Teaching & Assessment
While recognizing the diversity in effective teaching practices, there are some common aims and principles.
Generally, university teaching aims to enable students to reach their highest possible level of learning
during their time of enrolment, and to prepare them for lifelong learning. Courses should challenge students
to think by motivating them to learn and encouraging them to develop their own ideas and approaches to problems.
Teaching encompasses a wide range of activities including one-to-one consultations, postgraduate supervision,
classroom teaching, supervising students' practical experience in laboratories, clinics, schools and industry,
supervising projects, advising students, assessing students' work, preparing teaching and course materials for
on and off-campus students, and contributing to course design and improvement and to curriculum development.
a) Course content and management
Students can expect that academic staff will:
- Select the most appropriate content for their courses, given the intellectual and professional needs of the students.
- Regularly review the course content and focus and revise as required using feedback from a variety of sources.
- Ensure conformity between announced course objectives and what is taught and tested.
- Provide opportunities for and receive and respond to feedback during the course.
- Provide students with information about their performance so as to enable them to improve the quality and level of their learning.
- Use established procedures, such as the Class Representative System, for seeking feedback from students on matters affecting their studies and involve them, where appropriate, in decisions and discussions which affect their studies.
- Provide a range of activities in the overall course, such as lectures, practical work, reading and assignments.
- Ensure that courses comply with University and Faculty guidelines on workloads in relation to credit the value, the level of difficulty, class contact and recommended individual study time, and assessment.
- Make reasonable attempts to avoid conflicts with the requirements of other courses.
All staff who teaches students should be aware of and respect the educational goals, policies and
standards of the University. Further, they should be effective role models and exhibit to their students
a commitment to scholarly goals by drawing on a high level of competence and expertise in particular disciplines,
together with well-developed communication and interpersonal skills.
Students can expect that academic staff will:
- Encourage student involvement in their subject.
- Be well-organised and prepared for class.
- Speak in a way that is appropriate and understandable.
- Keep abreast of developments in their disciplines and/or professions by grounding their teaching in research and practice.
- Select methods of instruction that, according to research evidence (including personal or self-reflective research), will help students to achieve the course objectives.
- Treat topics which students are likely to find threatening or discomforting in an open, honest, and sensitive manner.
- Contribute to students' academic development, at least in the context of the teacher's own areas of expertise, and avoid actions, such as exploitation and discrimination, which detract from student development.
- Relate lectures to any required and suggested readings.
- Given the size and content of courses offered, provide sufficient office hours and other means for
student queries, academic advice, outside scheduled lecture, laboratory or tutorial times. Academic staff needs to ensure they are available during these times.
- Endeavour to create a comfortable, non-threatening atmosphere within their classes, enabling students to request clarification and to debate with each other or their teacher.
- Interest in the progress of students.
c) Laboratory classes, tutorials and field work
Laboratories, workshops, tutorials, seminars and field work are often the only structured time where students at DPU are able to meet with academic staff, tutors, sessional assistants and fellow students and contribute in an interactive environment. As such they are valuable parts of any course.
Students can expect that staff will use their best endeavours to ensure that:
- These classes will be designed to contribute to their understanding of course material, and increase their interest in the subject.
- These classes will be coordinated with the lecture programme and the overall course objectives.
- These classes will run at a pace such that diligent students are able to understand the material taught in the session.
- Tutors/supervisors will be prepared for sessions, be familiar with material taught in lectures and be able to clarify readings.
- Tutors will be able to guide discussion without monopolizing it, and will encourage participation and expressions of different opinions.
- Clear health and safety instructions will be given to all students before starting class activities, including laboratories and field trips.
- Laboratory and workshop equipment will be of high quality, reliable, safe and regularly checked.
The assessment provides an evaluation of the student's competence in meeting specified objectives, and is an essential part of the educational process in that assessment can be designed to facilitate learning. Properly selected assessment tasks signal the importance of particular content, concepts and skills, can influence approaches to study and help students to allocate their time appropriately. Effective assessors select from a range of methods, using a combination of methods which meet the criteria of validity, fairness, and appropriateness for subject goals, which must be specified.
Students can expect that:
a) Setting assignments, tests and examinations
- Appropriate numbers and types of assessments will be set which are:
intended to improve students' understanding of concepts and principles;
relevant to overall course objectives;
and generate a valid reflection of student learning.
- Assessment criteria should be made explicit and available to all students. No student should receive advantages over another in relation to the time and resources provided.
- Assignment instructions and questions will be specific and unambiguous.
- Students will be able to raise problems or queries relating to the mode of assessment with relevant teaching staff.
- The amount of time required for an average student to complete a piece of assessment will correspond with the assessment's contribution to the final mark for the course.
- Assessment should be relative to the time, work and intellectual achievement required for other assessment in the course.
- Marking procedures are fair, consistent, and known to students.
- Guidelines on marking procedures, external assessment, moderation of the setting and results of assessment will be established by departments and faculties and clearly explained so that students know and understand those procedures and what is expected of them.
- Work will be returned promptly, in a reasonable time, and well before the next related piece of assessment is due. In courses with final examinations, all internally assessed work will be returned well before the exam and in any event no later than one month after the assessment was due.
- After the marking and grading of coursework and tests, constructive feedback will be provided. Model answers should be provided in subjects where they are appropriate.
- All incidences of suspected plagiarism and cheating should be reported to the Head of Department for investigation.