Teaching Enhancement Unit

Support & Advice

Support & Advice

The very essence of the TEU is that we are a service unit, here to provide support and advice to staff in order to improve the learner experience for our students. This page outlines some examples of the type of support that we offer. If you would like more information please click on the various sections below or contact teaching.enhancement@dcu.ie - we are delighted to help wherever we can.

Covid19 Contingency Planning for Assessment

Professor Michael O'Leary, Director of CARPE, is available by phone or on email if you need advice/guidance on assessment related issues at this time.





Assessment & Feedback Advice

In the majority of the cases students will focus on material that will be examined. This may not necessarily coincide with the material that a lecturer wants to teach. In order to ensure what a student learns is close to what a lecturer wants to teach, considerable effort should be put into obtaining a proper assessment structure in every education programme. Whether teaching traditional classroom based (full time or part time) or distance learning, an assessment strategy is vital. With the development of technology, online tools can and should, where appropriate, transform the way you teach and the way your students learn. The advent of these new technologies will also allow lecturers to increase the flexibility of their assessments. In addition to the assessment type and how it is delviered the feedback provided for the assessment is vital to students, so that they can be praised for what they do well, learn from their mistakes and improve their performance on the basis of your feedback.

We can provide advice to programme teams for both assessment and feedback strategies; how to optimise both assessment and feedback, both in terms of your time and your students’ learning. We also offer support to individual lecturers when requested 

 Learning Design

At DCU, we employ the ABC Learning Design (ABC LD) framework when working with staff engaged in programme and module design/redesign. This framework offers an engaging, tightly-timed, hands-on workshop that helps staff to identify and think through potential learning activities for a course. In under two hours, staff work intensively in teams to discuss and create a visual ‘storyboard’ of the intended student learning experience. Participants also learn about pedagogically-appropriate, inclusive learning technologies for students and lecturers in higher education today. ABC learning design is particularly useful for designing new programmes or for those changing to an online or more blended format.

The ABC learning design (ABC LD) approach has already been trialled and evaluated over a diverse range of programmes nationally and internationally. At DCU, pre and post workshop supports have also been developed to supplement the core ABC workshop. Before a workshop takes place, these supports typically include meetings with programme leads and consideration of intended learning outcomes. During the workshop, participants use structured activities to explore different types of learning and consider potential digital and non-digital approaches. After the workshop participants are provided with follow-up training and a range of online supports to help implement their ideas in practice. 

DCU is a partner in the Erasmus+ funded ABC to VLE project which aims to enhance the method and produce a downloadable, open-source learning design and staff development ‘pack’ for use across the sector. The outputs created as part of the project are described in the short video below.


Further general information about the ABC approach, including background information, case studies, workshop toolkits and resources can be viewed at abc-ld-org.

 Classroom Coaching

Classroom Coaching – why do it?

Teachers can be understandably cautious about allowing ‘outsiders’ into their classrooms (actual or online). This may be because of shyness, concern about the reasons an ‘outsider’ may be there or to what use their reflections may be put, or anxiety about not having ‘formal teaching qualifications’.

This is why a classroom coaching session can help you. You could invite a peer from your area to watch your teaching and share a follow-up conversation; you could request a Teaching Enhancement Unit staff member to come in and do the same, if you want perspectives on the way you are teaching as well as what you are teaching. We have a lot of experience in giving very positive feedback, as well as a few suggestions for doing things differently if you are open to these.

We recommend meeting with your ‘outsider’ before they come in, telling them exactly what you hope to achieve through the coaching session, or letting them know they have a ‘blank slate’ to reflect on what they are seeing. It is important that the reflection is confined to the ‘outsider’ and the teacher unless otherwise suggested by the teacher (e.g., you might want a ‘public report’ on the class for promotion or portfolio purposes).


If you want to invite a colleague to coach you, and you are looking for some ideas about possible structure, the TEU can help you with this too. Please contact Dr Pip Ferguson, pip.ferguson@dcu.ie for examples.

Feedback from a recently-coached teacher, Marlene McCarthy of St Patrick's campus and used with permission:

"I very much appreciated the feedback and logistical tips (which I will use) and of course it was good to recognise the positive aspects of what I do."

 Coffee Conversations 

 Coffee Conversations

We are more than willing to meet you over coffee to chat about any items that you wish to raise about your teaching. Whether it is  just a general chat about teahcing and learning or if you have specific questions or issues that you would like us to help you with - please do not hsitate to contact us. Feel free to contact any of the team and we can arrange a mutually convenient time to meet. If we can't help you directly we will find someone who can.

Teaching Portfolio Development 

 Developing a teaching portfolio can be an essential component for the academic who wishes to demonstrate documented evidence of teaching from a variety of sources

Teaching portfolios:

  • start a process of selecting and organizing material inspiring reflection on improvement of one’s teaching
  • are a step toward a more professional view of teaching as a scholarly activity
  • can play a role in career development and personal practice
  • enable collaboration across the disciplines
  • can open up research and shared discussions on teaching and learning practice 

Each year a course is held in conjunction with Human Resources  Training & Development, further details are available at this link.  This course aims to provide an introduction to teaching portfolios, what are they, what they can do for you, what they can look like, and how to get started.  E-portfolios and traditional teaching portfolios are also explored in this course.