Online resource for learning and teaching

CHERP has developed a pilot online learning and teaching (L&T) resource called SupporTaL. This online repository is designed to extend and enhance staff opportunities to share examples of effective L&T practice and to benefit from each other’s ideas and approaches.  The SupporTaL will provide an important evidence base to inform the learning and teaching activities across the University and will complement the Learning and Teaching Strategy (2013/14 – 2017/18). Importantly, it will also provide individual members of staff with an opportunity to disseminate their practice across the institution and evidence their engagement with the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL).

Communities of practice (CoP) are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly (Wenger 2006, 1). In his keynote address on communities of practice at the 2014 CHERP Annual Conference, Torgny Roxa recommended that the growth of and engagement with a CoP can be encouraged with the use of artefacts produced through SoTL as ‘transferrable objects of knowledge’ (Martensson, 2014); with the development of Ulster’s CoP in mind, the SupporTaL provides an important opportunity for the members of our CoP to easily access, share and critically comment on each other’s activities and findings. Full references are listed at the bottom of this page.

We introduced the SupporTaL at the CHERP Festival of Innovative Practice (June 2014) and the feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive. CHERP is currently developing a new website that will encompass the SupporTaL.

In the interim pilot phase, all staff are invited to submit case studies for the SupporTaL and are also encouraged to view and comment on the site and/or case studies. Please note that the SupporTaL is staff password protected.

Call for SupporTaL Contributions (Open Call)

The call for SupporTaL contributions is now open for activities that have enhanced staff practice, the student experience and/or that are innovative. Examples of practice/activity might include:

  • activities that have helped to develop students’ knowledge, skills and confidence;
  • the use of technology-enhanced learning;
  • introducing new ways of providing feedback to students;
  • production of learning materials for the international delivery of modules;
  • working with colleagues across Schools and Faculties to produce co-curricular modules;
  • working in partnership with students, or colleagues in schools and colleges.

SupporTaL case studies are intended to provide colleagues with a concise overview of L&T related activities that have been undertaken and can include links to associated publications or resources that exist elsewhere. Importantly, these flexible online artefacts can be updated in the event of further developments or additional evidence of impact. The SupporTaL site (see link at top of page) already contains a number of exemplars of the types of case studies and information that are required for inclusion in the resource.

Submission Process

During the pilot phase, submissions will be via electronic form (see link at top of page) in word document format. All submissions should be emailed to with ‘SUPPORTAL SUBMISSION’ in the subject line. Receipt of submissions will be acknowledged within 7 days and will be uploaded to the SupporTaL on a first come, first served basis. Please note that submissions may be returned for amendments.


If you experience any problems logging into the site or have any other queries/comments please contact Dr Amanda Platt (


Mårtensson, Katarina (2014) Influencing teaching and learning microcultures. Academic development in a research-intensive university. Doctoral Dissertation, Faculty of Engineering, Lund University, Sweden.

Torgny Roxa (2014) Communities of Practice – opportunities and pitfalls when used for organisational development. Keynote address at the CHERP 3rd Annual Conference, 23 January 2015.

Etienne and Beverly Wenger-Traynor (2015) Introduction to Communities of Practice: a brief overview of the concept and its uses