HEDC provides wide-ranging opportunities for academic staff with teaching responsibilities.
We offer support from one-to-one consultancies to improving 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, contact:
Associate Professor Vijay Mallan
If you are unsure which services you require, please contact HEDC reception:
Tel +64 3 479 8492
Workshops for teachers
We have a suite of workshops covering various aspects of teaching.
Learn about and register for HEDC workshops
Assessment in Higher Education Programme
Assessment is central to the student experience at university. Since the 1970s, universities including Otago have increasingly shifted away from solely relying on end-of-course examinations towards incorporating internal assessment tasks. Subsequently, assessment has become a well-known driver of both learning and behaviour, and students often concentrate their effort into tasks that carry a grade. Assessment of student work includes both summative and formative aspects and serves a few purposes, including shaping and enhancing student learning, determining student level of achievement, and providing information for administrative decisions. The incorporation of assessment into the curriculum, however, involves several challenges, such as large classes, students’ preferences and considering short- and long-term objectives. The workshops in this programme attend to such challenges by addressing policy, theories and practical issues pertaining to this important aspect of teaching and learning. Those who attend will have a good understanding of different assessment functions and options to help them design and implement effective assessment tasks.
This programme is designed as a coherent series of seven workshops over the course of a semester. Rather than offering those workshops in isolation, the intention is to create a topic-based professional learning community (PLC) that includes academic staff from across the University who are interested in assessment. The focus in PLCs is on shared and collaborative learning for the purpose of improving teaching and student learning. Since establishing such a community requires time, registration will be for the seven sessions as a group. This is a less common approach to academic development, and while it requires greater commitment from colleagues, it also provides more opportunities for connecting with colleagues and enhancing our collective learning.
Workshops will be 1.5 hours long and held fortnightly during lunchtime (12-1.30pm)
Assessment policy at Otago
(Professor Tony Harland)
- Introductions and aims
- Otago's assessment guidelines
- Assessment in new courses
- New courses (Form 1 and 3)
- Otago's Teaching and Learning Plan
- Graduate Attributes
- Māori and Pacific frameworks
In this workshop we will examine the ‘Otago Guidelines for the Assessment of Student Performance’ and discuss the research and principles that went into the creation of the document. In part two of the workshop, we will examine what the university requirements are for new papers and paper revisions. In doing so we examine the principles of curriculum alignment to see how the various frameworks can inform assessment decisions.
Principles of good assessment practices
(Dr Navé Wald)
- Otago's principles
- Summative and formative assessment
- The assessment 'arms race'
- Frequency of assessment
- Student behaviour
Assessment should consider several short and long-term objectives. This workshop will address Otago’s assessment principles and examine more broadly what underpins the idea of ‘assessment for learning’ in higher education. Issues around assessment practices across the institution will also be explored, including in relation an ‘arms race’ in terms of high frequency of assessment items in each paper and the formation of a culture of assessment across the university that may not always be in the best interests of learning or teaching.
Feedback as dialogue
(Associate Professor Vijay Mallan)
Feedback lies at the heart of any learning experience and giving and receiving feedback is an important and integral part of teaching and learning. This interactive workshop draws on recent research on the feedback process and will explore what feedback is, the language use in feedback, and develop a critical awareness of potential conflict due to language use and cross-cultural differences. The workshop will also introduce the Feedback Expectation Tool (FET), and strategies to provide and receive effective feedback.
(Dr Julie Timmermans)
- Learning outcomes
We begin this workshop by exploring an approach for designing an aligned and coherent learning experience for students. We then examine a framework that will help us to plan the different steps in the assessment process. We will discuss how assessment can be used to help students to achieve learning outcomes while providing us with important information about our teaching. Participants will have an opportunity to apply ideas to papers or modules they are currently teaching.
(Dr Qian Liu)
- Learning outcomes and thinking skills
Multiple-choice questions (MCQs) are popular in higher education assessment practice. Compared to other types of assessment, MCQs have been regarded as being able to assess the breadth of knowledge in a relatively objective manner and with less staff input during marking. In this workshop, we discuss different types of MCQs as well as the intended learning outcomes and thinking skills being assessed. We then share some practical techniques to help participants improve the quality of MCQs.
(Dr Navé Wald)
- Higher-order cognition
- The assessment envelope
- Programme approach to assessment
Complex knowledge in assessment refers to tasks that require students to evaluate and create knowledge, and for which they should receive formative feedback. Such tasks are associated with the development of higher-order cognition, including critical thinking and problem solving. This workshop will examine benefits, challenges and trends relating to the incorporation of complex knowledge in assessment and will raise questions regarding the appropriate amount of higher-order learning students should encounter in the context of a modular degree structure.
Online assessments and academic integrity
(Professor Ben Daniel)
Online assessment enables teachers and students to monitor progress towards achieving desirable learning outcomes and enhanced learning experience. Using appropriate digital tools, online assessments can enable teachers to provide just-in-time feedback to students. In this workshop we will discuss formative and summative forms of assessments in the context of online learning, and the digital tools that can be used to support these forms of assessments online. We will also cover key issues of academic integrity relating to the design of online assessments.
The 2023 dates for the workshops are as follows:
|Assessment policy at Otago (Professor Tony Harland)||Wednesday, February 22|
|Principles of good assessment practices (Dr Navé Wald)||Wednesday, March 8|
|Feedback as dialogue (Associate Professor Vijay Mallan)||Wednesday, March 22|
|Constructive alignment (Dr Julie Timmermans)||Wednesday, April 5|
|Multiple-choice questions (Dr Qian Liu)||Wednesday, April 26|
|Complex knowledge (Dr Navé Wald)||Wednesday, May 10|
|Online assessments and academic integrity (Professor Ben Daniel)|
- Guidelines for teaching at Otago (PDF)
- Guidelines for learning (PDF)
- Otago Teaching Learning Plan 2013-2020 (PDF)
Designing courses typically involves three steps:
- 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?
- Designing the assessment – how will you assess whether your students have achieved the learning outcomes?
- 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.
- Curriculum design (Word)
- EXAMPLE Instructional alignment in course design (PDF)
- TEMPLATE Instructional alignment in course design (PDF)
- Examples of verbs for course design (PDF)
- Provision of Course and Study Information Policy Revised may 2018 (Word)
- Course outline template (Word)
The last document is designed as a template for designing your course outline and can be adapted to meet your own course requirements. Guidelines are included.
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)
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)
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)
A guide to creating flexible learning processes and environments.
Cooperative learning structures (PDF)
A practical description of some cooperative learning structures, helpful for group scenarios.