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Teaching support

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

HEDC workshops for teachers 2017

To register for any of the workshops below go to the HEDC workshop registration page.

Copyright in lectures and lecture slides March 9 1.00-2.00pm
Authors' rights for authors who write to be read March 21 1.00-2.00pm
Copyright in lectures and lecture slides March 22 1.00-2.00pm
Providing quality feedback March 29 2.00-3.30pm
Planning teaching sessions and short courses to motivate and enthuse students May 3 1.00-4.00pm
Using evaluations to improve teaching May 4 1.00-3.00pm
Planning your teaching: course design June 2 9.00-11.00am
Designing courses with strong links between research and teaching August 1 12.00-2.00pm
Teaching for understanding: Planning your teaching for lectures and small group teaching August 18 9.00-11.00am
Planning your teaching: course design September 21 1.00-3.00pm
Teaching international students: good practice ideas October 20


HEDC graduate attribute workshop series 2016-2017

Workshop on... Workshop coordinator Date
Introductory workshop Kerry Shephard 3 May 2017, 11.30am-12.45pm
Global perspective - Appreciation of global perspectives in the chosen discipline(s) and the nature of global citizenship Kerry Shephard 1 November 2016
Ethics - Knowledge of ethics and ethical standards and an ability to apply these with a sense of responsibility within the workplace and community Kerry Shephard TBA
Environmental literacy - Basic understanding of the principles that govern natural systems, the effects of human activity on these systems, and the cultures and economies that interact with those systems Kerry Shephard TBA
Interdisciplinary perspective - Commitment to intellectual openness and curiosity, and the awareness of the limits of current knowledge and of the links amongst disciplines Clinton Golding TBA
Lifelong learning - Commitment to the on-going acquisition of new knowledge and new skills, and an ability to apply these to an ever-changing environment Tony Harland TBA
Scholarship - Commitment to the fundamental importance of the acquisition and development of knowledge and understanding Tony Harland TBA
Communication - Ability to communicate information, arguments and analyses effectively, both orally and in writing
(Embedding communications skills in teaching)
Vijay Mallan 18 October 2017, 12.00-1.00pm
Critical thinking - Ability to analyse issues logically, to challenge conventional assumptions, to consider different options and viewpoints, make informed decisions and act with flexibility, adaptability and creativity Clinton Golding TBA
Cultural understanding - Knowledge and appreciation of biculturalism within the framework of the Treaty of Waitangi; knowledge and appreciation of multiculturalism; and an ability to apply such knowledge in a culturally appropriate manner Vivienne Anderson, Mark Brunton and Karyn Paringatai

12 October 2017, 1.00-2.30pm

and another TBA

Information literacy - Ability to apply specific skills in acquiring, organising, analysing, evaluating and presenting information, in particular recognising the increasing prominence of digital-based activity Ben Daniel TBA
Research - Ability to conduct research by recognising when information is needed, and locating, retrieving, evaluating and using it effectively
(Teaching Students as Researchers)
Tony Harland 15 June 2017, 10.00am-12.00pm
Self-motivation - Capacity for self-directed activity and the ability to work independently Kerry Shephard TBA
Teamwork - Ability to work effectively as both a team leader and a team member (Peer Learning – what, why and how?) Rob Wass 30 October 2017, 2.00-3.30pm