Foundations of University Teaching & Learning

Provider business unit: Centre for Learning & Teaching »

The 'Foundations' course is designed for educators who may be relatively new to university teaching, or for established staff who would like to revisit the roots of what constitutes the foundations of university teaching and learning at ANU. 

Who can participate

Foundations modules are suited to:

  • All academics (Levels A to E) new to the ANU and/or new to teaching;
  • Experienced lecturers wanting to reflect on and discuss their teaching;
  • Research-focused academics adding a teaching role to their activities;
  • Professional staff with learner centred support roles

Course Description

The overall aim for the course is to equip ANU teachers with strategies, tools, and frameworks to support their university teaching. 

Core Modules (F1-F10)

·         Module 1 - What makes a quality educator? – Explores the core dimensions of professionalism and quality in teaching. Participants will be asked to develop specific learning outcomes they would like to achieve from this course.

·         Module 2 - Teaching for learning – Examines how students learn in relation to different perspectives of teaching and learning in HE, and reviews psychological understandings of people’s “social identities” (including identities as students, customers, teachers, women, Indigenous Australians, etc.) and their relationship to student engagement. This module is co-facilitated by Distinguished Educator Prof Michael Platow.

·         Module 3 - Small group collaborative learning – Explores the nature of small group collaborative teaching and its impact on learning. This module is co-facilitated by Distinguished Educator A/Prof Cate Frieman.

·         Module 4 - Course design – Addresses principles of course design at ANU using findings from research on what makes an effective course and discusses the challenges of a co-created curriculum approach. This module is co-facilitated by Distinguished Educator Prof John Minns.

·         Module 5 - Assessment for Learning – Delves into ideas and methods of assessment for learning. This module is co-facilitated by Distinguished Educator A/Prof Carol Hayes.

·         Module 6 -  Inclusive teaching – Explores how we can achieve equity within ANU and in society through how we teach. This module is co-facilitated by Distinguished Educator Prof Asmi Wood.

·         Module 7 -  Feedback & Evaluation of Teaching and Learning – Revisits the practice of feedback for learning, and reviews the processes used at ANU to evaluate teaching and learning. This module is co-facilitated by Distinguished Educator Prof Michael Martin.

·         Module 8 - Designing Curriculum for Student Engagement – Looks at the drivers of curriculum design and explores different models of curriculum that can increase student engagement. This module is co-facilitated by Distinguished Educator Prof Paul Francis. 

·         Module 9 - Technology-enhanced learning – Explores the effective integration of technologies into your educational practice to enhance teaching and learning. This module is co-facilitated by Distinguished Educator A/Prof Alex Webb and Senior Learning Designer Janene Harman. 

·         Module 10 - Your teaching philosophy – A capstone module in which participants are invited to consolidate their learning and consider how they can share, illustrate and demonstrate their professionalism in teaching for the purpose of achieving recognition. This may include applying for an HEA teaching fellowship and making a case for education in promotions.

Optional Modules (F11 and F12) 

Participants may substitute any of the core modules (F1-F10) with either of the two optional modules. Alternatively, you can choose to complete all 12 modules.

·         Module 11 - Postgraduate Supervision – Explores the craft of HDR Supervision, reviews relevant ANU policies and helps participants develop 'golden rules' for effective supervision.

·         Module 12 - APD Pathway to the EFS – This non-compulsory information session shows you how to transition from Foundations into the Educational Fellowships Scheme (EFS) and expand your reflections into a narrative appropriate for the Fellowship category of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).  

Foundations of University Teaching and Learning addresses all three of the dimensions of the professional standards framework for teaching and supporting learning in higher education. The course is designed for staff who want their teaching to be engaging, transformative and inspiring.

Requirements for the course

To successfully complete the course, participants must attend and participate in ten 2-hour interactive modules to be delivered live on Zoom. 

During the course participants will be invited to write  3 short reflective pieces (each approximately 400 words) on key aspects of university teaching, specifically about what they have learnt and/or are doing in relation to:  

  1. Designing and planning learning activities and/or programs of study 
  2. Teaching and/or supporting learning 
  3. Assessing and giving feedback to learners 
  4. Developing effective learning environments and approaches to student support and guidance 
  5. Engaging in continuous professional development in subjects/disciplines and pedagogy, incorporating research, scholarship, and the evaluation of professional practices 

As a capstone activity participants will be asked to reflect about their teaching practice and write a  brief teaching philosophy statement (400 words). 

In addition to these reflective pieces and your teaching philosophy, we hope you will participate in the course online discussion forums which will allow us to extend the conversations and complement what is discussed in class. The forums work more effectively as a tool for your learning when you not only initiate a conversation with a question or comment, but also engage in responding to questions and comments in order to help develop a rich discussion on topics important to you and other Foundations participants. In this spirit, we will recommend that you engage in several forum posts. During the second workshop or Zoom session, you will be asked to select a module, which will make you responsible for leading/participating/giving feedback to the posts of that module. Thus, another course requirement is to actively participate in (at least) one Discussion Forum of your choice. 


Participation in all Foundations modules is free of charge for Australian National University staff. However, a no show/cancellation fee of $50.00 per person per module is charged where notification of non-attendance is not received within 48 hours of the start of face to face modules.

Certificate of Completion

Upon successful completion of Foundations of University Teaching & Learning you will receive a (non-award) certificate which along with your reflective pieces of writing, may form the basis of an application for a Higher Education Fellowship at the level of Fellow.