Academic Support Office

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Learning and teaching webpages for staff 

Support, advice and guidance in all aspects of learning, teaching and assessment

The Academic Support Office (ASO) plays an important role in helping to ensure that the University maintains its reputation for high quality teaching and learning. We coordinate processes for assuring the quality of educational provision and support a wide portfolio of activities aimed at enhancing teaching and learning practices.

Our structure reflects our core service areas. We have five teams:

  • Programme Design and Learning Technology - led by Richard Walker
  • Learning Enhancement - led by Cecilia Lowe
  • Academic Quality - led by Jane Iddon
  • Academic Practice - led by Duncan Jackson
  • Administrative Support Team - led by Julia Hampshire. 

We also have three Faculty Learning Enhancement Project Managers, who work across the ASO structure and with key colleagues such as the Faculty Associate Deans, the Faculty Operations Managers in the Registrar and Secretary’s team, and the Faculty Employability Managers in Careers and Placements.

Prog design & LT

Programme design and the use of learning technology

We work with programme and module leaders to explore aspects of design and delivery to ensure an outstanding learning experience for students. This draws on the principles of the York Pedagogy and makes connections with other priority areas such as the University’s Employability Strategy.

Our input includes the effective use and embedding of learning technologies, helping to broaden the modes of teaching and learning and to support student engagement, digital literacy and employability. This ranges from resources on the VLE, through activities such as in-class polling and online assessment and feedback, to good practice in designing a fully online degree programme.

We help departments to develop their assessment and marking practices and to explore ways of enhancing the quality of feedback to students.

We manage the University’s VLE, Yorkshare, and the Replay lecture recording service, promoting their pedagogic opportunities.

Each Faculty has a dedicated Educational Adviser in the Programme Design and Learning Technology Team.

Visit the Programme design and learning technology webpage for more information.

Quality

Academic Quality: ensuring quality and standards

We provide advice and guidance on the University’s policy framework for managing quality and standards, including the approval of new or modified programmes and modules. We take a proportionate and risk-based approach, to facilitate innovation and good practice.

We advise staff who are considering collaborative provision with other institutions, including joint PhD programmes with European partners. These bring particular opportunities for staff and students, but also potential risks to the University. We advise on the validation of programmes delivered by partner institutions.

We manage the cycle of Periodic Reviews, advising departments and panel members, and drafting reports on reviews for the University Teaching Committee.

We help departments to evaluate their provision, share good practice and plan enhancements through the Annual Programme Review process.

We take a key role in analysing results from the National Student Survey, Postgraduate Taught Student Survey, and Postgraduate Research Experience Survey, working with departments to interpret the results and plan actions to share good practice and address issues arising.

We monitor national developments relating to learning and teaching, such as requirements from the QAA and Office for Students, and support follow-up work such as policy development or drafting guidance for departments.

Each department has a named contact in the Academic Quality Team.

Learning enhancement

Learning Enhancement: helping students to study effectively

We complement the support that is embedded in programmes and modules by:

  • providing workshops and resources on the ‘transition’ to University study, including material specifically for international students
  • delivering and developing the Academic Integrity tutorial (compulsory for all students) and related resources, in partnership with other colleagues
  • project-managing the use of Turnitin software to support students formatively in developing awareness of academic integrity and good practice in academic writing
  • running a Mathematics and Statistics Skills Centre and a Writing and Language Skills Centre, with drop-in facilities and bookable appointments to help all students.

 

Academic practice

Academic Practice: developing your teaching and support for student learning

We provide both structured and informal opportunities for professional development, networking and the dissemination of good practice, including:

  • the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP)
  • the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Supporting Learning in HE, aimed in particular at staff in support roles and services
  • the York Professional and Academic Development Scheme (YPAD), providing professional development for experienced colleagues linked to opportunities to secure professional recognition through the achievement of appropriate categories of HEA Fellowship, benchmarked against the national UK Professional Standards Framework
  • the York Learning and Teaching Award and the Introduction to Learning and Teaching training, for Graduate Teaching Assistants who play a key role in supporting teaching and learning in many departments
  • networking and resources for Programme Leaders, supporting these key roles in the York Pedagogy approach
  • a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Network for colleagues to discuss topical and challenging material from educational research
  • workshops on a range of learning enhancement topics, including technology enhanced learning, open to all
  • a Special Interest Group for taught postgraduate programmes
  • the University’s annual Learning and Teaching Conference and twice-yearly Forum magazine for sharing practice.

Reward & recognition

Rewarding and Recognising Teaching Excellence

We help staff to achieve recognition for excellent teaching, including by supporting the Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Awards scheme and by helping staff to prepare nominations for the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme.

Committees & projects

University committees and groups

We provide professional support for the University Teaching Committee and its portfolio of work, the Standing Committee on Assessment, the HYMS Joint Senate Committee, and for related bodies such as the Learning and Teaching Forum and the Distance Learning Forum.

Learning enhancement projects

We manage an ongoing suite of learning and teaching projects on behalf of University Teaching Committee, such as the introduction of the York Pedagogy, and provide overall project-management support for the Learning and Teaching Strategy.

Each Faculty has a Learning Enhancement Project Manager to help the Associate Deans for Teaching, Learning and Students, and departments in the Faculty, to develop and take forward initiatives to address strategic priorities and enhance teaching, learning and assessment.

We project-manage funding schemes such as the Rapid Response Fund and the Learning and Teaching Strategic Projects Fund, to which departments can bid to support learning and teaching developments.

We assist academic colleagues with bids for external funding for Learning and Teaching initiatives.