First Steps to Supporting  Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Award (FST)

First Steps to Supporting  Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Award (FST)

FST is an Advance HE accredited module that is taught and assessed by the Centre for Higher Education Research & Practice (CHERP). It is a 20 credit module at Level 7 on the Postgraduate CPD Framework. FST provides an opportunity for post-graduate teaching assistants (PGTA) and other staff with restricted L&T roles, to develop their understanding of and practice in effective learning, teaching, and assessment.  It is offered as a stand-alone module and will be of particular benefit to those carrying out tutoring and demonstrating.

The module is long and thin in nature: this means that it is delivered over both Semesters 1 and 2 of 2020-21. We use a flipped approach to delivering the module: this means that you have materials to read and activities to complete independently, before attending the live webinar sessions. There are 5 independent learning blocks each followed by a  live session. Engagement with both the independent learning and live sessions is required.

In particular, FST supports your development and understanding of how to prepare and deliver effective learning sessions (A2) and to carry out assessment and feedback (A3) that supports learning. FST has been designed so that the learning opportunities will support your development and achievement of these. Additionally, the assessment tasks have been designed to enable you to provide evidence of your effective practice in these areas.  You are required to carry out 25 hours of teaching and/or learning support with UIster students over the course of FST.

FST introduces participants to a range of effective learning approaches and learning theory.  It provides opportunities for participants to reflect critically on their own experience both as a learner and practitioner, and to identify aspects of their own practice that could be developed and/or improved.  The pathway is mapped to Descriptor 1 of the UK Professional Standards framework. Satisfactory completion of the requirements leads to the award and conferment of AFHEA (Higher Education Academy Associate Fellowship).

FST has been designed to:

  • support the University’s Code of Practice for Postgraduate Tutors and Demonstrators
  • support the development needs of part-time tutors
  • satisfy the requirements of Descriptor 1 of the UK Professional Standards Framework for Teaching and Supporting Learning in Higher Education with particular  reference  to Areas of Activity 2 (teaching & supporting learning) and 3 (assessment & feedback).
  • take account of Ulster priorities in learning and teaching


For PGTAs :

For staff :

Followed by:

  • Online ‘First Steps  to Supporting Learning and Teaching in Higher Education’ module – you must engage with all materials and live sessions over both Semesters 1 and 2
  • 25 hours tutoring and/or demonstrating within HE
  • Completion of all supporting tasks
  • Assignment submission

Indicative dates for 2020/21 are as follows:

Semester 1


12th October 2020

Independent block 1

26th October 2020

Live group tutorial 1

2nd November 2020

Independent block 2

16th November 2020

Live group tutorial 2

23rd November 2020

Independent block 3

30th November 2020

Live group tutorial 3

7th December 2020

Drop in tutorial

Submission of Assignments 1& 2 (14th December 2020)


Semester 2: Week beginning


11th January 2021

Independent block 4

25th January 2021

Live group tutorial 4

15th February 2021

Independent block 5

1st March 2021

Live group tutorial 5

15th March 2021

Drop in tutorial

Submission of Assignments 3 & 4 (12th April 2021)

To  apply for First Steps in 2020-21, please complete the relevant application form:

Further Information -

Key Contacts:

Richard Beggs

Vicky Davies

Amanda Platt

Course Administrator: Elaine Fairweather

Introduction to Teaching and Learning for Post-Graduate Teaching Assistants and P/T Tutors

Session is compulsory for all PhD researchers who teach

This session provides:

  • Key information regarding the role of PGTA and the Code of Practice for PGTAs
  • Introductory guidance on delivering effective sessions and assessing students.

Places on the above course should be booked via PhD Manager