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Programme for teachers

HEDC provides wide-ranging opportunities for academic staff with teaching responsibilities.

We offer support from one-to-one consultancies to improve aspects of teaching or academic life at Otago, through to online self-help resources and more formal staff development workshops.

If you have questions about teaching, email Dr Vijay Mallan at

If you are unsure which services you require, please email HEDC reception or phone 64 3 479 8492.

Useful documents

Guidelines for teaching at Otago (PDF format, 300 KB)

Guidelines for learning (PDF format, 171 KB)

Otago Teaching Learning Plan 2013-2020  (PDF format, 3.01 MB)

Designing courses

Designing courses typically involves three steps:

  1. Determining the learning outcomes – what should your students know and be able to do by the end of your course or paper? How do these outcomes relate to the graduate attributes for the degree programme?
  2. Designing the assessment – how will you assess whether your students have achieved the learning outcomes?
  3. Determining the teaching methods that will be used – what will students do so they achieve the learning outcomes?

The key to effective course design is to have alignment between what you aim for students to learn, and how you teach and assess.

Planning your teaching: Curriculum, course design and delivery

The following video explains the process of course design. It is about 40 minutes long, but there are places where you can pause and apply the principles of course design to your own teaching. If possible, watching with a group is better than viewing it on your own. With pauses for activities and discussion it would take 1.5 hours. Below are handouts to refer to while you watch this video.

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Curriculum design (Word format, 32 KB)

EXAMPLE Instructional alignment in course design (PDF format, 104 KB)

TEMPLATE Instructional alignment in course design (PDF format, 75 KB)

Examples of verbs for course design (PDF format, 19 KB)

Course outline template (Word format, 53 KB)

The last document is designed as a template for your own information and can be adapted to meet your own course requirements.  Guidelines are included. 

Teaching methods

The following information relates to communicating to large groups. If you would like information about facilitating group work in a two-way exchange, you will find some useful guides and information in the tutoring and demonstrating section.

Lecturing – small changes, big difference (PDF format, 467 KB)
This comprehensive guide offers an overview of important aspects such as planning and organising lectures, being in touch with your students’ learning processes and designing lecture handouts.

Creating respectful learning environments (PDF format, 107 KB)
It is important to create motivation for students to learn. Although not everything will be interesting to everyone, creating wide appeal will engage more students more thoroughly.

Teaching in diverse classrooms (PDF format, 107 KB)
A guide to creating flexible learning processes and environments.

Cooperative learning structures (PDF format, 92 KB)
A practical description of some cooperative learning structures, helpful for group scenarios.


Principles of assessment

What and how students learn depends on how they think they will be assessed! There are two main types of assessment:

  • Formative – used to improve teaching and learning; gives feedback
  • Summative – to grade students or to accredit. Note that for summative assessment, it should be criterion-referenced, which determines how well each student has mastered or developed the knowledge and skills (rather than norm-referenced – which gives the relative standing of students).


Guidelines for the assessment of student performance