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Learning and Teaching: useful terms and concepts

We have provided here a list of terms related to learning and teaching that you might not be familiar with.
© UNSW Sydney

The Glossary.pdf document contains all the terms and definitions covered.



Active learning spaces

These spaces facilitate a wide variety of learning and teaching styles, from traditional lectures to active, blended and small-group learning.

Adaptive tutorial

Interactive online modules where an Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS) adapts the instruction level (difficulty, feedback and activity sequence)


Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation (ADDIE) is a design framework to describe sub-processes and order in the design cycle.


Assessment is a systematic process for evaluating student learning. The purpose of assessment is both to facilitate and certify student learning outcomes including the universities Graduate Capabilities. The process includes the design, development and implementation of assessment tasks, and the judgement and reporting of student performance.

Assessment task

An assessment task refers to a specific activity relating to any method of assessment that requires students to demonstrate their learning towards an intended learning outcome.

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Blended learning

Blended learning is an education program (formal or informal) that combines online digital media with traditional classroom methods requiring the physical presence of both teacher and student, with some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace. See also

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Convenor / Course convenor

The teacher responsible for managing a course including teaching, assessment and administration.


Otherwise known as a subject or unit of study, a course is an individual study unit offered within a program with a specific unit of credit weighting.

Course components

A combination of resources, student activities, support, feedback and evaluation required for the full achievement of the Course Learning Outcomes, the Program Learning Outcomes and the Graduate Capabilities.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

The knowledge, skills, attributes and practices that students need to demonstrate to complete a specific course or courses within a designated program. Course Learning Outcomes articulate with Program Learning Outcomes.

Curriculum alignment

With curriculum design and mapping, we align learning outcomes with teaching and assessment strategies. This ensures that graduates from any course or program achieve the stated aims and objectives.

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Educational Developer

Educational developers support the development of teaching and learning capability in higher education institutions. Graham Gibbs provides an excellent summary of the role of an educational developer in the Teaching Commons site at York University.


A digital repository for a range of learning materials, including those produced for course-based assessment. ePortfolios are planned and compiled by the owner (students) rather than by the educator.


The effectiveness of courses/programs in developing the graduate capabilities and PLOs; the level of coherence between the courses/program’s educational design and the principles inherent in the outcomes-based Integrated Curriculum Framework; the quality of teaching in the courses/program; and students’ learning outcomes and experiences.

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Face-to-face describes the real-world / material interaction between two or more people. The terminology is ofter used in contrast to the online or digital worlds of learners.

Flipped classroom

Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter. See also

Formative assessment

Formative assessment refers to the purpose of the assessment to provide information that supports and guides student’s further learning.


The Foundations in University Learning and Teaching (FULT) program at UNSW, is a modularised program of professional learning experiences aimed at developing the foundational knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary to teach in higher education in an active and scholarly way. See also

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The Graduate Certificate in University Learning and Teaching (GCULT) focuses on the development of teaching capability in Higher Education (HE) at UNSW. The program is designed to help both new and experienced University teachers develop a scholarly approach to teaching. See also

Graduate Capabilities

The generic knowledge, skills, attributes and practices that students are required to develop and evidence during and on completion of their studies. They are common for all programs and are integrated into Program Learning Outcomes. See also

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Instructional design

The progress of designing and developing instructional strategies to support and enhance learning and teaching. See also

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Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes describe the knowledge, skills and capabilities that students are expected to develop during a course or program of study.

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Meta Reflection

Reflecting on your reflections. The process of undertaking an overall reflection on your own collection of multiple reflections.


Multiple choice questions


Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment. Moodle is an open source course management system, orginally developed by Martin Dougiamas. It is used by thousands of educational institutions around the world to provide an organized interface for e-learning, or learning over the Internet. See also

Multimodal learning

Multimodal learning is a model which represents the joint representations of different modalities including oral, audio, visual, written, tactile, gestural and spatial representations.

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Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) Grant

The Australian Government promotes and supports the enhancement of learning and teaching in eligible higher education institutions through the Promotion of Excellence in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (PELTHE) program. Ongoing grants and fellowships were awarded through the Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT). See also

Online learning

Studying a course or content which totally accessible via the internet. There is no need for learners to attend a physical campus to either engage with the material or be assessed on their content knowledge.

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The art of teaching. Specifically teaching chidlren. See also


A structured program of study leading to the award of a degree, diploma or certificate. Award programs can be offered in 3 academic careers (Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Research). Programs are structured as sequenced combinations of core and elective courses. Many programs also require students to major in one or more areas of specialisation. Some programs are structured as dual award programs.

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

The specific knowledge, skills, attributes and practices, including Graduate Capabilties that students need to demonstrate in completing a program.

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Quality assurance

Quality assurance refers to the maintenance and monitoring of standards related to learning and teaching.

Quality enhancement

Quality enhancement refers to the continuous improvement of learning and teaching, informed by robust evaluation data.

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The Resources, Activities, Support, and Evaluation model may be used as a basis for course design. The model emphasises that courses typically comprise of components to support and scaffold learning, which include resources, activities, support and evaluation. See also


A rubric for assessment, usually in the form of a matrix or grid, is a tool used to interpret and grade students’ work against criteria and standards. Rubrics are sometimes called “criteria sheets”, “grading schemes”, or “scoring guides”. Rubrics can be designed for any content domain.

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Scenario-based learning

Scenario-based learning (SBL) uses interactive scenarios to support active learning strategies such as problem-based or case-based learning. It normally involves students working their way through a storyline, usually based around an ill-structured or complex problem, which they are required to solve.

Smart Sparrow

Smart Sparrow is a global leader in adaptive and personalized learning technology with offices in San Francisco and Sydney, and support their Adaptive eLearning Platform. See also


Cloud based student response system enabling teachers to create in class quizzes and providing students and teachers with activity data. See also

Standards based assessment

Standards-based assessment is the judgement and reporting of student learning achievement based on predefined learning outcomes and performance standards. Standards-based assessment can apply at the level of the program, course or assessment task.

Starting from scratch

To begin the design of a course with the very first and simplest steps; building from the ground up.

Summative Assessment

Summative assessment refers to the purpose of the assessment to provide information that contributes to a course result.

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Teaching Assistants (TAs)

A lead teacher or head teacher may be supported by a teaching assistant.


Turnitin is an Internet-based plagiarism-prevention service created by iParadigms. Many universities and schools use the software to detect unoriginal content in submitted coursework. See also

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University Strategic Intent

The institution’s aspirations, and broadly defines what students may expect to experience when undertaking a university program or one of its courses.

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Wiki is a Hawaiian word which means quick. A wiki is a quickly developed website that enables fast authoring and collaboration. See also

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© UNSW Sydney
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Introduction to Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

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