University of Chester

Programme Specification
Learning and Teaching in Higher Education PGCert
2014 - 2015

Postgraduate Certificate

Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

Learning and Teaching in Higher Education [Postgraduate Certificate]

University of Chester

University of Chester

University of Chester, Main Campus. Some modules are also delivered at Warrington Campus. Other campuses under specific contractual arrangements, with appropriate site authorisation.

Other off-site provision as approved by the University's quality assurance processes for partnership provision.

Postgraduate (Taught)


Classroom / Laboratory,

2 Years

3 Years

Biannual - February - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Learning and Teaching Institute Learning and Teaching Institute

No specific subject benchmarks exist to cover this award, so the generic level 7 descriptors have been used to ensure appropriate learning outcomes.

As mentioned in section 9, the programme is accredited by the HEA.

The postgraduate certificate award is accredited by the Higher Education Academy [HEA] in line with Descriptor two (D2) of The UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and supporting learning in higher education (UKPSF). Completion of the PG Certificate entitles successful candidates to become Fellows of the HEA. 

Module HE7101 provides a credit bearing route to achieving D1 of the UKPSF.

Learning and Teaching Institute Programme Assessment Board

Monday 1st April 2013

The aims and outcomes of the programme are aligned with the mission and purposes of UC which states that the University of Chester is a learning community seeking “to encourage and nurture, through partnership and enterprise, excellence in learning and teaching, scholarship and research, for the lifelong benefit of all students and employees and members of the wider community”.  The purpose of the programme as a whole is to support and accredit professional development of staff in respect of teaching and learning.

To this end the aims of studying the Learning and Teaching award are:      

  • To provide opportunities to participants to analyse and explore the role and function of teaching and learning in higher education;       
  • To provide a knowledge base, including theories of learning, teaching and assessment for making critical judgements of performance within the HE setting;       
  • To further enhance the ability of participants to use appropriate skills of curriculum design, teaching and assessing;
  • To further the development of reflective practice and experiential learning in teaching and learning facilitation;
  • To provide a context in which participants can review their own professional needs, and plan and undertake relevant and appropriate activities to meet these identified needs;
  • To enable participants to support and contribute to the growth of the higher education learning community;
  • To embed a culture of inclusive practice in learning, teaching and assessment, and
  • To increase the flexibility of programme delivery, improve access and emphasise the increasing significance and potential of technology enhanced learning, teaching and assessment;
  • To enable participants to gain recognition from the Higher Education Academy and/or maintain ‘good standing’ through alignment of the learning outcomes to Descriptors 1 and 2 of the UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and supporting learning in higher education
  • To develop a scholarship of practice for learning and teaching in higher education and an awareness of current research in the area and its application to practice.


Knowledge and Understanding

  • Raised awareness of currentand ongoing personal and professional needs.
  • Thechanging natureof higher education.
  • Widening range of applications which can be used to assist in planning, designing, delivering and assessing higher education.
  • Theories underpinning teachingand learning.
  • Principles underpinning assessingand evaluating
  • Specific learning differences
  • The principles underpinning 'blended learning'

Thinking or Cognitive Skills
  • Application of theory into practice.
  • Synthesising of ideas
  • Critical reflection in and on practice.
  • Abstracting pedagogic theory and practice.
  • Researching and resolving issues.
  • Evidence-based practice.

Practical Skills
  • Online learning and teaching.
  • Research skills.
  • Information literacy.
  • Teaching skills – defining learning outcomes, differentiating, setting of effective tasks, questioning effectively, explaining efficiently, giving constructive feedback.

Key Skills
  • Communication; Oral andpresentation skills;Competent use of IT
  • Application of Number
  • Information Literacy and Technology; Information retrieval through extensive use of information technology
  • Improving own learning and performance: professional development is inherent throughout the programme
  • Working with others: experienced through participation in Action Learning Groups and evidenced through their written assignments which are all related to their professional role.
  • Problem solving: experienced through reflective practice and participation in action learning groups

Transferable Professional Skills
  • Working with and learning from other colleagues – multi-professional collaboration.
  • Critical reflection and development of personal and professional practice.
  • Lifelong learning

Participants studying this programme will be engaging with research and theory that is viewed as being at the forefront of professional teaching practice.  The PG Certificate comprises the following modules: HE7101, HE7102 and HE7103. The normal length of study for the PG Certificate is 2 years; the maximum length of study is 3 years.

As a transition arrangement participants who commenced their programme prior to 2013/14 will have the opportunity to complete the core modules of HE7002 and HE7003 for this year only. Thereafter individual transition arrangements will be made.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
HE7101 7 Designing and Delivering for Effective Learning 20 Comp
HE7102 7 Assessment, Feedback and Support for Learning 20 Comp
HE7103 7 Evaluation and Discipline Pedagogic Project 20 Comp

60 level 7 credits permit the participant to exit with a PG Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, providing that they have completed the core modules identified for this award: HE7101, HE7102 and HE7103.
For those students who commenced their studies prior to 2013/14, they can complete the programme by undertaking HE7001, HE7002 and HE7003.

Prospective participants are expected to be experienced professionals in their disciplines/area of work, with responsibilities for the facilitation of learning in higher education. (This might include the induction of students into 'information literacy', the use of the University's VLE, demonstrations, support teaching, mainstream teaching, etc.)

This will normally mean that applicants are graduates, thus meeting standard institutional requirements for admission to postgraduate study.  Applicants will normally have achieved a 2:2 or above in their undergraduate programme.  Where other professional qualifications are held instead, these will be considered alongside the experience of candidates on an individual basis, in accordance with AP(E)L regulations. Participants who have a contractual obligation to undertake the programme will be eligible for admission regardless of academic background. It should be noted that this may require additional support prior to commencing the programme in order to enhance the participant's prospects of a positive outcome. Any such support programme would be negotiated between the applicant and the Programme Leader and in discussion with HRMS and the employing Department.   

Where candidates can offer equivalent study or experience from elsewhere to meet the requirements of part of the programme, this will be subjected to normal AP(E)L regulations. Participants will normally be asked to undertake HE7101 but may AP(E)L HE7102 or HE7103. However, this will depend on the nature of the applicant's prior experience and will be negotiated on an individual basis with the Programme Leader.

Study of single module(s) will be available for participants wishing to export credit elsewhere or who wish to undertake the module as part of their continuing professional development.

As the programme is delivered and assessed in English, the University's standard entry level of English proficiency is required.

As mentioned in section 10, there are no specific subject benchmarks for this award but the UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and supporting learning in higher education has been used as a foundation for the design of the programme's aims, outcomes and content.

HE7101 has been accredited by the HEA at Descriptor One and leads to Associate Status of the HEA


The core route through the PG Certificate leading to Fellowship of the HEA ensures that participants have evidenced the descriptor for Descriptor two of the UK Professional Standards Framework:

Demonstrates an understanding of the student learning experience through engagement with all areas of activity, core knowledge and professional values; the ability to engage in practices related to all areas of activity; the ability to incorporate research, scholarship and/or professional practice into those activities.

Learning and teaching methods include the following:

Face to face sessions -  seminars, tutorials and workshops

On-line learning - on-line activities, discussion boards and on-line learning materials.

Independent learning - tutor directed and self directed

Experiential learning - reflecting on practice, teaching observations, presentations and demonstrations

Small group learning and teaching - Action Learning Groups, group work, scenario generated learning

Personal Academic Tutorial [PAT] structure - each participant is assigned a PAT for the duration of the programme. Where Action Learning Groups are used, their PAT will also be the facilitator. This allows for a much closer working relationship, incorporating theory and the practical nature of their teaching role.

Each participant is assigned a mentor by their supporting department. This mentor supports their development in practice, undertakes an observation of teaching, and will advise and support during the discipline-specific project as part of HE7103.

Module Number

Assessment task


HE7101 Designing and Delivering for Effective Learning

a) Reflective record

b) Additional evidence for professional accreditation



HE7102 Assessment, Feedback and Support for Learning

a) Group Designed Assessment Task

b) Case Study



HE7103 Evaluation and Discipline Pedagogic Project

a) A proposal detailing a discipline specific enhancement project 600 word equivalent, followed by a project report of 2,200

b) An essay which critically appraises a range of evaluation techniques and their effectiveness in enhancing professional practice of teaching and supporting learning.




  • Show originality in the application of knowledge, and will understand how the boundaries of knowledge are advanced through research;
  • Be able to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, and will show originality in tackling and solving problems;
  • Have the qualities needed for employment in circumstances requiring sound judgement, personal responsibility and initiative, in complex and often unpredictable professional environments;
  • Be able to defend a pedagogic position by reference to leading edge theory and practice, both generically and discipline specific;
  • Be proactive, autonomous, lifelong learners who are resourceful and reflective;
  • Have the underpinning knowledge and skills commensurate with the descriptor for standard two of the UK Professional Standards Framework, if they have followed the prescribed pathway.

Recruitment to the programme is primarily from employees of the institution in which the programme is being delivered. It is  therefore subject to the diversity and equality policies for recruitment with regards to race, gender, disability and age of that institution.

As the HE sector recognises the value to the student experience of developing not only academic staff but also those who are engaged in supporting student learning, this programme increasingly recruits from areas such as Student Support and Guidance, Learning Support Services and Learning and Information Services. HRMS are currently reviewing policies to ensure no group is disadvantaged.  In this way, the University is seeking to meet the challenge of ensuring that staff development opportunities, access to the programme and support for attendance at face to face sessions demonstrate equal opportunities for all staff groups.

At present the programme is delivered primarily via face to face sessions, with support for learning via the VLE . For domestic students, the majority of modules are delivered on Chester Campus only but delivery at Warrington could be arranged if there is particular demand.  Participants for whom English is a second language may obtain appropriate support from the learning support services.  For participants undertaking the programme outside the UK, provision for adequate support is confirmed as part of the quality assurance processes governing off site partnerships/contracts. For off-campus provision, face to face sessions are normally delivered in week-long 'blocks'. Tutorial time is built into these blocks but additional E-tutorials are also available.

This programme is essentially for internal staff development within the University of Chester. However, external applicants are considered if there are places remaining a month prior to the commencement of the programme.

The programme may be delivered 'off-campus' on approved sites.

Participants who commenced their programme before 2013/14 can also gain this award by completing outstanding modules from the previously validated PGCLTHE: HE7001, HE7002 and HE7003

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