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Quality teaching

We are proud of the contact hours that we are able to offer students, both via formal teaching and by means of academic and personal tutorials.

Students are taught by permanent academic staff members for whom teaching is a primary role. Most academics are also researchers whose activity and interests enrich their teaching of students; all maintain their knowledge of international developments in their academic fields. Lecturers attached to more vocationally-oriented courses offer relevant professional/industry experience, and associated sessional and visiting lecturers contribute the insights and experiences of industry and professional practice.

The Institute’s diverse academic disciplines and associated teaching conventions mean that teaching and learning methods are wide-ranging. In humanities and social sciences courses, students will experience lectures, seminars and presentations as well as group and project work. In arts and related courses, there is greater emphasis on studio teaching and one-to-one and group tutorial support in interaction with self-directed study and technical demonstration of software and practical processes. All our undergraduates and postgraduates undertake self-directed study supported through one-to-one or group tutorials, culminating in an extended ‘independent study’ in their final year.

Teaching also involves other forms of staff/student interaction. This may include, for example, visits to exhibitions, performances, screenings and industry contexts, web-based interaction via the University’s virtual learning environment, Blackboard, and work placements.

Teaching on each 15 credit module occurs, on average, for twelve weeks. Each week’s module session lasts for a maximum of four hours, with face-to-face teaching during the session likely to vary from two to three hours, interspersed with tutor-directed team and individual learning. In arts courses, with their traditional emphasis upon self-directed study, individual contact hours may be fewer, although, conversely, one-to-one teaching will be greater than on other kinds of courses.

The Institute is committed to achieving equal access to teaching and learning for all students, including students with specific needs, and seeks to make all reasonable adjustments in support of this aspiration.

Academics, including sessional lecturers, who are relatively new to teaching undertake the University’s Postgraduate Certificate in Learning & Teaching to support their expertise; a process of annual ‘teaching peer observation’ ensures that lecturers continuously share and develop teaching best practice, and they also benefit from University and Institute staff development to support teaching currency and innovation. Students are encouraged to provide feedback on their teaching through their evaluation of modules, and via student course representatives on Course Management Committees, which meet twice yearly. Both mechanisms provide for student anonymity and offer effective means of supporting the Institute to maintain high standards.