Constructing research methods and statistics teaching

Dr Lotte Meteyard, School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences


Statistics teaching to Speech and Language Therapists within the Department of Clinical Language Sciences was redesigned in response to module evaluations. Whereas students had previously reported anxiety about statistics and struggled to appreciate the relevance of statistics to their practice, the introduction of formative learning activities which integrated statistics teaching with other module content produced a reduction in anxiety about statistics, a benefit to students’ grades, and an increase in student module satisfaction with their statistics training.


  • Increase the opportunities for students to consolidate and revisit knowledge of key concepts.
  • Make explicit links within and across the teaching content to clinical practice.
  • Provide learning activities, outcomes and objectives that are clear to students.


The Research Proposal (PL3RPR) module is compulsory for all Part Three undergraduate and taught postgraduate students within the Department of Clinical Language Sciences. The module provides research methods and statistics teaching, and during the module students plan a research module and complete an ethics application, with these being used for their dissertations. Feedback, however, revealed that students found the statistics lectures confusing and poorly related to other module content. Having teaching provided by a number of staff members contributed to the module having a fragmentary nature.


In order to increase the opportunities for students to consolidate and revisit knowledge of key concepts, technology, multiple practice and collaboration were focused on in order to create frequent, meaningful activities for students to complete. Lecture handouts were provided separate from the lecture slides in order to encourage engagement during lectures, and practical activities were used to teach basic quantitative concepts and research design. During activities, analyses of data was completed as a class, and formative exercises were set each week, involving a short reading and answering focused questions on that reading. These assessments were revisited at the start of each lecture in order to feedback and discuss answers to questions. In labs, written instructions were replaced with short videos demonstrating how to complete particular procedures. Worksheets required students to write out results and answer questions about the interpretation of data. The answers to these worksheets were made available on Blackboard Learn after the end of each lab class. For each week of statistics teaching an online multiple choice questionnaire was provided, offering students optional online practice in preparation for the statistics class test. Students were encouraged to have the statistical analysis software PASW or SPSS installed on their home devices to allow them to practice away from lectures.

To make explicit links within and across the teaching content and to clinical practice, the content of the module was restructured so that students were introduced to a particular concept, with this concept then being revisited in later activities. In order to build explicit links with clinical practice students were asked to identify why research skills are important for clinical work, to complete formative assessments that involved reading chapters on healthcare research or journal articles from speech therapy research. Key readings were taken from ‘real world’ sources, such as the magazine of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapy or the NHS. Reflection was encouraged through formative assignments which were discussed in the following week’s lecture. These required student to identify why healthcare research is critical to practice, critique a randomised controlled trial, and identify research designs and statistical tests in clinically relevant journal articles.

To provide learning activities, outcomes and assessment tasks that are aligned and clear to students, the learning outcomes of the module were rewritten and linked directly to the summative assessments. Three summative assessments were themselves changed so that students prepared a research proposal poster, an ethics application and a statistics class test. The research proposal poster was introduced to give practice at a professional skill and reduce the duplication of content between making the proposal and the ethics application. By making the ethics application a summative assessment, students would be assessed on something directly relevant to the completion of their project, while only minimal staff input would be required for the document to be submitted to the School ethics committee. The weighting of each piece of assessment was changed so that they contributed more evenly to the overall module mark. Learning activities were designed to support students in accessing and evaluating literature, generating research designs and statistical analyses. By providing research proposal and ethics application examples, and templates for their own on Blackboard Learn alongside detailed guidelines for completing coursework, student were encouraged to seek out supporting material independently.


Students on the module completed a statistical knowledge multiple choice questionnaire during the first week of the module and again after completing their statistics class test. They also completed the Statistical Anxiety Scale before beginning the module, and again at the end of the module. Results demonstrated that statistical knowledge increased, with students’ median score going from 11/20 before the course (with a range between 5-14) to 15/20 after the course (with a range between 8 and 19). There was also a reduction in anxiety about statistics. Results also demonstrated that there was a significant positive correlation between the number of formative multiple choice questionnaires a student completed and their final score on the statistics class test. Median marks in the class test and research proposal both improved from the previous year, with no students failing the statistics class test. Student module satisfaction also increased.


Situating the statistics and research methods teaching in practical activities and in the context of students’ professional learning was one of the most powerful changes made to the module: students responded positively to practical activities used to demonstrate statistical concepts. While full participation could not be guaranteed, enough students completed tasks to allow discussion and review of these at the beginning of each lecture.

By using technology for students to practice skills away from the classroom, students were able to increase their knowledge of statistics after the course. It was particularly gratifying to see the correlation between the number of multiple choice questionnaires completed on Blackboard Learn and the attainment of students during the statistics class test.

Having resources external to the classes available, the module convenor could be assured that students could have sufficient time and experience with concepts and software.

Use of a modified problem-based learning approach in aphasia therapy teaching

Dr Arpita Bose, School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences
Year of activity: 2011/12


9254A modified problem-based learning approach was developed and implemented in Communication Impairment 3 (PL2CI3/PLMCI3) within the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences.  While the adoption of this approach was unpopular with students on the module, there was a notable improvement in the marks achieved in exams, and this suggests that subtle modification may provide a problem-based learning approach to which students respond well, and that provides for the achievement of improved grades.


  • Implement a problem-based learning approach in aphasia therapy teaching.
  • Enable students to apply knowledge obtained through study to be applied to real world clinical cases.
  • Through use of problem-based learning, prepare students for the workplace by allowing them to experience and practise decision making skills and processes.


Speech and Language Therapies programmes taught at the University of Reading aim to prepare evidence-based practitioners, able to apply their knowledge to clinical problems, and make effective decisions in their practice. The problem-based learning approach has been widely adopted within a wide range of academic contexts and professional disciplines, including for Speech and Language Therapy. Under the problem-based learning approach in Speech and Language Therapy, students are encouraged to solve problems that are set in the real world, enabling them to use specific knowledge obtained through self-directed learning with the support of their lecturer to make clinical decisions.


The initial task was to create a raft of fictional case studies. The creation of good ‘problems’ is the essence of successful problem-based learning approaches, and so several weeks were spent modifying each case so that students would be able to understand the content area that needed to be taught. Additionally, it was necessary to find appropriate resources that could go with the case studies.

Several resources were generated in order to support the students in solving the case studies, and specific pointers were provided towards the thinking about the case studies (in class), literature (detailed reference list), web-based resources, and resources from the department and library. The module convenor was available for discussion to the assigned group during module-specific office hours.

At the beginning of the problem-based aspect of the module, classes were divided into groups of between five and six students. Each week, the groups chose one of the two cases within the week’s topic, and determined the therapy for a fictional client based on the questions for each case.

Each group was required to give a presentation on their assigned case study, answering questions in five sections. Following this there were two to three minutes available for the audience to critique the answers, and for other possible solutions to be discussed, with students basing their critiques upon their own reading. This allowed various methods to be discussed using different cases. Following this, each group updated their slides and submitted a report, with both of these being uploaded to Blackboard Learn, allowing all students on the module access to the slides and information relating to a particular case, which they could use for their own learning and have available for future clinical practice. In addition, students working on a case study received formative feedback from the seminar leader and their peers.

Having built up their ability to respond to theoretical clinical cases during the teaching of the module, in the module’s examination one of the two questions on the therapy section was modeled on solving a case based on available information, with students being required to attempt one of the two questions.


In the pilot year, in the examination the problem-based question was attempted by more of both the undergraduate and postgraduate cohorts, and the mean marks were higher for students attempting the problem-based question than those that did not. Additionally, individual students expressed interest in doing aphasia topic for their theses, and module evaluation revealed that students felt better prepared for aphasia therapy in their placements.


While the results obtained by students in examinations and engagement suggested value in the implementation of the problem-based learning approach, this was not without its difficulties. The principal difficulty experienced was a poor reaction to the introduction of problem-based learning approach on the part of the students on the module. The introduction of problem-based learning approaches increased the workload upon students, who also had to fit the workload around their placements, and students were unappreciative of the benefits that this increased workload might bring. This may also have resulted from the fact that the undergraduate students on the module were in their third year of study, and so had difficulty adjusting to the expectations of the problem-based approach.

The second issue was that developing a problem-based learning approach necessarily increases the workload of the module convenor. It takes a considerable amount of time to write the cases and generate the resources for the students. As Dr Bose felt that developing teaching in this manner would help students learn the material better, she was willing to put the time and effort in, but this should be a consideration for others looking to adopt a problem-based learning approach.

As a result of these issues, changes were planned to and enacted upon the module in order to get students on board with the problem-based learning approach, and prepare them early on for the demands of the approach, with the workload expectations being somewhat adjusted in order to better respond to the existing workload of students. Additionally, as the delivery of a problem-based learning approach was workload-intensive, arrangements were made to provide co-teaching staff, allowing the workload to be made more manageable.

Follow up

Following the pilot year of using a modified problem-based learning approach in aphasia therapy teaching, problem-based learning has continued to form part of the delivery of this module. Following student feedback in the pilot year, the problem-based elements of the course had been stripped back somewhat in order to respond to this, and student feedback has improved: recent examination results and student feedback, however, suggest that minimal use of a problem-based learning approach is not sufficient if one wishes to see the benefits of such an approach, and that therefore the amount of problem-based learning that is required should now be increased.

Thanks to the effort put in during the first years of running the module using the modified problem-based learning approach, there now exist a number of suitable case studies for use in this approach, and thus the workload is not as intensive as it once was, and only minimal amounts of work are required to ensure that the case studies are current and relevant.

From a traditional classroom to a flipped classroom

Dr Karsten O. Lundqvist, School of Systems Engineering
Year(s) of activity: 2013-14


6477A flipped classroom approach was trialed for the Part Two Java module (SE2JA11) taught in the School of Systems Engineering. 


  • Encourage students on the module to become deep-level learners, as they analyse, evaluate and create, rather than simply remembering and understanding.
  • Introduce a flexible teaching and learning style that students will find enjoyable.
  • Introduce flexibility that allows students to manage their time in a better way, giving them more opportunities to study the materials in a deeper manner.
  • Improve attendance and engagement with practicals.


In the summer of 2013 videos were created for the module.  New slides to present the content were designed, with the fonts improved to make them easier to read on a computer screen.  While the content was based on that of the old slides that were available to students, practical screencasts were introduced in the video, whereby the students can see how the code behaves and how they are supposed to develop it practically.  Some slides were altered so that they presented difficult concepts in more easily understood ways, such as through use of analogies to the restaurant business and the automobile industry.

Feedback and feedforward videos were introduced to explain the progress through the course.  One of the feedforward videos was used to make the students aware of the object-orient programming (OOP) nature of the code, and that the weekly practicals would be building upon previous material.  Students were told that they could use the weekly practicals as a gauge to measure if they had problems with OOP, and should ask the teaching staff for help.

The videos were created using Camtasia, an tool for creating videos and screencasts from webcams and computer screens.  The software suite also has simple post-production tools, which allowed zooming to ensure that the small text of development environments could be viewed easily.  These videos were then embedded as items on the Blackboard Virtual Learning Environment.  Uploading the videos to a streaming service external to the University was considered, but was decided against in order to create a classroom feeling to the videos.

The flipped classroom method generally recommends that videos be simply bite-sized chunks of around 4 to 6 minutes long.  Several of the videos created for the module, however, were over 1 hour long, as a result of the amount of material that needed too be covered, the adherence to the lecturing paradigm, and the lack of time available to transform the material as much as would have been necessary in order to make 6 to 20 minute videos.


To obtain feedback from the students, two voluntary bespoke surveys were shared with the students, one available in weeks 2-3 of the Autumn Term, and one available in week 1 of the Spring Term. The first survey showed that 84% of students preferred videos over lectures, and that only 4% of students did not expect to watch the videos more than once. In the second survey, 100% of students now preferred videos to lectures, and 100% expected to watch the videos more than once.


Flipping the classroom has been of great benefit. As the act of flipping cannot just be a case of replicating old teaching methods digitally, it promotes reflection on course content and teaching methods, and requires thorough planning. The initial investment pays off in the long term as the teaching materials produced can be reused, not only from year to year, but between different modules that have some overlapping content. While the creation of teaching materials may consume more time than the traditional delivery of content, it is flexible as it can be done when time allows, and does not require being present at an appointed time and location.

Despite concerns about the length of the videos, on the whole students expressed satisfaction about this.  The general response was that students expected the videos to be long, as they were replacing 2 hour lectures, and therefore students would feel cheated if the videos were not long and with a lot of content.  While it was agreed that students might benefit from having chapters within the videos to make them easier to search, none wanted the videos to be shorter.

In order to improve how the module is taught using the flipped classroom model in the future, the following recommendations were made:

  • Include a more self-regulated learning approach to the coursework, allowing students more flexibility over the weeks, and removing some of the summative pressures that might induce surface-level learning.
  • Change the module so that 100% of assessment is carried out through coursework. This should make students focus more on the practical work throughout the year, and help them focus more on the relevant material and learning it in a deeper way.
  • Introduce a level of self-regulated learning to the practicals, by introducing a logbook instead of weekly sign-off sheets. Students will need a number of signatures in their logbook to get 10% of their practical marks. The signatures will be given after a short formative discussion of progress provifnng useful feedback and suggestions of further work.

Follow up

The flipped classroom approach continues to be used for the teaching of SE2JA11, and has now been introduced for other modules within the School of Systems Engineering. In particular, videos on general coding theory are able to be utilised within many modules. Dr Lundqvist was able to draw upon the experience of flipping the classroom when creating the Open Online Course Begin Programming: Build Your First Mobile Game.

The recommendations generated by the pilot year have been carried out, with the exception of the introduction of a logbook, which proved impractical. While students still complete weekly sign-off sheets, the sheets are now 50% questions on the video, to ensure that students have viewed the videos and retained the information, and 50% questions on progress in their own learning, with the intention that students will reflect upon their own learning, and staff will be aware of students who are having difficulties.

Assessing the use of Technology Enhanced Learning in Higher Education: the case of trading simulation software at the ICMA Centre

Dr Ioannis Oikonomou, ICMA Centre
Year(s) of activity: 2013-14


8948This project reviewed the effectiveness of the ICMA Centre’s use of trading simulation software, a unique combination of problem-based learning and role-playing which uses modern technology.  While it was found that students enjoyed having access to trading simulation software for their learning, a number of areas in which improvements could be made were identified, and recommendations were made to effect these.


  • To assess the effectiveness of the ICMA Centre’s use of trading simulations software.
  • Highlight areas for improvement and make suggestions about the possible restructuring of the content of the offered trading simulation modules and ways of further enhancing their academic and practical usefulness for students.


The ICMA Centre has three dealing rooms, which are used for conducting small group seminars, workshops and trading simulation sessions for modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, as well as being a valuable tool for outreach purposes.

Although the ICMA Centre has been subject to periodic and contextual review, there has been no formal investigation that specifically targets the teaching and learning issues and transferable skills of the trading simulation software.


To assess the effectiveness of the use of these facilities, historic feedback was analysed. The ICMA Centre had regularly undergone periodic and contextual reviews as according to University of Reading policy, with these reviews evaluating all aspects of the ICMA Centre’s programmes. This was therefore a valuable resource for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the use of trading simulation software for teaching and learning within the wider context of the ICMA Centre’s delivery of programmes.

Also analysed were evaluation forms connected to trading sessions at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level for three academic years. The great benefit of these data were that it allowed quantitative analysis of trading simulation software, as students gave numerical scores to indicate their satisfaction. Qualitative data were also available, with students providing free text comments, which give specific details about what had worked well and what might need improving.

Interviews were conducted with module convenors and teaching assistants. This allowed greater detailed information to be generated on the strengths and weaknesses of trading simulation sessions, and offered the chance to discuss module convenors’ and teaching assistants’ perspective on trading simulation sessions. Additionally, interviews with staff were valuable for capturing some of the informal opinions and attitudes of students, which may not have expressed in formal evaluations.

The guidance offered by these analyses was used to formulate an online questionnaire in order to generate quantifiable data.  Finally, two student focus groups, one of undergraduate students and one of postgraduate students, were interviewed in order to expand upon the findings of the questionnaire. Effort was made to accurately represent the diversity of student backgrounds on ICMA programmes in the focus groups.


Historic evaluation forms, interviews with module convenors and teaching assistants, the online questionnaire, and the focus groups had comparable findings.  Overall, students very much enjoyed the use of trading simulation software, and generally found it to be user-friendly, reasonable and realistic.  The realism and ‘hands-on’ nature of the platform are particularly beneficial characteristics, as adult learners tend to focus on tasks, especially when they believe they may encounter these in their lives.  The trading simulations were highlighted as being effective tools for the development of employable skills, and helped students to internalise complex financial concepts.

The principal negative aspects of users experiences of trading simulation software that were raised at multiple points during the study, were that students wanted more time using the trading simulation software, and better connection between lectures and use of the trading simulation software.  This was most keenly felt by undergraduate students, who receive significantly fewer trading hours than postgraduates, and who felt that the sessions could be better embedded into their teaching and learning portfolios. As a result of these findings, a number of recommendations were made for improving the delivery of teaching and learning with the use of trading simulation sessions.

Follow up

Progress has been made on fulfilling the recommendations of the report: Trading Simulation II has been moved from the Financial Modelling module to the more suitable Debt Markets and Instruments; module convenors have instructions to be mindful of the link between their lectures and trading simulation sessions, and for how performance in trading simulations sessions is to be benchmarked; alterations and additions have been made to the simulation software’s scenarios so that it can be utilised for different learning outcomes; availability of trading simulation sessions has been increased, and trading hours for students have been increased; students are given firm guidance and information on the interpretation of and access to their feedback; and an experienced trader has been employed as a sessional lecturer for the undergraduate training sessions.

With these alterations having been made, feedback on trading simulation sessions has improved, and students demonstrate deep and broad levels of learning on concepts they are able to explore through the use of trading simulation sessions.

Teaching in a divided classroom: the impact of internationalisation and marketisation on business education

Dr John Latsis, Henley Business School
Year(s) of activity: 2013-14


9337In the postgraduate module Managing People and Organisations (MMM048), provided by the School of Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour, assessment methods were altered in a manner that was mindful of the increased internationalisation and marketisation of UK Higher Education, in order to assist the transition of international students.


  • To provide a method of assessment that fit the needs of international students less acculturated to UK Higher Education
  • To design this method of assessment so that it does not disadvantage more culturally expert students.
  • To have the first assessment of the module prepare students for essay-writing for further assessments.


Results from previous years of MMM048 revealed that students on the module struggled with the first assessed essay, but showed significant improvement for their second assessed essay. In particular, the results suggested a difficulty for international students, who constituted over 80% of module students, to acculturate themselves to the expectations of UK Higher Education. Specifically, linguistic competence in written coursework, understanding of the requirements of critical engagement and argumentation in essay writing, and the needs of some students for individual follow-up meetings to discuss module content, were issues that needed to be addressed.


Potential solutions, such as engaging in targeted small group tutoring, or simplifying the content of the module, were unacceptable. Engaging in targeted small group tutoring would negatively impact the workload of teaching staff, to the detriment of other duties, and would result in those groups that received said teaching having an unfair advantage. Simplifying the intellectual content of the module was undesirable, as the content of the module consistently received good feedback, and to do so would give a false impression of what was expected of students in their postgraduate study. Additionally, as students in the bottom quartile of the mark distribution generally showed evidence of improvement over the course of the module, this suggested that the content was not itself too difficult.

What was developed was an extended essay plan as a form of assessment, a hybrid solution that maintained the essay-writing element of the first part of the module, but allowed students to gain a hands-on insight into the expectations of UK postgraduate Higher Education. Students were provided with an essay plan handbook, explaining the expectations of how an essay would be written, providing a ready-made generic structure, with subheadings, approximate word counts for each section, and the usual guidelines with which students are provided. The essay plan is shorter than the full essay which previously formed the first assessment of the module (1000 words rather than 2500 words), and is worth less (15% rather than 30%). Additionally, the requirement for students to write in continuous English prose, which students might initially find difficult, is softened, as students are allowed to develop their ideas in bullet points in order to save space. The development of the extended essay plan format was carried out in consultation with the In-Sessional English Support team, in order to assure that the template was worded as clearly as possible.


The net effect of the change was significant. The failure rate for the first assessment dropped to 0%, and there was a reduced failure rate in the module as a whole. Student satisfaction surveys for the module achieved higher scores than previously, and students reported in casual conversation that they would continue to use the template and accompanying handbook to help them write their essays for other modules, as they found it a very useful tool to organise their thoughts and keep their arguments on track.


The essay plan format is beneficial for the following reasons:

  1. It replaced the need for coaching to be provided in the context of a large class size with a variety of individual needs.
  2. It makes explicit the cultural clues that students with experience of the UK Higher Education system understand through verbal communication, but that have proved difficult to communicate verbally to students without this experience.
  3. It provides an explicit performance standard with instructions and mark-breakdowns that makes assessment clear and maintains standards of fairness across all levels of ability.
  4. As a result of the format including multiples questions, one of which is more difficult than the others, there is still the possibility for the most able students to demonstrate their ability by effectively addressing a difficult topic.
  5. It draws the markers’ attention away from linguistic ability and puts the emphasis on clarity of argument and quality of ideas, re-uniting a divided classroom.

While the new approach does reduce the flexibility that students have to express themselves within the constraints of the template, and benefits non-native English users more than it does native English users, the format allows students to be assessed on their understanding of the module content, and their ability to reflect critically upon it and construct a coherent argument.

Follow up

The essay plan assessment format has continued to be utilised within MMM048. There have been some minor changes to the wording of the essay plan and associated guidance as a result of input from the University Study Advice team. While comparisons between cohorts are difficult to perform, it is encouraging that marks on MMM048 improved last academic year.

Active learning methods for week intensive MSc modules

Dr Stefán Thór Smith, School of the Built Environment
Year(s) of case study activity: 2014-15


8977Active learning methods were explored, and the Environmental Quality and Well-being module (CEM236EQW), a week intensive module offered by the School of the Built Environment, was amended to incorporate suitable active learning methods, improving student satisfaction and engagement.
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A summary of my experiences on the PGCAP Course by Dr Samuel Laryea

When I got appointed as a Lecturer in 2010 I found that I had to do the PGCAP course as part of requirements for my probation. Initially I did not feel happy about this. I had quite a heavy teaching workload and also the pressure to develop research papers and grant proposals. I certainly felt the PGCAP course was a distraction to the ‘core’ aspects of my work in the university and unfortunately, I had no choice but to do it. Today, my view of the PGCAP course is completely different.

By the time I completed the programme successfully in July 2012, I found that participation in the course had helped me to develop greatly in all aspects of my career and academic aspirations. First, participation in the PGCAP course helped me to learn new ideas about teaching and learning and my role as a lecturer – including personal tutoring, supporting student learning, classroom teaching, assessment and feedback. One word I quickly became familiar with was ‘Pedagogy’. I began to develop a better understanding of the purpose of teaching which is to facilitate learning. I found the workshops extremely useful and by the time I was through a few of them, I felt that the course was right and very beneficial in terms of my own personal development as a lecturer and my understanding of the higher education environment and engagement with students. In short, the whole PGCAP experience was very developmental and I could feel its positive impact on my teaching, research, administrative duties and relationships with people across the university.

Participation in the course helped me to meet other new lecturers across the university so I made friends and this enabled me to share ideas and experiences. The course was clearly time-consuming but certainly worth every bit of the time invested. It is professionally useful to have the PGCAP qualification and Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. Perhaps the two most useful aspects of the course for me were the project and portfolio. I learned much from my T&L project on feedback provision and use and fortunately the work was of significant benefit to my School. I enjoyed both project and portfolio equally – but I found the process of writing my reflective teaching portfolio very developmental, in that, the process enabled me to give more serious thought to my routine activities as a lecturer, reviewing my personal development over time, and identifying new ways to improve. The portfolio and project have helped me so much to develop in my understanding of pedagogical issues – and generated in me a permanent interest to engage in teaching and learning issues.

Today I am based in the School of Construction Economics and Management at University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. I serve as Director of our undergraduate programme and the ideas and experiences gained on the PGCAP course are serving me extremely well. I fully understand pedagogic issues in a higher education environment and this plays a central role in the development of an effective approach for teaching and supporting student learning. The PGCAP experience has been hugely useful, making a difference, and providing an advantage not only for myself but also for the 400+ students I teach in my new university.

Reflective Teaching by Dr Natasha Barrett

Completing the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) portfolio provided the perfect opportunity for me to reflect on teaching and learning and how my approach has developed over the years. I was surprised at how well I mapped onto Kugel’s five ages of a lecturer (1993). I certainly started out at stage 1 (self) where the focus was on surviving each session with my dignity intact. I then started refining the content of my lectures as I gained confidence and moved to stage 2 (the subject). The transition from stages 1 and 2 onwards has gradually occurred with experience, but several of the PGCAP workshops really helped me move forward. Stages 3 (the student) and 4 (student learning) are very apparent to me at the moment and it is here that I have tried to apply some of the learning theories introduced in the PGCAP workshops. I’ve tried using Bigg’s (1999) constructive alignment theory, where learning outcomes dictate what is taught and assessment (particularly marks) can be used to drive the student to meet the outcomes, with pretty good success. I’ve also tried promoting active student learning (eg Kolb’s reflective cycles). Many students will readily “experience” and “conclude” teaching, but engaging the students in reflection and planning is not an area that I’ve had great success with (yet). I guess that this challenge will take me forward into Kugel’s 5th stage (student as an independent learner) and I look forward to applying some of the strategies to achieve this as I review my teaching material over the summer. I was really pleased to be awarded with the runner’s up PGCAP portfolio prize and would like to thank the CSTD, CDoTL and departmental staff for all their support.