Module code: GCAM024

Module Overview

This module aims to introduce participants to a range of key theories in learning and teaching within higher and professional education and provide the opportunity to interrogate the value and relevance of these to our understanding of learning and teaching. This will foreground individual values towards learning and teaching and how these are shaped by different social values developed by different groups (such as the institution, society at large, professional bodies and so on). These values will be used as the basis to consider how  signature concepts raised are interpreted and then used. The notion of signature concepts will be initially based around that offered by Shulman but will be further developed to consider alternative interpretations and link to contemporary work being undertaken within the field of the scholarship of teaching and learning. Participants will have the opportunity to consider the appropriateness of the notion that teaching should consider how to require students to do, think, and value what practitioners in the field are doing, thinking, and valuing. This will allow participants to recognise how significant their own perspectives are on how these ideas are understood, how they may have been shaped by their own thinking and developed within their different contexts. Through the introduction of notions of professionalism, values, uncertainty and disjuncture, the key theories will be debated, reinterpreted, discussed and challenged to offer participants additional perspectives through which to understand orthodox and unorthodox views of learning and teaching in Higher and Professional Education.

Module provider

Surrey Institute of Education

Module Leader

LYGO-BAKER Simon (Sy Inst Educ)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 110

Seminar Hours: 20

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 10

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes the following:

  • An exploration of the notion of signature concepts as defined by different authors.

  • An initial introduction to a range of signature concepts in higher and professional education.

  • An examination of how personal values impact on how these concepts are understood (using a framework offered through the work of Breakwell and reinterpreted as part of more recent research).

  • Consideration of how signature concepts are recognised and developed by social and individual values and how this shapes modern higher and professional education.

  • The current context of higher and professional education and possible future directions.

  • An investigation into notions of professionalism and what these may mean within learning and teaching environments.

  • Consideration of notions of uncertainty and postmodernity.

  • Using disjuncture to extend learning and teaching and the challenge this brings.

Other areas of content will be derived through the discussions and debate and therefore will emerge.

This will be delivered through a series of synchronous seminars where information will be presented and the basis then will be on a series of debates between participants.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ESSAY 1 - REVIEW OF KEY CONCEPTS (1,000 WORDS) 30

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their achievement of the learning outcomes. 

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Three  assignments – 100% (the first and second worth 30% each and the final piece 40%). The initial piece will look at drawing ideas together from the first two weeks where the theory will be explored.  The second will consider how the theory relates to the discipline and context within which each participant works. The final piece will draw these two pieces together to ask participants to consider the implications of the information discussed for their current and future practice and professional values.

Formative assessment and feedback

Formative assessments: Formative feedback is provided during the synchronous seminars on ideas being developed at each stage towards the summative assessments. Tasks are set between online seminars and formative feedback is provided that is designed to support the development of work that is then assessed.

In addition, each participant will receive feedback after the first two pieces of summative assessment as each piece is planned to build from the last and will be linked. The final summative piece should therefore complete the module so that each piece builds towards an integrated piece of work. These have been broken down into three pieces to limit the high stakes of one assessment and to enable feedback to be provided so that ideas can be enhanced and developed through the module.

Module aims

  • This module aims to allow participants to interrogate a range of key theories in learning and teaching in higher and professional education and to reinterpret these using a range of concepts so that they are of relevance within each discipline. This will require each individual to examine her/his own values in relation to learning and teaching, how these are developed and shaped and the impact they have on how an individual approaches learning and teaching.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Identify and explain the impact of a range of signature concepts in higher and professional education C
002 Analyse the relevance of signature concepts for particular contexts CT
003 Explain and examine personal values and how these impact on understanding of different theories relating to learning and teaching C
004 Evaluate the meaning of different concepts for different disciplines or contexts and how these can be reinterpreted CK
005 Debate and discuss with a range of peers to explain perspectives, personal theories and establish new meaning CT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Allow participants to reflect on a range of key theories in learning and teaching within higher and professional education and provide the opportunity to interrogate the value and relevance of these to our understanding of learning and teaching. In order to do this the following approach has been designed.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Discussions to develop debate around a series of ideas;

  • Guided on-line discussion groups following each online discussion;

  • Three written submitted assignments, the first two of which will provide some formative support so that learning is developed through the module.

The approach is structured as follows:

  • Synchronous Seminars - online discussions with tutor

  • Guided study - literature searching, assignment planning. Engagement with the learning group in discussion and debate using the discussion boards as part of the guided study.

  • Independent study – reading, research and assignments

As a teaching team we aim to develop spaces in which each participant is able to reflect upon their own experiences and to share these. To enable this to occur, we aim to build trust and through an honest approach that provides clear and constructive feedback, enable the development of understanding. This will be achieved through a challenging but respectful learning environment in which we aim to ensure that all recognise that each participant has valuable experience to offer and that our role as teachers is to remain open-minded and maintain an open and honest approach that respects different perspectives. The approach that has been designed aims to fulfil the values that underpin the learning and teaching strategy that we adopt.

Hours as specified are estimates and will vary depending on the way participants choose to structure their learning in negotiation with the tutor.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: GCAM024

Other information

The MA in Higher Education is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow participants to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability: The module aims to enable participants to explore and reflect on key theories relating to learning and teaching in higher and professional education. The greater understanding that this provides offers participants insight into the fundamental aspects of working in these areas and provides greater understanding of the roles. This new insight enables professional development and enhances opportunities to understand the workplace. This can develop the future employability for those interested in progression in their career.

Digital Capabilities: Although not a significant focus of the module itself the guided learning tasks provide participants with the opportunity to develop or consolidate digital capabilities. The need to research and gather evidence will support the development and consolidation of techniques using digital capabilities.

Global and Cultural Capabilities: An important aspect of learning and teaching is the increased diversity that is being recognized and the exploration of new ideas and settings in which these have emerged and how boundaries are now seen as more fluid. To understand the complexity of learning and teaching there is a need therefore to develop greater understanding of how the different interpretations can foster our understanding. This will support the enhancement of global and cultural capabilities of those involved in the module.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Higher and Professional Education MA 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.