Tag: Educational Development Unit

The Student Success Guide revisited: preparing Imperial students to thrive in a new learning culture

By Dr Tiffany Chiu and Dr Mark Anderson, Teaching Fellows in Educational Development, Educational Development Unit

The Learning and Teaching Strategy aims to “build a culture which values learning and teaching highly, rewards staff for their teaching and moves towards greater parity of esteem” between research and teaching. As with any cultural change, the language we use to share meaning and values will be an important vehicle for this transition.

To successfully navigate our rich educational landscape, students will need to be fluent in this language. Developing university-level ‘learning literacy’ early in their degree will enable students to recognise and harness the opportunities offered by our new teaching methods.

To support our students, we have introduced concepts of active learning in the recently-revised online Student Success Guide on How will you learn at Imperial, with descriptions of how these forms of learning and teaching activities might actually be experienced by learners, and why they can be valuable. We have framed this message around six broad types of learning activity that students may encounter on their degree programme. These are:

As students come to recognise these types of learning and understand the value of full participation, we hope that they will be better able to take active ownership of their education and enhance their self-efficacy. In line with the Strategy, this will create opportunities for us to work in partnership with students for knowledge creation and co-construction.

The Student Success Guide was promoted at the Fresher’s Fair this year, where a range of branded merchandise was distributed with clear signposts to the online Guide.

In alignment with the Imperial Graduate Attributes, the ultimate goal of the Success Guide is to support Imperial students to become skilled, empowered and independent graduates – specialists who are well-prepared to tackle global challenges. The Curriculum Review process offers an exciting opportunity to embed a variety of invigorating, collaborative and problem-solving learning activities that will help students along this path.

To find out more about these learning types and example activities at Imperial, visit Success Guide – undergraduate students. If you would like to discuss how you can develop effective learning environments and approaches to student support and guidance, please drop us an email.

Also, don’t forget to check out the Active Learning workshop series run by the EDU where we explore the six learning types and other active learning strategies.


Dr Mark Anderson (m.anderson@imperial.ac.uk)

Dr Tiffany Chiu (t.chiu@imperial.ac.uk)

Introducing our educational research methods materials

By Nikki Boyd, Teaching Fellow in Medical Education, Educational Development Unit

By way of supporting the Learning and Teaching Strategy in its commitment to evidence-based innovation, we have developed a series of Educational Research Methods resources to help guide those in College who might be undertaking educational research or evaluation for the first time. Currently accessible from both the Teaching Toolkit and the Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship web pages, the resources are intended to provide an introduction to, and overview of, the key issues and considerations involved in educational research and evaluation, as well as to signpost useful further reading and resources that come particularly recommended from members of the EDU team.

Our experience in supporting scientifically-trained researchers in our postgraduate programmes over the years has enabled us to identify the main challenges that can confront those new to educational research or evaluation, and the intention is that these resources can either be used to “walk” novice educational researchers though the key steps in the process, or simply be dipped in or out of as needed. By way of inspiring our colleagues to engage with new methods, we have – where possible – included recent examples of where a method has been used in an educational research or evaluation capacity at Imperial specifically. We are very grateful to those colleagues who have allowed us to reference their work in this way.

Currently these pages encompass guidance to support the early stages in the research and evaluation process, along with details of other resources and networks that might be of interest. Work on them remains ongoing, however, and we hope to have further sections relating to the process of carrying out and disseminating educational research up over the coming weeks – so please do keep checking back.

These materials are intended to benefit the whole community of staff who are likely to be engaged in educational research or evaluation over the coming years, so we would very much welcome any ideas or suggestions you have which you feel would be of value to your colleagues. If educational research and evaluation is an area of particular interest to you, you may also be keen to engage with CHERSNet – the new network for supporting the development and dissemination of educational scholarship at Imperial. Please get in touch if you would like to be added to our distribution list.

Launch of Teaching Toolkits

By Kate Ippolito, Principal Teaching Fellow in Educational Development

We are very pleased to announce the launch of Imperial College’s online Teaching Toolkit. Based on our experience of working successfully with hundreds of Imperial’s teaching staff to introduce them to educational principles and techniques and enable them to apply these to improve the effectiveness of their teaching we have designed the Teaching Toolkit to support the College-wide Curricula Review and Pedagogical Transformation process and to complement the EDU’s workshops and PG programmes.

To reflect the aims of the Learning and Teaching Strategy and target areas for development during the initial curriculum review phase the first three sections available are:

Intended Learning Outcomes
Inclusive Learning and Teaching
Assessment and Feedback

In these sections you’ll find explanations of key educational concepts, such as what makes a useful learning outcome, strategies and tips, such as how to persuade students to act on feedback and advice, including on how to make lecturing and group working more inclusive. You’ll also find inspiring yet feasible examples from Imperial teaching staff. Please take a look, share and discuss the ideas with your colleagues and let us know what you think. We anticipate that this toolkit will become a focal point for developing and disseminating high quality, supportive teaching and learning practices across Imperial.

Coming soon… the Evaluating and researching education section and more internal and external examples, along with evidence of impact including video testimonies. This resource already represents much cross-College collaborative thinking and activity; to make Imperial’s Teaching Toolkit genuinely valuable to our community of staff who teach we’d welcome your examples of effective teaching and learning and suggestions for development.