University of Chester

Programme Specification
Learning and Teaching in Higher Education MA
2021 - 2022

Master of Arts

Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

University of Chester

University of Chester

Parkgate Road

Postgraduate (Taught)


Classroom / Laboratory,

6 Years

6 Years

Biannual - February - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Centre for Academic Innovation and Development Centre for Academic Innovation and Development

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 19, the intermediate award of PG Certificate is accredited by Advance HE.

The postgraduate certificate award is accredited by Advance HE in line with Descriptor 2 of the UK Professional Standards Framework for Teaching and Supporting Learning in Higher Education (UKPSF). Completion of the compulsory modules for the PG Certificate (HE7101, HE7202, HE7203) entitles successful candidates to become Fellows of the HEA. 

Module HE7101 is accredited by the HEA in line with Descriptor 1 of the UKPSF, and provides a credit bearing route to achieving Associate Fellowship of the HEA.

Participants who have gained Senior Fellowship of the HEA (D3) can gain academic credit for their application via HE7105.

Learning and Teaching Institute Module Assessment Board

Monday 1st April 2013

The purpose of the programme is to support and accredit professional development of staff in respect of teaching and learning. To this end the aims 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, supervision and assessment, for making critical judgements of performance within the HE setting;
  • to further enhance the ability of participants to use appropriate skills of design, teaching, assessment of learning, and supervision of research;
  • to further the development of reflective practice and experiential learning in teaching and support of learning;
  • to provide a context in which participants can review their own professional needs, and plan and undertake relevant and appropriate activities to meet those 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;
  • 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 Advance HE 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;
  • to facilitate application of key skills to the practice context of teaching, learning and assessment;
  • to provide learning opportunities for participants to develop their skills and understanding in specialist areas of teaching and learning support;
  • to enable participants to undertake critical evaluation of research into learning and teaching in higher education;
  • to provide opportunities to conduct small-scale research and development projects;
  • to allow for the development of one extended piece of independent educational research.

At the PG Certificate stage, the development of participant's knowledge and understanding is scaffolded by the UK PSF, as indicated here in brackets:

HE7101 (AFHEA)

  • The principles underpinning sound design and planning of learning activities and/or programmes of study (A1)
  • Theories and methods for teaching and supporting learning (A2)
  • Appropriate methods for teaching, learning and assessing in the subject area and at the level of the academic programme (K2)
  • Ways of including individual learners and diverse learning communities (V1)

HE7202 & HE7203 (FHEA)

  • Theories and methods for assesing and giving feedback to learners (A3)
  • Principles underpinning effective learning environments and approaches to student support and guidance (A4)
  • Approaches to understanding how students learn, both generally and within their subject/disciplinary area(s) (K3)
  • Effective use and value of appropriate learning technologies (K4)
  • Principles underpinning equality of opportunity for learners (V2)
  • Strategies for incorporating research, scholarship and evaluation of professional practice into teaching (A5)
  • Methods for evaluating the effectiveness of teaching (K5)
  • The implications of quality assurance and quality enhancement for academic and professional practice with a particular focus on teaching (K6)
  • Making effective use of evidence-informed approaches and the outcomes from research, scholarship and continuing professional development (V3)
  • The wider context in which higher education operates and the implications for professional practice (V4)

At the PG Diploma stage, the programme builds knowledge in the following areas

  • Enhanced knowledge of technology enhanced learning, teaching and assessment (HE7107);
  • Advanced knowledge about a specific area(s) of learning, teaching and/or assessment in response to an identified development need (HE7009);
  • Leadership in HE (HE7105);
  • Sustainability in HE teaching and learning (HE7204);
  • Inclusive teaching practices in HE (HE7205);
  • Enhanced understanding of research methods and approaches pertinent to a higher education setting (HE7004);
  • Enhanced knowledge of research supervision practices (HE7106).

At the MA stage, the programme develops knowledge and understanding in the practice of educational research (HE7010).

All modules encourage the development of the following skills

  • Application of theory into practice 
  • Synthesising of ideas 
  • Critical reflection in and on practice
  • Research and professional inquiry for evidence-informed practice 

At the PG Certificate stage:

HE7101 (AFHEA)

  • Design and delivery of effective teaching/learner support sessions (HE7101)

HE7202 & HE7203 (FHEA)

  • Use of technology to support learning (HE7202)
  • Giving effective feedback to students (HE7202)
  • Good practice in pedagogic research/teaching and learning enhancement (HE7203)

At the PG Diploma stage:

  • Advanced skills in using technology to enhance learning, teaching and assessment (HE7107);
  • Development of skills in research supervision (HE7106);
  • Project management skills (HE7009);
  • Skills for conducting educational research and inquiry (HE7004, HE7009);
  • Leadership skills to enhance practice in specific areas (HE7105);
  • Inclusive teaching practice (HE7205);
  • Good practice in sustainability (HE7204).

At the MA stage:

  • Project management skills (HE7010)
  • Enhanced knowledge and research skills from undertaking a dissertation which enhances current literature and/or practice (HE7010)

All modules

  • Critical reflection and development of personal and professional practice
  • Working with and learning from other colleagues
  • Appropriate resources for developing teaching practice in Higher Education
  • Methods for evaluating teaching, learning and assessment practices

At the PG Certificate stage:

HE7101 (AFHEA)

  • Communication with students in the teaching environment 

HE7202 & HE7203 (FHEA)

  • Giving effective feedback to students (HE7202)

At the PG Diploma stage:

  • Online communication with students (HE7107)
  • One-to-one communication in the context of research supervision (HE7106)
  • Inclusive communication skills (HE7205)

At the MA stage:

  • Communication in an extended piece of writing reporting the findings of a research project

All modules

  • Written communication 
  • Oral presentation skills
  • Verbal communication within groups 

Participants studying this programme will be engaging with research and theory that is viewed as being at the forefront of professional teaching practice.  This begins with the PG Certificate, which is accredited by Advance HE as aligning with Descriptor two of the UK Professional Standards Framework. The PG Diploma stage comprises the core modules HE7101, HE7202 and HE7203 and three of the option modules HE7004, HE7009, HE7105, HE7106, HE7107, HE7204, HE7205. This is complemented by a 60 credit dissertation for the MA award. The normal and maximum length of study for the MA is 6 years.

Participants at the PG Diploma stage will be building on the knowledge and skills introduced at the PG Certificate stage to develop their own practice, and also to lead and develop others. They will be dealing with complex issues in a systematic and creative way, demonstrating originality in problem solving and change management in a rapidly changing environment. 

Participants will be able to access other modules from across the University if they can justify that the learning outcomes contribute to the overall programme aims of the PG Diploma Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. Participants wishing to undertake modules from other programmes in the University should gain approval from the programme leader prior to enrolling on such modules. The programme leader will need to be satisfied that firstly, the module outcomes are appropriate for the programme aims, and secondly, that the content does not represent significant overlap with modules already or yet to be undertaken from this programme.

Participants who prepare a successful application for Senior Fellowship of the HEA may submit that application for academic credit in module HE7105. The academic standard of the application must meet the pass criteria on the level 7 marking criteria in order to gain credits. This is made clear to participants as the HEA process itself is not set at a particular academic level.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
HE7004 7 Research Methods in Higher Education 20 N/A
HE7009 7 Negotiated Experiential Learning Module 20 Optional
HE7010 7 Dissertation Module 60 Comp
HE7101 7 Designing and Delivering for Effective Learning 20 Comp
HE7105 7 Developing Practice for Teaching and Supporting Learning 20 Optional
HE7106 7 Developing in Research Supervision 20 N/A
HE7107 7 Technology Enhanced Learning Teaching and Assessment [Online] 20 Optional
HE7202 7 Supporting HE Students and Assessing their Learning 20 Comp
HE7203 7 Influences on teaching in Higher Education 20 Comp
HE7204 7 Sustainability in teaching and learning 20 N/A
HE7205 7 Exploring Inclusivity in Higher Education 20 Optional

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, HE7202 and HE7203. 

120 level 7 credits permit the participant to exit with a PGDiploma in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, providing that they have completed the core modules identified for the PG Certificate award.

180 level 7 credits permit the participant to exit with an MA in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, providing that they have completed the core modules identified for the PG Certificate award, and HE7010.




HE7101, HE7202, HE7203

Relevant Professional, Statutory or Regulatory body (PSRB)

 Advance HE

Regulation/ requirement from which derogation sought

Internal compensation of component assessment marks (HEA) 

Rationale for derogation

The modules stated above are accredited for a professional award, and title, by Advance HE. The learning outcomes for the modules have been mapped to the relevant descriptors of the UK Professional Standards Framework. All outcomes must be achieved in order to meet the requirements of descriptor 1 or 2 and recognition as Associate or Fellow of the HEA.

The learning outcomes of all core modules of this programme are mapped to the UK PSF. As all outcomes are assessed, successful completion of all assignments will satisfy the professional body requirements.

Upon completion of the PG Certificate stage, confirmed by the Awards Assessment Board, all graduands will be added to the Advance HE 'completers' list via an online database. This will be done by the programme administrator. Participants will then be contacted by Advance HE with instructions on how to download their Fellowship certificate. For those not working at a subscribing institution at the time of completion, a fee will be payable directly to Advance HE for the award of Fellowship.

Prospective participants are expected to be experienced professionals in their disciplines/area of work, with responsibilities for the facilitation of learning in higher education. To satisfy the professional requirements linked to the core modules for the PG Cert stage, participants must be engaged in HE teaching for a minimum of 0.2 FTE for the duration of the HE7101, HE7202 and HE7203. 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.  

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, provided that they have sufficient HE teaching experience to engage with the content.

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 APEL/APCL regulations. This will be negotiated on an individual basis with the Programme Leader. 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 Advance HE at Descriptor 1 and leads to Associate Fellowship .

The core route through the PG Certificate leading to Fellowship ensures that participants have evidenced the requirements for Descriptor 2 of the UK Professional Standards Framework:

"Demonstrates a broad understanding of effective approaches to teaching and learning support as key contributions to high quality student learning. Individuals should be able to provide evidence of:

  1. Successful engagement across allve Areas of Activity

  2. Appropriate knowledge and understanding across all aspects of Core Knowledge

  3. A commitment to all the Professional Values

  4. Successful engagement in appropriate teaching practices related to the Areas of Activity

  5. Successful incorporation of subject and pedagogic research and/or scholarship within the above activities, as part of an integrated approach to academic practice

  6. Successful engagement in continuing professionalmdevelopment in relation to teaching, learning, assessment and, where appropriate, related professional practices."


Learning and teaching methods include the following:

Face to face sessions -  seminars, tutorials and workshops

On-line learning - on-line activities 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

Blended learning - a combination of the above techniques, with a signficant proportion of the work for each module being online guided study.

A formative assessment opportunity is offered for each module, either in the form of a draft submission or class/online activity.

Summative assessments for modules at the PG Diploma stage are based on a mixture of written and practical or presentation exercises, depending on the modules chosen.

Summative assessments for the MA stage are based on extended pieces of academic writing.

Graduates from this programme will

  • meet the required HESA standard for recording a 'teaching qualification', and have the underpinning knowledge and skills commensurate with the Descriptor 2 of the UK Professional Standards Framework, on completion of the core modules at the PG Certificate stage;
  • 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;
  • Have thorough knowledge and understanding of aspects of HE teaching particularly relevant to their current role;
  • Have the knowledge and skills to undertake research and professional inquiry in HE;
  • Be able to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, and will show originality in tackling and solving problems;
  • Be proactive, autonomous, lifelong learners who are resourceful and reflective.
  • Have undertaken an independent research project.

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 may recruit from areas such as Student Futures, Learning and Information Services and Careers and Employability, provided that those staff are involved in teaching or support of learning at an appropriate level, as specified in section 26.  

1) This programme is only available to staff at the University of Chester and its partner institutions. 

2) Requirement to introduce a hybrid delivery model of learning, teaching and assessment 

The University of Chester is taking steps to mitigate the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, whilst ensuring an excellent academic experience for our students. During the 2021-22 academic year, it is anticipated that the University will deliver programmes of study in a mode of blended online and face-to-face sessions. This statement describes how this will be implemented and should be read in conjunction with section 28 of this document and section 11 of the module descriptors associated with this programme. 

The hybrid model has been designed to safeguard the interests of students whilst upholding the University’s academic standards. This ensures that students can engage in high quality learning and teaching to support them to achieve the learning outcomes for this programme, irrespective of the prevailing conditions. 

a) Learning and teaching methods: The mix of live, asynchronous, online and face-to-face activities will vary by module, according to the content. Teaching observations may be conducted face-to-face where it is safe and practical to do so: where this is not possible, remote observations will be offered instead.

b) Engaging students as partners: Adopting a hybrid model of delivery will result in a different type of learning experience for many students. In order to ensure that ensure that all students are able to benefit from this, the University is seeking to engage students early and often to ensure that we continue to serve their needs appropriately. The programme team will consider the experiences of previous students and seek to incorporate their feedback to improve students’ online learning experiences. Students will have opportunities offer feedback on their experience, either directly or through their cohort representatives, throughout the programme. 

c) Assessment: Assessments are designed so that they can be completed remotely in the event that access to the participant's usual site is restricted. 

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