Leading A Module

      Share by Email   Print this article   More sharing options  

Teaching plays an ever-important role in the career development of a PhD student, with this teaching taking many forms. PhDs in the Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences are often asked to contribute some form of teaching in exchange for a maintenance allowance. While not a common occurrence, on some occasions PhDs might be asked to take direction of a module or unit as a ‘module leader.’ This can naturally be very daunting and, like all forms of teaching, represents both an opportunity and a challenge. This article aims to provide some suggestions for PhDs, and even some Early Career Researchers to help to overcome the most common challenges.

  1. Plan a long time ahead. It can be all-too-easy to assume that you will be able to take each step as it comes, but leading a module is a very time-consuming process, and while great teaching experience, it can also distract from research time. Long-term and detailed planning for running the module and for your research process is essential.
  2. Take on advice from colleagues. If you are running a module, you might well be replacing or filling in for a colleague. Speak to whoever ran the module last, or failing that someone with similar teaching interests, and ask for advice on what has worked, what hasn’t worked and what to expect from the experience.
  3. Locate any existing teaching materials and start thinking about any adaptations as soon as possible. You might think that these materials will not take very long to change, but you’ll be surprised how time-consuming changing dates and names can prove.
  4. Find out about your students. How many handouts do you need to produce? What previous knowledge do they have? This will help you to know where to pitch your first lecture.
  5. Find out about administrative tasks. Often the most time-consuming aspect to running a module can be the day-to-day administrative tasks involved, such as recording student attendance, writing reports and following up missed work. Checking about the level of workload to expect can help you to plan your time and build in your research.
  6. Find out about assessment. Are you expected to set or mark the exams or summative assessment? When do you need to do so? What kind of formative assessment is involved? Knowledge of the assessment processes can help you to plan your teaching to suitably prepare your students for the style and mode of assessment.
  7. Read up on the module outcomes and objectives. What do you want students to achieve in this module? And how can you shape your teaching to enable them to do so?
  8. Prepare all material at least a week before any teaching. It can be tempting to leave things until the night before, but this can put you under pressure to prepare everything in a very short space of time, and can get in the way of teaching to your full potential.
  9. Record any and all teaching materials and store them somewhere safe. Your teaching materials can be used again and can help to demonstrate your own contribution to developing the module.
  10. Take on board lots of feedback from students and colleagues. Not only does this capture your contribution to student learning, but it also equips you with evidence for future applications, whether for jobs or for professional accreditation. If your university runs some form of postgraduate certificate in teaching and learning, this experience can feed into your more general teaching reflections and provide a real reward for your efforts.

Share this article:

      Share by Email   Print this article   More sharing options  

What do you think about this article? Email your thoughts and feedback to us

Connect with us

method: articleAction method: setArticleToView