Nick Bunyan and Stuart McGugan visit XJTLU

We recently spent two weeks at XJTLU supporting new staff with the Certificate in Professional Studies (CPS) in Learning and Teaching programme. The visit was hard work, but a very rewarding and stimulating experience.  Working with colleagues at the XJTLU Learning and Teaching Enhancement Office we were given a new purpose-built teaching room in the new ‘hub’ central building on the campus.

The visit consisted of:

  • Two introductory sessions about the  CPS programme.
  • 16 learning and teaching workshops.
  • Eight presentations/professional dialogues.
  • General support for questions and queries about the programme.
  • Wider discussions with  managers to discuss how XJTLU could develop its support for learning and teaching as the institution grows and develops.

Reflections on the programme delivery  

The workshops were well attended and typically consisted of between 12 and 24 staff. Giving participants time early in a workshop to get to know each other works really well in this context. Many staff are very new to the institution and can have limited opportunities to meet and discuss learning and teaching issues with peers.

Continue reading Nick Bunyan and Stuart McGugan visit XJTLU

CPD for Educational Research

A new series of CPD workshops, run by Educational Development, has been introduced this semester. The series aims to support staff who are interested in investigating learning and teaching practice.

The focus of the series is the development of participants’ skills and knowledge in educational/pedagogical research. These lunchtime workshops have proved very popular, with the first session, ‘Ethics in Educational Research’ being fully-booked. This seminar provided an opportunity for participants to consider some of the ethical issues that might arise in their research.

Colleagues in the University presented information on the process of applying for ethical approval, and shared their experiences of undertaking an educational study. Following the presentations, there was an opportunity for questions and discussion. A short video related to processes and procedures for ethical approval is available as well as a presentation on sharing practice. A recent introductory workshop on questionnaire and survey design for educational research was second in the series. It was a very useful session that aimed to show participants how to avoid common pitfalls in sampling and question design.

A few places are still available for the next workshop which takes place on 19 November. The topic is an introduction to quantitative data analysis in educational research. If you are interested in this session, please go to to book your place. The series will continue in the second semester, with a focus on qualitative research methods for educational studies. Please look out for further details in the University announcements, or contact me at if you would like to be added to our mailing list.

Janis McIntyre

The University has a new Academic Integrity Policy in operation from September 2013

On the 11th October the Centre for Lifelong Learning hosted a ‘packed and lively’ lunchtime symposium on the Academic Integrity Policy. The event was designed both to support staff who have a role in learning and assessment in implementing the Policy and to gain feedback on the Policy to inform any refinements.

Described by Warren Barr of the Liverpool Law School as “radically different”, the new Policy aims to shift the focus more on to supporting students master good academic practices and learn from their mistakes, rather than simply punish students for failure to comply with the requirements. Introducing the session, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Kelvin Everest explained why changes are necessary, highlighting, in particular, the increasing diversity of the student body and the numbers of students entering university without the experience or understanding of the norms of sound academic practice.

It was also acknowledged that making changes is not a straightforward endeavour and not without its controversies. Warren, who is Faculty Lead for Humanities and Social Sciences (Student Experience and Curriculum Quality), outlined the five categories contained within the Policy and explained the important distinction between Poor Academic Practice (categories A and B) and Unfair and Dishonest Academic Practice (categories C, D & E). Staff were then shown how to use the Policy based on the category of behaviour identified.

Continue reading The University has a new Academic Integrity Policy in operation from September 2013

Awarding certificates in Lahore

The awarding of certificates was the highlight of this visit by Centre for Lifelong Learning (CLL) staff to the University of Health Sciences (UHS) in Lahore, Pakistan.  A total of 71 certificates were presented by Richard Weyers, Head of the British Council in the Punjab, to medical educators who had taken part in, or taught on, programmes run at UHS with support from CLL staff.

For the last three years Janet Strivens and Ian Willis have been visiting UHS to work with local staff to design and deliver programmes for staff at different stages of their teaching careers.  The Introduction to Medical Education (IMT) is a non-accredited course for staff who are just starting to have teaching responsibilities; probably the equivalent of Graduate Teaching Assistants or very new academic staff at the University of Liverpool (UoL). The Certificate in Medical Education (CMT) is UHS accredited and assessed and is for teaching staff who have secured permanent posts and have significant teaching responsibilities.

This is an innovation in Pakistan where there are relatively few opportunities for medical educators to receive training for their teaching roles.  There is also a jointly developed Masters in Health Professionals Education; no awards were made for this programme but most of the local staff who taught on the IMT and CMT are studying for their Masters. During the week, two cohorts of IMT and one of CMT were running, almost entirely facilitated by local staff previously trained by Janet and Ian who spent their time supervising and supporting the facilitators.  That’s a total of seven local staff in teacher/facilitator roles, plus the mentors on the CMT programme.

Continue reading Awarding certificates in Lahore

ASPIRE Symposium 2013

On 13 September I attended a symposium at the University of Exeter that aimed to provide an opportunity to share practice in relation to the continuing professional development of staff who teach (ASPIRE is the name of the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme at Exeter).

As the member of the Educational Development team who is leading on the implementation of the University of Liverpool Teaching Recognition and Accreditation (ULTRA) Framework, it was interesting to hear how colleagues are addressing CPD in their own institutions. The focus of the day was the successful implementation of accredited CPD schemes, and there was a lot of interesting discussion and debate in the breakout sessions. One of the main themes was the need to explore ways in which staff can evidence excellence in teaching, and the role that a CPD Framework can play in supporting staff to do this effectively. Other key issues included:

  • the importance of ensuring that Frameworks for CPD are located firmly within existing University structures
  • the need to involve all staff who support learning and teaching, including lecturers, professional services staff and technical support staff
  • the potential for recognition through accredited CPD Frameworks to be linked to promotion criteria

The universities represented at the symposium are at varying stages of the development and implementation of their CPD schemes. Some are at the early stages of gaining support for the idea from senior management, while others had recently had their scheme approved at institutional level, and accredited by the Higher Education Academy (HEA). Here in Liverpool, the details of the ULTRA Framework are being finalised currently, and we have been working with a small group of staff to ensure support will be available within each Faculty. We hope to submit our Framework for HEA accreditation this semester, and to recruit the first cohort of applicants for ULTRA Fellowship soon. Please contact me at the Centre for Lifelong Learning if you would like further Information.

Janis McIntyre, ULTRA coordinator, Educational Development Division, Centre for Lifelong Learning

The Academic Advisor

The University has recently approved an updated Academic Advisor Framework. As highlighted in the Student Charter, all students at the University of Liverpool will be assigned a named academic member of staff as their Academic Advisor.

An associated handbook for Academic Advisors has also been produced which describes the role of the Academic Advisor and outlines the additional support that will be offered within schools and departments. The handbook has been developed by colleagues from the Centre for Lifelong Learning, in consultation with academic staff, professional services staff and representatives from the Liverpool Guild of Students. It sets out the minimum engagement expected by Academic Advisors. Schools and departments will provide supplementary information on the additional support provided to students and to academic advisors within their discipline. The handbook will be updated to include this information.

A new web page on Academic Advising is available on the Educational Development website at:

The website includes:

  • A link to a brief video introduction on the role of the Academic Advisor.
  • A copy of the Academic Advisor Handbook 2013-14. School specific versions of the handbook will be made available from this web page.
  • Information on the range of academic and additional support services that are offered to students at department, school and institutional level.

Self-Directed Learning in Health Programmes

Last week a multidisciplinary group of health professionals gathered in the School of Health Sciences to explore how clinical placement practice enables and encourages students to become Self-Directed Learners.  A third-year student group also participated sharing their perceptions and experience of this learning approach.

The University hosts this annual CPD event, which is co-ordinated by the School of Health Sciences Practice Placement Working Group. The event is for Practice Educators, Clinical Tutors, Mentors and Practice Education Facilitators, who work with Health Sciences colleagues to mentor, support and assess Health Sciences students when they are on placement in clinical practice across the region.

We started by considering key principles, characteristics and frameworks of Self-Directed Learning.   Implications for academic practice included an exploration of learning activities and assessment practice, facilitated by Elspeth McLean, Staff Development Office and Jaye McIsaac, Educational Developer. The session was well received and evaluated by a group of engaged and enthusiastic participants, who said they enjoyed the focus of the presentations, the contributions of the students, and the opportunities for discussion of key issues with colleagues and students. This is a good example of how the University can develop and share good practice, learning from our wider educational communities, impacting programme design and practice.

First students reach the thesis stage of the University’s EdD

The University launched a fully-online Doctor of Education (EdD) programme in Higher Education in April 2011. Today, a group of 15 students from the first cohort on the programme embark on their practitioner research thesis. Many congratulations to these students who have reached this stage in their studies! The first group includes two members of staff at the University itself.

Each of these students will write a 40,000-50,000 report that chronicles an original piece of practitioner research in higher education. They will each be supported by two supervisors, one of whom is a member of staff at the University. The thesis is expected to take between one and two years for a student to complete.

The online EdD is offered by the University in partnership with Laureate Online Education. There are now around 250 students active on the programme, making it one of the largest EdDs in the country, and the largest such programme that is specifically focused on the study of higher education. Students on the programme come from across the entire world.

Dr Peter Kahn, Director of Studies, EdD

Good News and a Pat on the Back for Liverpool Academics

As University academics we are committed to our subjects and, at Liverpool at least, committed to supporting students from all walks of life to engage in the subjects we love and in doing so to help them to develop and grow in confidence and ambition. So, it’s nice when a good news story comes along that demonstrates the value of our hard work.

John Hill’s is just such a story. He started at Liverpool as a Continuing Education student with few qualifications but a passionate interest in Archaeology. John began his academic journey with a couple of Open University courses, but when he saw a leaflet for Continuing Education (CE) in a local Visitor Centre he rang us and was welcomed onto CE courses leading to a Diploma in 2003.

In his speech at the party to celebrate his success John told how he was welcomed by CE Academic Organiser Dr Jane Moore, who allocated a supervisor Dr Joan Taylor who subsequently encouraged him to take an MA. Then along with Dr Phil Freeman, Joan encouraged John to go on to take a PhD.  When Joan retired, Dr Matthew Fitzjohn and Dr Duncan Garrow took over supervision; John was full of praise for his supervisors. Meanwhile Dr Zosia Archibald, as Academic Organiser, suggested that John contribute to teaching CE courses. He has been doing so successfully (with classes of 25 plus) ever since. John now also teaches and helps to manage International Summer Schools in the Centre for Lifelong Learning. Dr Hill said:

“CE is like a doorway or entrance for people like myself to enter into higher education, especially for those that haven’t, for whatever reason, obtained previous educational qualifications.  Secondly, once the doorway has been entered CE then provides the guidance and support to further one’s own development.”

But CE is more than a group of  professional support staff – it’s also the academic staff, in this case the Archaeologists in SACE who work together with CLL to give the kind of support that helps all our students.  Now that this lovely graduation week has come to an end, it’s worth remembering that much of the success of the students throwing their hats in the air is down to the passion, expertise and dedication of university academics. Treat yourselves a huge pat on the back – and give yourself a well deserved summer break.

Best wishes,
Anne Qualter  

Zenobia Wins The Guild Staff Award

On 15th May  I attended the Guild Awards 2013 taking place in the absence of the Guild Building in the Cathedral Crypt. It was a glittering affair with everyone dressed in their finery, tables beautifully laid with delicious cup cakes made by students. The Guild Awards are mostly for student achievement, but they also recognize staff who go that extra mile.

Of the five academic staff voted by students as offering the highest level of student support, Dr Zenobia Lewis from the School of Life Sciences was the winner, receiving her award from Tom Bee, Guild Vice President. Click here to hear Zen talking about supporting students.

Prizes were awarded to individuals, groups, student societies large and small, to students who have contributed to Liverpool life in so many ways. What amazes me is the fantastic things Liverpool students do alongside their studies. They work hard to enjoy themselves (The English Soc, the Drama Soc, the Re-enactment Soc) and they work hard to entertain and educate their fellow students and the wider world (The Body Soc, The Green Schools Project, the Debating Society). Students work as volunteers in the community, raise money for charities (Liverpool Marrow, Barnardos), support international students, act as student representatives, join halls committees, are activists, entrepreneurs and protectors of the environment.

It was a real eye-opener.  I was so proud to be part of the same Liverpool as the student award winners. Great stuff!

Anne Qualter