MEd - Higher Education Practice

Higher Education Practice

This Programme has been designed to build on the strengths of the PgCHEP and other CPD opportunities offered to staff in pursuit of teaching and learning support excellence.

It offers a certificated route for CPD, beyond the mandatory initial professional development of higher education professionals required by the University, in the form of a professional and practice-based part-time master’s degree.

All applicants will be members of staff of the University and to facilitate participants’ fluctuating workloads and priorities, the period for completion of the Master’s is flexible, although it is expected that participants will normally undertake 30 credit points per semester.

Academic Year 2021-22

Course Staff
Course Director Course Administrator
Dr Roisín CurranElaine Fairweather

New applications are invited from interested members of staff.

Programme Aims

The broad educational purpose of the MEd is to develop and recognise educators at Ulster who are responsive, student-centred, innovative, effective, reflective, progressive, developmental, scholarly, and leaders of Learning & Teaching.

The aims of the programme focus on building participant capability to:

  • navigate institutional policies, systems and practices and identify areas for enhancement;
  • further develop personal self-confidence to become active leaders within the University community;
  • proactively respond to sector factors, different positions and tensions in HE;
  • develop as solution-focused practitioners through the implementation of enhancement projects and initiatives.

Admission Requirements

To gain entry on to the programme, applicants must hold a degree [with at least 2ii Honours standard] or equivalent and recognition of achievement of Descriptor 2* (UKPSF) or above – this must have been awarded within the last five years (either through an accredited programme or an experiential route).

Applicants awarded D2 or above more than five years ago will be required to demonstrate how they have remained in good standing.

In addition, there are minimum requirements that participants must meet in terms of their work-based opportunities in order to undertake the programme and meet the assessment criteria. This could include for example, one or more of: direct engagement with learners in a HE context; leading programme curriculum design; responsibility for leading themed areas identified for enhancement.

* Recognition of achievement of Descriptor 2 (UK Professional Standards Framework) or above – awarded within the last five years* (either through an accredited programme or an experiential route) exempts participants from 60 credit points.

Completion of a further 120 credits will allow participants to achieve the MEd, however participants may exit after completion of 60 credits with a PgDHEP.

Course Structure

The MEd Programme offers seven level 7 modules: six 30-credit modules and one 60-credit module and participants can choose any combination of 120 credits for the MEd and any combination of 60 credits for the PgDHEP i.e. all modules are optional.

Participants can choose which modules to study each semester.

The modules will allow staff to apply their learning to real-life current university challenges, and assessment tasks will be authentic with the potential for short- and long-term impact.

Structure diagram

AY 2021-22 September (Semester 1) and each September thereafter
Module Title Credit Value

PHE712 Enhancing Student Experiences through Inclusive, Collaborative Partnership

30

PHE713 Enhancing Employability and Enterprise in Higher Education

30

PHE714 Academic Leadership for Enhancement in Higher Education

30

PHE715 Transforming Professional Practice in Higher Education (Negotiated Project)*

60

* this will run across the full year i.e. Semester 1, 2 and 3

AY 2021/22 January (Semester 2) and each January thereafter
Module Title Credit Value

PHE709 Enhancing Assessment Design & Feedback

30

PHE710 Developing Excellence in Learning & Teaching

30

PHE711 Leading Team-based Curriculum Design

30

Delivery Approach

The overarching learning climate intended is one in which learning is driven by a process of enquiry owned by the participants i.e. enquiry-based learning (EBL).

Starting with their own work-based contexts and with the guidance of the module tutor(s), participants will identify their own issues and questions.

They will examine the resources they need to research the topic, thereby acquiring the requisite knowledge.

This will help participants’ gain not only a deeper understanding of the subject-matter, but also the knowledge-development and leadership skills required for tackling complex problems that occur in a given HE context.

The choice of modules available allows participants to expand and plan their learning by choosing modules aligned to their own research interests and specific University/Faculty/School priority areas.

Delivery Method

All modules will be delivered fully online.

Resources and activities will be available in BBL and participants will be able to engage in self-paced learning.

In addition, there will be opportunities to connect with the Module Tutor(s) and peers during synchronous activities such as workshops, webinars and online tutorials.

The specific dates and times of the webinars are somewhat flexible and will be negotiated within each module cohort so that optimum times are selected to suit everyone’s competing commitments.

Module Outlines

PHE709 Enhancing Assessment Design & Feedback

Module Coordinator: Mr Brian McGowan

Rationale

Assessment and feedback are pivotal elements of curriculum design and will have significant impact on the student experience, the working lives of academics and the reputation of the University.

This module will promote the development and implementation of effective assessment strategies for the 21st Century; balancing the need for quality enhancement and assurance whilst reducing the burden on staff and students.

Participants will build upon their knowledge of assessment design and will situate this in the context of their own experiences.

The module will encourage the development of creative assessment and feedback methods whilst critically evaluating local assessment processes and procedures.

Aims

This module aims to:

  • enhance participants' competence and confidence in relation to designing methods of assessment and feedback for 21st Century Higher Education.
  • develop practitioners in a way that enhances their capacity to influence and challenge curriculum design decisions.

Target Audience

This module may be particularly suited to colleagues who wish to explore and adopt a range of creative approaches to assessment and feedback design to enhance the student learning experience for the 21st century graduate.

Participants will critically evaluate the current assessment method(s) within a wider programme of study; discuss potential assessment methods, and develop a rationale for the final selection of a new assessment design.

Fully worked student-facing assessment briefs, including marking rubrics will be developed, where appropriate, along with a critical evidence-based evaluation and dissemination strategy for the proposed assessment method.

Module Schedule

This module is blended and a full module schedule will be provided in the module handbook.

PHE710 Developing Excellence in Learning & Teaching

Module Coordinator: Dr Sarah Floyd

Rationale

The quality of teaching and broader educational practices are critical within higher education due to the impact they have on the student experience and student outcomes.

Excellent practice and educators are becoming increasingly, and more explicitly valued, recognised and rewarded, both locally and more widely.

The purpose of this module is to provide a framework for participants to use in shaping and articulating their professional practice, learning and development in pursuit of education excellence i.e. the Ulster Holistic Model for Shaping Professional Learning.

Through this participants should be able to maximise their potential to impact positively on the student experience and the practice of others in higher education.

Aims

The module aims to introduce participants to concepts of excellence locally and more widely and provides opportunities for them to frame their current and developing practice against priorities.

Opportunities will be provided for participants to develop narratives of their current practice and identify potential enhancements that align with discipline/ local/ national/ pedagogic thinking. Participants will be supported to identify approaches to maximise their impact on learning and teaching.

Target Audience

This module may be particularly suited to experienced educators who wish to align and develop their L&T practice with the concept of L&T excellence in HE.

Participants will write a Case Study narrative of their current practice and its impact on students supported by evidence, an underpinning pedagogic rationale, and philosophy of L&T. In addition, they will develop their Profile as an Excellent Educator and reflect on their current and future potential opportunities to influence wider practice locally and externally.

Module Schedule

This module is fully online and a full module schedule will be provided in the module handbook.

PHE711 Leading Team-based Curriculum Design

Module Coordinator: Mrs Colette Murphy

Rationale

All programmes of learning require continuous enhancement to maintain fitness for purpose.

Revalidation/evaluation of a Higher Education programme of study is a timely opportunity for course teams to collectively (re)design a programme's curriculum in its entirety.

However, research indicates that a lack of shared understanding of the term curriculum can exist across a programme, faculty and an institution.

This module will utilise an overarching Integrated Curriculum Design Framework (ICDF) to support those leading programme teams to collectively redefine the interpretation of 'curriculum' and to re-examine its three dimensions through the undertaking of a seven-staged approach to curriculum design.

The ICDF ensures all design parameters are explored, allowing course teams to pro-actively 'Design for Success'.

The underpinning ethos of the framework is Knowing, Doing and Being.

This schema is a robust and reflective design structure to ensure programme teams are empowered to create an integrated curriculum that combines: what knowledge the students should know, what skills the students should be able to do and what students should be and become as a graduate and beyond.

Aims

The module aims to:

  • Guide and empower those leading the design of programmes of learning to adopt project management principles and methodologies and work in partnership with central departments to design robust programmes.
  • Introduce leadership ideologies of motivating and influencing course teams to co-create programmes that are innovative, dynamic and prepare students to actively participate in the 21st century.
  • Critique data analytics for course design to strategically influence and shape the curriculum design and subsequent pedagogical approaches.
  • Support leaders in co-creating a programme of learning with stakeholders to ensure the curriculum supports our regional and national economy and develops participants that can live, work and contribute in a global society.

Target Audience

This module may be particularly suited to those leading the design of programmes of learning.

The target audience includes inter alia: Revalidation Unit Co-ordinators, Associate Heads of Schools, Course Directors, and other staff leading programme design.

This work-based learning module will support participants to project manage and lead the co-creation of curriculum with teaching teams, central departments, students, alumni, industry and other relevant stakeholders to develop programmes of learning that are innovative, flexible and contemporary, fit for 21st century learners, industry, and society.

Module Schedule

This module is blended and a full module schedule will be provided in the module handbook.

PHE712 Enhancing Student Experiences through Inclusive, Collaborative Partnership

Module Coordinator: Mr Richard Beggs

Rationale

The student experience is key to Higher Education's future, many institutions see students as partners and as such staff are actively encouraged to listen to their voice and engage through partnership. The National Student Survey results are the sector standard metric for quality assurance of the student experience.

As we move towards the Teaching Excellence Framework this has an ever-increasing importance. However, we have other data available to us that enables evidence-based, proactive enhancements throughout a student's journey. Inclusive practice isn't as narrow as it once was and has now expanded to include diversity from across the piece.

This module explores and encourages critical reflection on inclusive practice in supporting the student experience through engaging students as partners in all aspects of the learning and teaching journey as well as introducing a range of student partnership approaches at the individual, programme and institutional levels.

Aims

This module aims to:

  • encourage participants to take an evidence-based, pro-active and continuous approach to learning enhancement and to engage through partnership with students incorporating inclusive practices
  • develop practitioners' confidence and capabilities to lead the implementation of a student experience initiative within their sphere of influence

PHE713 Enhancing Employability and Enterprise in Higher Education

Module Coordinator: Ms Shauna McCloy

Rationale

With an increasing tendency to see higher education as a product with a price tag, there is growing interest in the extent to which academic programmes of study promote students' employability and earning power.

Employability and enterprise are relevant to all students, and at all levels of study so includes both undergraduate and postgraduate provision.

The Higher Education Academy views embedding employability as providing the opportunities to develop knowledge, skills, experiences, behaviours, attributes, achievements and attitudes to enable graduates to make successful transitions and contributions, benefiting them, the economy and their communities.

This module encourages through the engagement of key stakeholders, the development of strategies, practice and ecosystems and that can be used to improve the employability levels of students and graduates upon leaving Higher Education.

Aims

This module aims to:

  • Encourage practitioners to develop and implement flexible and dynamic approaches that facilitate embedding employability and/or enterprise in higher education.
  • Develop participants' confidence to share and disseminate practice in forums which facilitate a collaborative knowledge exchange and enhancement for practice.

PHE714 Academic Leadership for Enhancement in Higher Education

Module Coordinator: Dr Roisin Curran

Rationale

The overall aim of this module is to offer insight into the ongoing climate of change and challenges within Higher Education, with the expansion of student numbers, changes in funding for student places, increased marketization, student choice and continuing globalisation of the sector.

Learners are working in a range of situations that require complex decision-making and inspirational leadership, possibly without clearly defined responsibilities, and without the official authority of line management.

It will require the development of a range of skills and reflection on curriculum design from new perspectives as well as the appreciation of how to exercise influence and enable positive change by engaging with colleagues across organisational structures in a range of ways.

Participants will critically evaluate a range of current leadership models and approaches, while developing planning, decision-making and leadership skills to manage challenges within their disciplinary, institutional and national contexts.

They will also focus on approaches to: inspire colleagues in their practice; act as mentors; provide support in this capacity to both staff and managers; contribute to quality enhancement and ensure an excellent student learning experience.

Aims

This module aims to:

  • enable learners to develop critical insights into interpersonal and intrapersonal dynamics;
  • enable learners to critically evaluate relevant theories, principles, models and perspectives;
  • enable learners to apply theoretical models to specific work-based situations.

PHE715 Transforming Professional Practice in Higher Education (Negotiated Project)

Module Coordinator: Dr Amanda Platt

Rationale

A Higher Education Practitioner undertakes a diverse range of complex activities, which require on-going enhancement and development in order to remain contemporary and fit for purpose.

This module provides participants with the opportunity to lead and undertake a practice-based action research project, particularly appropriate in an education context where learning and teaching issues can be seen as 'wicked problems'.

This approach is a tool for professional practitioner development as in addition to evaluating actions, it should raise questions, change and challenge the assumptions that underpin practice, and contribute to a professional evidence-base to advance the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Aims

The aim of this module is to develop participants' capacity to undertake leadership of strategic pedagogic enhancement initiatives that will improve students' learning experiences through the process of researching their own practice.

Participants will be supported to carry out an action research project within their own HE context which will be the product of four areas of concern:

  • Concern for student needs;
  • Concern for self-development;
  • Concern for institutional priorities;
  • Pursuit of intellectual interest.