project aims to explore established and newer forms of digital annotation as a means of bringing currently marginalised students into a more central, empowered, and visible position within the learning environment. In this sense, it will focus on the co-construction of a hybrid learning environment that combines the best advantages of digital and `in-person` pedagogies and, in the process, helps to facilitate a more sustained and nuanced mode of pedagogical engagement.


In the long run, the hope is that this project will not only help to increase levels of student participation across the University, but might also enable us to develop a more representative and inclusive understanding of the student voice as a whole.

Empowering Students and Building Community: The ABC Tool Kit Concept

Rachel Parker-Strak
Rachel Studd

Rachel Parker-Strak SFHEA is a Senior Lecturer in Fashion Buying and Merchandising at the University of Manchester. Rachel's scholarship activity revolves around developing pedagogy that fosters a sense of belonging and community within the higher education environment, as well as teaching and learning practice. Focusing on embedding belonging and measuring the impact this has on the student journey.

Rachel Studd SFHEA is a Reader in Design at the University of Manchester. Rachel is a Teaching and Scholarship academic so as well as her research on the pedagogy of transition into HEIs and building a sense of belonging through student community and inclusion. Building relationships with peers, the culture of their degree programme and institution throughout the entirety of their educational journey and beyond.


Our ABC Tool Kit concept takes an existing process and expands its horizons. It involves integrating a proven best practice discipline project into a versatile tool kit that can be applied across various disciplines and boundaries. It's not just about taking the basics; it's about evolving into a strategically underpinned pedagogical outcome that can be personalized and delivered effectively. At the heart of our project lies a commitment to supporting student voices. We aim to build trust, partnerships, and clarity throughout every step of their academic journey. This includes embedding skills development, promoting well-being, and enhancing employability within a structured educational scheme. Our approach ensures that these vital elements are delivered at the right time and pace for all students, fostering a sense of community and engagement right from the beginning.


The ABC Tool Kit concept represents a dynamic shift in education, one that prioritizes student voices, embraces collaboration, and fosters a deep sense of belonging. Together, we can empower students and build stronger, more connected communities within our educational institutions. We're eager to see how it can be scaled up and adapted across other faculties and different student cohorts. Our goal is to create a lasting impact on education by promoting inclusivity, empowerment, and community-building.

Adam Cooke


Developing a co-constructed toolkit for in-course academic support

Adam Cooke

Adam Cooke is a Teaching and Learning Officer for the University of Manchester Library with a focus on access and success initiatives. He is  an experienced  teacher for  over ten  years at  secondary schools  and now leads on the development of the Library’s widening participation and social responsibility contributions. He has an MA in Educational Leadership from  the University  of Manchester and is  interested in  how education can tackle social inequality including how the sector can widen access for students and educators to research and socially just best practice. 



As universities aim to tackle awarding gaps, the lived experiences of students from so called 'widening participation' backgrounds become an important area of research. This qualitative study attempts to centre the voice of students from backgrounds underrepresented in higher education through a series of focus group and interviews. How have students experienced targeted academic interventions? What are their perspectives on when, where and how this work is best delivered? The research is interested in the importance of language - how do students want to be addressed? - and what are their opinions on the ethical use of their data to design and deliver interventions?


The hope is that the research can co-create a framework of best practice for anyone involved in work around awarding gaps, widening participation and social responsibility. It is hoped that by bringing the voices of students being targeted into the centre of the conversation and decision making, it can move it closer to a more equitable system for all. 

Evaluating the Value and Impact of GTA Training and Mentoring; What is Efficient and Effective?

Dr Thomas Rodgers
Dr Claudia Henninger

Dr Claudia Henninger SFHEA is a Reader in Fashion Marketing Management in the Department of Materials and the co-lead of the Mentoring Excellence Programme which supports GTAs in achieving Advance HE fellowship.



Dr Thomas Rodgers PFHEA is a Reader in Chemical Engineering Education in the Department of Chemical Engineering and the co-lead of the Mentoring Excellence Programme which supports GTAs in achieving Advance HE fellowship.


This project will evaluate existing GTA training and mentoring programmes in the University through the experiences of some of the GTAs undertaking the training and their teaching. The project will evaluate the impact of the training on the UG learning experience, on the attitude of GTAs to their roles and understanding of their own development.


The barriers and success criteria that the GTAs impose on themselves will be analysed and guidance on how the training and mentoring can help with these will be produced.

Enhancing Confidence and Well-Being Through The Creation of a Blended Unit

Elaine Clark

Elaine Clark is a Senior Lecturer in Healthcare Management.

"I originally trained, and worked, as a professional Actress; appearing in Musical Theatre and Drama across the UK and abroad and featuring in a number of West End Productions. After ten years in this wonderful profession, I decided a change was needed and trained as a psychologist. Upon completing my training I worked with people within the NHS and whilst doing so studied part time for a PhD, graduating from AMBS in 2008.

I love working within the University and feel that I have found a space where I can draw on my earlier training and skill in both theatre and psychology to engage and empower students and to support them in enhancing their mental well-being. Within the University, I have worked as Programme Director for the BSc Management degree and became aware of increasing issues with mental well-being for our students. I therefore studied with Advance HE to identify ways to enhance well-being through the curriculum and this has become a consuming passion for me."


As part of my work to enhance mental wellbeing, and in particular, confidence, I am currently working to adapt the face-to-face unit - Communicating with Confidence - into a blended unit. One of the strengths of the face-to-face unit is the sense of belonging and community which is established within the class, a feature which emerges though the interactions and coaching which are created. When speaking with students about adapting the unit the translation of this community to an online unit is one which is often highlighted as a key challenge."


Key questions I am seeking to explore through my project are:

  • How can students be empowered to support each other online?
  • How can a real sense of a supportive community and resultant belonging be created online?
  • What are the benefits (if any) of using an online module to enhance mental wellbeing and confidence?
  • How can different student preferences and additional needs be supported online?
  • How can students be involved in the creation of this module as co-creators/designers?

Using reflective practice to build feedback literacy in UG STEM students

Alison Harvey

Alison Harvey is a Teaching and Scholarship Lecturer in Materials Science. Having previously completed a PhD and worked as a post-doctoral researcher in this field, her focus is now on the scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education. Alison teaches at undergraduate and postgraduate levels as well as providing teaching related workshops for staff in the Faculty of Science and Engineering. A significant part of her role has been the creation and development of two bespoke units for the Advanced Biomedical Materials CDT. As a part of which Alison has found an interest in introducing social science topics in STEM curricula, and the teaching of reflective practice skills in STEM disciplines.


"Reflective practice skills are a key aspect of self-directed learning and both personal and professional development. I want to find a way of teaching STEM students to use reflective practice skills to engage with the feedback they receive on their work."


The aim is to co-create a programme with students that will teach reflective practice skills as an approach to engaging with feedback, finding a way to make this work efficiently within a degree programme so that it can be implemented more widely.

Developing the interplay between ‘teacher’ and student assessment feedback literacy

Karen Beswick

Karen Beswick SFHEA is a Senior Lecturer in Education and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, working in Initial Teacher Education and other programmes across MIE. Previously as a primary (advanced skills) schoolteacher, and since her move to HE, Karen is passionate about teaching and learning, particularly in assessment and how learners make sense of feedback.


I am keen to change the relationship of typical assessment feedback from cognitivist terms where teachers give information about strengths and weaknesses of student work and how it can be improved, to a process-orientated social constructivist view of feedback where feedback processes involve students as active generators of their own understandings in using feedback from teachers (or lecturers) to guide their development."


The notion of students as partners can represent a counter-narrative to the consumer model by providing a shared and collaborative space for students and staff to work together within a framework of shared responsibilities. From the workshop design the scalability of this project is that any course (site-wide) can use student voice to identify areas for improvement in assessment feedback, and in turn create a feedback policy that enables student feedback literacy development, and hence students being able to act decisively on the advice given in a positive manner.

Janine Dixon


Widening Participation for Neurodivergent Students Through Curriculum Design (Teaching, Learning and Assessment)

Janine Dixon is a Lecturer in Fashion Technology (Digital Product Development).


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.


"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 to develop further resources for staff (delivering) and students (experiencing) teaching, learning and assessment at Manchester."

Ruby Hammer

Ruby Hammer

Embedding Commercial Awareness into the Curriculum: to make more accessible to all

Ruby Hammer SFHEA is a Senior Lecturer and the current Deputy Head of Law as well as being a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Ruby teaches both contract law and tort law and is interested in the areas of vicarious liability and employers liability in tort law as well as all things teaching and learning related. Ruby co-authors Routledge's Business Law (Routledge, 2020) and is currently working on a new edition of Routledge's Tort Law. Ruby's project aims to explore embedding commercial awareness into the curriculum.

Shazia Chaudhry


Pilot study for a digital interactive virtual lab simulator to support undergraduate practicals

Shazia Chaudhry is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences and one of two academic admissions officers for the school. Shazia is a teaching-focussed lecturer and teaches molecular cell biology to our biological sciences, medical and dental students. Shazia's interests involve social responsibility where she has organised large public engagement and widening participation events with the Manchester Museum and a digital Biodiscovery website showcasing our research.


"Thirteen 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 one and two. Students always want more sessions, but it is challenging for us to provide these due to room, timetabling and 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.

Chris Sutton

Sutton, Christopher - headshot photograph

Inclusivity and representation in digital learning materials

Chris Sutton (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.

Karen Lander

Karen Lander

A Focus on Continuing: Supporting students with resits and interruption

Karen Lander SFHEA is a Senior Lecturer in Experimental Psychology in the Division of Psychology, Communication and Human Neuroscience (School of Health Sciences). 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 and 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.


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.


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.

Glen Cooper


User-Centred Design of Teaching Evaluation for Continuous Improvement

Glen Cooper 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.

ITL fellowship project reports

Information about completed ITL fellowship projects and their outputs is available below by theme. 

Assessment and feedback

Designing smarter assessments, Prof David Schultz SFHEA

This project explores 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.

Staff assessment literacy, Sally Hickson SFHEA

Peer-to-Peer Assessment: empowering students to write their own feedback using comparative judgement and making inner feedback explicit, Jenni Rose SFHEA

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.

To co-create a programme-level strategy in order to embed inclusive assessment into the pharmacy undergraduate degree, Jennifer Silverthorne SFHEA NTF

This project utilised an evidence-based approach to develop a set of indicators of inclusive assessment, that can be applied at either a programme or course unit level. Jenny worked with a range of stakeholders to explore the student voice and develop a culture change intervention to facilitate disclosure and access to assessment support for disabled learners.

Delivering flexible and blended learning

Come watch with me: blending the synchronous 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? 

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 NTF

Supporting digital capabilities, Dr Jane Mooney SFHEA

Student “Study Expenditure” and its Alignment to the “Study Budget” in Flexible Learning, Neil Morrison

This project explores the 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 with a view to informing future adjustments to the University’s flexible learning model, and it also has implications for student well-being.

Developing a framework for online and blended learning that focusses on encouraging students to engage critically with their subject, Steve Wheeler

The aim of this project is to understand storytelling-based communication and teaching and to use the mechanisms of interactive fiction to navigate through the course design process.

Inclusive education

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. 


To co-create a programme-level strategy in order to embed inclusive assessment into the pharmacy undergraduate degree, Jennifer Silverthorne

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.

Student engagement and student voice

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

Supporting students

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.

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

Task and finish groups

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:

  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

Academic Advising Task and Finish Group

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. 

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

Contract Cheating Task and Finish Group

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).


Differential Attainment Project

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.

Enhancing the student experience

Inclusive Teaching and Learning

Teaching and learning methods

Widening participation and access to HE