How to document evidence of effective teaching

In providing evidence of effective teaching practice staff need to document a range of areas using both qualitative and quantitative information. Importantly, no one source of data is sufficient evidence of teaching effectiveness and some of the tools and techniques available through the Centre for Teaching and Learning (e.g., MOST, Peer Review of Course Design, Peer Observation and Development of Teaching, Teaching Evaluation of Student Dialogue, etc) and suggestions provided by Ako Aotearoa in collecting evdience of learner benefit should form part of your evidence portfolio. It is important to include course/s taught, modes of delivery, numbers of students involved, and disciplinary knowledge, as well as the wider context of your teaching. The following suggested headings are drawn from the criteria for both the National Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards and the Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Awards. Notably, they reflect the pivotal role of student learning in the teaching process and the importance of demonstrating enhanced outcomes for learners:

Designing and planning for student learning
Using a variety of study resources for learning
Facilitating student learning
Assessment practices and feedback for student learning
Using evaluation to enhance teaching and learning
Scholarly activities and professional development that has influenced and enhanced teaching and learning

1. Designing and planning for student learning

a)    Learning outcomes that are clearly defined and relevant to the needs of the course/programme;

b)    Evidence the course is designed with the learners’ profiles in mind;

c)    Design of blended learning approaches (e.g., appropriately mixing study resources for the discipline and delivery mode, designing approaches and online activities where students can interact with content at a pace/place convenient to them).

Examples of evidence could include:

i)      courses developed, including learning outcomes, curriculum design, and teaching and assessment strategies;

ii)     student questionnaires or investigations undertaken to examine learner profiles;

iii)    feedback received during peer review of course design;

iv)   learning resources developed for courses.

Questions to consider:

a)    Learning outcomes: Are your learning outcomes clearly defined and relevant to the needs of the students, professional bodies and other relevant groups?  How does your course align with the graduate profile and learning goals of the wider programme?

b)    Learner profiles: How is your course designed with the learner in mind? (e.g. who are your students, what is their prior knowledge, how do you support their diverse backgrounds and needs?

c)    Online and Blended Learning: How does yourcourse support online and blended learning? (e.g., appropriately mixing study materials for the discipline and delivery mode, designing approaches and online activities where students can interact with content at a pace/place convenient to them).

2. Using a variety of study resources for learning

a)    The integration of a range of learning resource types;

b)    Content that is currentand relevant;

c)    The inclusion of digital media where appropriate;

d)    Learning materials that are well-presented and well-structured;

e)    Consideration of student workloads and learning progression within courses and through the relevant programme.

Examples of evidence could include:

i)      learning resources developed for courses;

ii)     strategies for course reviews;

iii)    course outlines and assessment timetables;

iv)   completed Student Workload Calculators;

v)    feedback received during peer review of course design.

Questions to consider:

a)    Integration: How does the course integrate a range of learning resources? (e.g. print and digital, Stream environments, relevant online resources);

b)    Currency & Relevance: How do you ensure that content is current and relevant? (e.g, frequency of content review and evidence of changes, clear identification of ‘core’ and ‘supplementary’ resources);

c)    Digital media: What types of technology are used and how are they appropriate? (e.g. for promoting active learning and accessibility, use of small bytes and reusable formats, identification of authoritative sources and innovative resources);

d)    Presentation & Structure: Is the ‘look and feel’ of content appropriate? (e.g. absence of errors, well-structured, appropriate units of learning, copyright requirements, consistency with accessibility guidelines);

e)    Workload: Is the student workload realistic? (e.g. in relation to the credit value, level of study, use of learning resources).

3. Facilitating student learning

a)    Appropriate teacher interaction including visibility, approachability and responsiveness;

b)    Fostering social interaction to encourage connections between learners;

c)    Strategies that promote student engagement with learning;

d)    Appropriate methods of teaching relevant to the discipline;

e)    Learning opportunities that are accessible to all students, especially digital resources.

Examples of evidence could include:

i)      teaching strategies, philosophy, and approaches;

ii)     activities that enhance student interaction and engagement;

iii)    examples of assessment for, and of, student learning;

iv)   purposeful use of Stream and other digital media;

v)    details of approaches leading to improved student retention and completion.

Questions to consider

a)    Teacher interaction: How do you make yourself visible and approachable to students? (e.g. availability, opportunities for interaction with you)

b)    Social interaction: How do you foster social interaction amongst the students? (e.g. opportunities for students to talk and interact with each other, how you encourage students to work together and learn from each other)

c)    Student engagement with learning:  How do you support active engagement with learning? (e.g. through early assessment, the sequence of learning activities, critical /analytical thinking, independent learning)

d)    Appropriate methods relevant to the discipline: What types of teaching methods do you use, and why? (e.g. links between the learning outcomes, teaching methods, and disciplinary practices)

e)    Access: Are the learning opportunities you provide available to all students? (e.g digital media, Stream discussion groups, support for students from diverse backgrounds).

4. Assessment practices and feedback for student learning

a)    Aligning assessment activities with learning outcomes and graduate profiles;

b)    Variety in assessments to provide a range of evidence from which to assess student learning;

c)    Intellectually challenging assessments which foster deep learning and take account of staff and student workloads;

d)    Provision of timely, clearand constructive feedback;

e)    Teacher responsiveness to evaluation of assessment practices.

Examples of evidence could include:

i)      examples of assessment for, and of, student learning;

ii)     feedback on assessments;

iii)    examples of innovative practices in assessment;

iv)   publications on assessment;

v)    feedback from peer review of assessment design.

Questions to consider:

a)    Alignment: How does the assessment align with learning outcomes and graduate profile? (e.g. alignment between the course content/teaching methods/learning activities, use of authentic and experiential learning activities);

b)    Variety: How do you use variety in assessments? (e.g. to prompt interest, creativity, connections, with real-world contexts);

c)    Challenge: Are your assessments intellectually challenging? (e.g do they enable learners to extend themselves, beyond memory recall, to deep learning and sustained engagement);

d)    Feedback: How do you provide timely and constructive feedback on assessment? (e.g. via the use of peer or online tools, regularity of feedback);

e)    Responsiveness: How do you keep students informed of their progress? (e.g. assignment tips and feed-forward comments at key stages of paper).

5. Using evaluation to enhance teaching and learning

a) Evaluation strategies used at the paper and programme level to review teaching and learning and changes implemented as a result;

b) Effective evaluation processes which are based on a range of methods and sources.

Examples of evidence could include:

i)      Feedback from students (e.g. student evaluations);

ii)     Informal feedback (e.g., from unsolicited emails and letters);

iii)    Feedback from peer review/observation;

iv)   Feedback from stakeholder/s;

v)    Programme or qualification reviews;

vi)   Evidence of student learning outcomes (e.g., student grades, retention and completion rates);

vii)  Research on effectiveness of evaluation methods.

Questions to consider:

a)    Evaluation: How do you go about reviewing the course or programme and implementing changes? (e.g. Student/peer/stakeholder feedback, use of evaluation to inform course and assessment design, use of institutional survey data);

b)    Effectiveness: How do you use different evaluation methods to inform your teaching? (e.g. different sources of evidence, range of indicators used such as peer review, student learning data, student feedback).

6. Scholarly activities and professional development that have influenced and enhanced teaching and learning

a)    Personal professional development activities have you engaged in, for both teaching and learning (internally and externally);

b)    Continuous enhancementof the course by the identification of areas for future improvement.

Examples of evidence could include:

i)      Participation in professional development;

ii)     Requests to contribute to teaching and learning workshops, seminars, mentoring;

iii)    Course / programme design and coordination;

iv)   Documentation of reflective practice;

v)    Participation in peer review as a reviewer;

vi)   Publications in teaching and learning;

vii)  Teaching and learning grants and awards;

viii) Secondment as an Academic Felow.

Questions to consider:

a)    Own learning: What professional development activities have you engaged in? (e.g. personal reflection, participation in internal (School/Institute/Department) and external (national/international) research and professional development activities)

b)    Continuous improvement: How do you ensure that your teaching continues to evolve? (e.g. identified areas for future improvement from evaluation/critical reflection/peer appraisal).

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