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

FST is an Advance HE accredited short course that is taught and assessed by the Learning Enhancement Directorate within Ulster University.

The module is accredited by Advance-HE and leads to Associate HEA Fellowship (AFHEA) for successful participants.

FST provides an opportunity for post-graduate teaching assistants (PGTA) and other staff with more limited learning and teaching roles** to develop their understanding of and practice in effective learning, teaching, and assessment. It is offered as a stand-alone short course and will be of particular benefit to those carrying out tutoring and demonstrating.

** Hourly-paid teaching staff and those from partnership centres should undertake the RUT programme

The course is long and thin in nature: this means that it is delivered over both Semesters 1 and 2 of 2023-24 (October to May). The FST induction will be held online on 6 October 2023 at 11am.

We use a hybrid approach to deliver the course: this means that you have materials to read and activities to complete independently, before attending the live online sessions. There is also in-person support through a subject advisor who will be an experienced HE educator in your field and opportunities to meet peers and the FST team on campus for coffee catchups.

There are 5 independent learning blocks each followed by a live online session. Engagement with both the independent learning and live sessions is required. You are required to carry out 25 hours of teaching and/or learning support with UIster students over the course of FST.

In particular, FST supports your development and understanding of how to teach and/or support learning through appropriate approaches and environments (A2) and to assess and give feedback  for learning (A3).

FST has been designed to:

  • support the University’s Code of Practice for Postgraduate Tutors and Demonstrators
  • support the development needs of contracted staff, for example Research Associates, who teach
  • satisfy the requirements of Descriptor 1 of the Professional Standards Framework (PSF 2023) with particular  reference  to Areas of Activity 2 (teach and/or support learning through appropriate approaches and environments) and 3 (assess and give feedback for learning).
  • take account of Ulster priorities in learning and teaching

Additionally, the assessment tasks have been designed to enable you to provide evidence of your effective practice in these areas.