The beginning of wisdom is in the definition of terms
Socrates 469 BCE–399 BCE

Here I offer a succinct list of teaching and learning terms in the book, with the aim of helping myself and others develop a shared language and understanding of learning design and practices. Suggestions and refinements welcome (email me).

By the way, I created the glossary with the help of ChatGPT…

You or your students can use ChatGPT to create a glossary of terms for a course or module you teach by following these steps:

  • Identify the key terms and concepts relevant to your academic discipline/course.
  • Input each term into ChatGPT and ask for a definition or explanation of the term.
  • Review the responses provided by ChatGPT and select the most accurate and relevant definitions.
  • Compile the selected definitions into a glossary of terms for your course.
  • Edit and refine the glossary to ensure accuracy, clarity, and consistency.

You can also use ChatGPT to generate example sentences or context for each term, or to provide additional information or related concepts that could be included in the glossary. Additionally, you can use ChatGPT to ask for synonyms or related terms that could be included in the glossary.


Access and accessibility

Access to learning and teaching materials and tools refers to the ability of individuals to obtain and use resources that are necessary for learning and teaching, regardless of their location, socioeconomic status, or personal characteristics. This includes textbooks, online resources, multimedia materials, and other educational tools that are necessary for effective learning and teaching.

Accessibility of learning and teaching materials and tools refers to the extent to which these resources are designed and delivered in ways that are inclusive and accommodating for individuals with diverse backgrounds and abilities. This includes ensuring that learning and teaching materials are available in formats that are accessible for individuals with visual, auditory, or other disabilities, as well as providing accommodations for students who may require additional support to access and use these materials. Accessibility also includes ensuring that learning and teaching materials and tools are culturally responsive and relevant to the diverse backgrounds and experiences of students.


Modifications or adjustments made to teaching, learning and assessment practices, materials, or environments in order to provide equitable access and support for students with disabilities or other unique needs. Accommodations aim to reduce barriers to learning and promote equal educational opportunities for all students to ensure that all have access to the same learning opportunities and are able to succeed in their academic pursuits.

Examples of accommodations in higher education may include providing extended time on exams, providing note-taking support or alternative formats for course materials, providing interpreters or captioning services for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, providing assistive technology or accessible course design, or making modifications to course assignments or assessments to account for students' disabilities or unique needs.

Active learning

A teaching and learning approach in higher education that involves engaging students in the learning process through activities that require them to participate, reflect, and apply what they are learning. Active learning goes beyond traditional lecture-style teaching, and instead focuses on creating an interactive and collaborative learning environment where students are encouraged to ask questions, explore ideas, and work together to solve problems.

Examples of active learning strategies in higher education may include group discussions, problem-solving activities, case studies, simulations, role-playing, debates, and peer-to-peer teaching. These activities encourage students to engage with course content in a meaningful way and to apply what they are learning to real-world situations.


Advance HE is a member-led charity of and for the sector that works with partners across the globe to improve higher education for staff, students and society.

Its three strategic goals are: (1) Enhance confidence and trust in HE; (2) Address systemic inequalities and advance education to meet the evolving needs of students and society; (3) Support the work of our members and the HE sector.


Student agency in higher education refers to the ability of students to take an active role in their own learning and decision-making processes. It is the capacity of students to make choices, set goals, and take responsibility for their own learning, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Student agency involves a shift in the traditional power dynamic between instructors and students. Instead of being passive recipients of knowledge, students are encouraged to take ownership of their own learning and to be active participants in the educational process. This may include setting their own learning goals, choosing assignments or projects that align with their interests, and seeking out resources or support to help them achieve their goals.

Art integrated learning

A teaching and learning approach that combines the arts with other academic disciplines, such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) or humanities. It involves the use of arts-based strategies, such as visual arts, music, drama, or dance, to enhance students' understanding of complex concepts and to promote creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

Art-integrated learning recognizes the important role that the arts can play in fostering interdisciplinary learning and promoting deeper engagement with academic content. It provides students with an opportunity to explore and express complex ideas in a variety of ways, using multiple forms of expression and communication.

Assessment as learning

A form of assessment in higher education that involves students in the assessment process, with the goal of promoting their learning and development. Assessment as learning recognizes that assessment is not just a means of evaluating student performance, but also a way of promoting student learning by helping them to reflect on their own learning and identify areas for improvement.

In assessment as learning, students are actively involved in setting learning goals, monitoring their progress, and providing feedback on their own learning. They may also be involved in peer and self-assessment activities, in which they evaluate their own work and that of their peers. These activities provide opportunities for students to engage in metacognition, or thinking about their own thinking, and to develop a deeper understanding of their own learning processes.

Assessment Criteria

The criteria by which student work submitted for assessment will be judged. These are published in assessment briefs and other official institutional documents.

(See also success criteria)

Assessment literacy

This includes an appreciation of the relationship between assessment and learning; knowledge of the principles of sound assessment including the related terminology; understanding of the nature of standards and criteria; skills in self and peer assessment; recognition of varied purposes of assessment methods; skills and techniques, ability to select and apply appropriate approaches and techniques to assessment tasks.


A type of learning that takes place outside of the traditional classroom setting, without the need for real-time interaction between instructors and students. In asynchronous learning, students have access to course materials, such as lectures, readings, and assignments, and are able to work through them at their own pace and on their own schedule.

Asynchronous learning can take many forms, such as online courses, self-directed learning, or hybrid models that combine online and in-person instruction. It is often used in distance learning or online education, as it provides flexibility and accessibility for students who may have other obligations, such as work or family responsibilities.

Authentic assessment

The use of ‘real-world’ tasks or projects that require students to apply their knowledge and skills in a meaningful and relevant context. Authentic assessments are designed to reflect the types of tasks that students may encounter in professional or real-world settings, and are often used to evaluate higher-order thinking skills, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity.

Examples of authentic assessment in higher education may include case studies, research projects, simulations, or performance-based assessments. These assessments require students to engage in complex tasks that are similar to those they might encounter in their future careers or in real-world situations, and to demonstrate their understanding and mastery of course content in a relevant and meaningful way.



An acronym used in the United Kingdom to refer to individuals from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. The term is meant to be inclusive and to recognize the diversity of experiences and identities within these groups. However, it is worth noting that some people within these communities may not identify with the term BAME, and may prefer more specific or individualized terms to describe their own experiences and identities.


Student belonging in higher education refers to the extent to which students feel connected, valued, and included in their college or university community. It encompasses a sense of social and emotional connectedness to the institution, as well as a sense of shared identity with other members of the community.

There is general agreement backed by some research that a sense of belonging is a critical factor in student success and retention in higher education. When students feel like they belong, they are more likely to be engaged in their learning, seek out support and resources, and persist in their studies. On the other hand, when students feel like they don't belong, they may experience feelings of isolation, anxiety, and disengagement, which can negatively impact their academic performance and well-being.

(see also ‘mattering’)

Big ideas

The overarching concepts or principles that organize and structure disciplinary knowledge and understanding. These are fundamental and essential concepts that serve as the foundation for more specific and detailed information within a discipline.

Big ideas may vary across disciplines, but they typically reflect the key themes, principles, or theories that are central to a particular field of study. For example, in history, big ideas may include the role of power and conflict in shaping societies, the impact of cultural exchange and migration, or the importance of interpreting historical evidence.

Big ideas are important in higher education teaching and learning because they provide a framework for students to make connections and understand the broader significance of what they are learning. By focusing on big ideas, instructors can help students to move beyond memorization of facts and instead develop a deeper understanding of the concepts and principles that underpin a discipline.

Blended learning

There is a ‘traditional’ understanding of blended learning as a teaching and learning approach that combines online and in-person instruction. In a blended learning model, students engage in both online activities, such as watching videos, participating in online discussions, and completing interactive exercises, and in-person activities, such as attending lectures, discussions, and group projects.

Due to technological advances, the types and nature of ‘blends’ keep growing and can include a flipped classroom model where students engage with online content before coming to class or a ‘hybrid’ model that combines simultaneous online and in-person instruction on a regular basis. The specific design of a blended learning course or program depends on the learning goals, content, and needs of the students.

(see also ‘hybrid’)



Student choice in higher education teaching and learning refers to an approach in which students have a degree of control and agency over their own learning experience. This can include the ability to select topics or assignments, choose their own learning activities or projects, or have a say in the assessment methods used to evaluate their progress.

The goal of incorporating student choice into teaching and learning is to increase student engagement and motivation, as well as to support the development of important skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making. By giving students the opportunity to make choices about their own learning, they are encouraged to take ownership of their education and to become active, self-directed learners.


Chunked input in teaching and learning refers to a strategy for presenting information or learning material in small, manageable "chunks" or pieces. The idea behind chunking is that breaking down complex or overwhelming information into smaller pieces makes it easier for learners to process and retain.

Chunking can take many different forms, depending on the specific context and subject matter. For example, in a lecture, chunking might involve breaking up a long presentation into shorter sections, with frequent pauses or breaks in between. In an online course, chunking might involve presenting material in short videos or modules, with interactive exercises or quizzes to reinforce learning.

Closure (of lesson)

Lesson closure refers to the final part of a teaching session or class period, where the instructor or teacher summarizes key points, provides a conclusion or wrap-up, and engages in a final review or assessment of learning. The goal of a lesson closure is to help students synthesize and reflect on what they have learned, and to provide a sense of closure or completion to the learning experience.


Students' co-creation or partnership in higher education refers to an approach in which students are actively involved in shaping and contributing to the learning experience, and have a degree of ownership and agency in the educational process. This can involve collaborating with faculty and staff to co-create course content, assignments, and assessments, as well as engaging in co-curricular activities and initiatives that support their personal and academic growth.

The goal of students' co-creation or partnership is to promote student engagement, motivation, and empowerment, and to foster a sense of shared responsibility and accountability for the learning experience. By involving students as partners in the educational process, institutions can leverage their knowledge, skills, and experiences to enrich the learning environment and to help ensure that teaching and learning are responsive to the needs and interests of all learners.

Cognitive load

The amount of mental effort or working memory capacity that is required to process and retain new information or to perform a task. In the context of higher education teaching and learning, cognitive load can be influenced by a variety of factors, including the complexity of the material being presented, the format and delivery of instructional content, and the level of prior knowledge or expertise of the learner.

Effective teaching and learning require an appropriate balance of cognitive load. Too much cognitive load can overwhelm learners and interfere with the ability to process and retain new information, while too little cognitive load can lead to disengagement and boredom.

Collaboration, collaborative learning

Collaborative learning in higher education refers to an approach to teaching and learning in which students work together in small groups or teams to achieve a common learning goal or complete a task. Collaborative learning can take many different forms, including group projects, peer review activities, problem-based learning, and cooperative learning, among others.

The key features of collaborative learning include shared responsibility for learning, active engagement and participation, and collective problem-solving and decision-making. By working together in a collaborative environment, students can benefit from multiple perspectives, ideas, and skills, and can develop important skills such as communication, teamwork, and critical thinking.

Communities of practice

Communities of practice (CoP) in higher education teaching and learning refer to groups of people who share a common interest or passion for a particular subject or topic, and who engage in ongoing, collaborative learning and problem-solving related to that subject or topic. CoPs can include faculty members, students, and other professionals who are involved in a specific field of study or discipline.

The concept of CoPs is based on the idea that learning is a social process that is most effective when people collaborate, share ideas, and learn from each other. CoPs provide a space for individuals to engage in ongoing dialogue, debate, and reflection about their practice and to work together to develop new knowledge, skills, and approaches.


Constructivism is a philosophy of learning founded on the premise that, by reflecting on our experiences, we construct our own understanding of the world we live in. Each of us generates our own “rules” and “mental models,” which we use to make sense of our experiences. Learning, therefore, is simply the process of adjusting our mental models to accommodate new experiences.

Creative (teaching and learning)

An approach to teaching and learning that encourages students to use their imagination and creativity to explore, discover, and create new knowledge and ideas. Creative teaching and learning can take many different forms, including project-based learning, inquiry-based learning, problem-based learning, and more. The key features of creative teaching and learning include active engagement and participation, hands-on and experiential learning, and opportunities for exploration, experimentation, and discovery. By engaging in creative teaching and learning, students can develop important skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and communication.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a slippery and highly contested process. For some it is about problem solving whereas others see it as an ongoing and challenging social process of making sense of the world through a collaborative process of questioning questions, challenging assumptions, recognising that knowledge can evolve chaotically; ultimately with the aim of continually improving thinking.

Cultural wealth

The cultural wealth of students in higher education refers to the diverse set of knowledge, skills, experiences, and perspectives that students bring with them from their cultural backgrounds. This includes aspects such as language, history, traditions, beliefs, values, customs, and ways of knowing and learning. Recognizing and valuing the cultural wealth of students is important in higher education because it can help to create a more inclusive and equitable learning environment. By acknowledging and building upon the cultural wealth of students, educators can create opportunities for students to connect with their own cultural identities and to learn from and with others from different backgrounds.

Culturally responsive (teaching and learning)

An approach to education that values and builds upon the cultural wealth and diversity of students. This approach recognizes that students come from diverse cultural backgrounds and have different experiences, knowledge, and ways of learning.

Culturally responsive teaching and learning involves creating a learning environment that is inclusive and respectful of all students, regardless of their cultural background. This approach recognizes the importance of building relationships with students, understanding their cultural perspectives and values, and incorporating their experiences and knowledge into the learning process.

Curating (learning resources)

The process of selecting and organizing educational materials, such as articles, videos, podcasts, books, and other resources, that are relevant and useful for a specific learning outcome. The goal of curating learning resources is to provide learners with a curated collection of resources that are high-quality, relevant, and accessible.



Decolonizing higher education refers to the process of acknowledging and challenging the pervasive colonial legacy that has shaped higher education institutions and the curriculum they offer. The aim is to dismantle the Eurocentric biases and power dynamics that continue to influence education systems, and to create a more inclusive, diverse and equitable learning environment. It involves reassessing the curriculum, pedagogy, and research methods to reflect the diverse perspectives and experiences of non-Western and marginalized communities as well as addressing the institutional and systemic barriers that prevent equitable access to al.


The process of tailoring instruction and assessment to meet the diverse learning needs, interests, and abilities of individual students. It is an approach that recognizes that students have different learning styles, preferences, and levels of readiness, and that one-size-fits-all instruction is not effective for all learners.

The goal of differentiation is to create a learning environment that accommodates the needs of all students and supports their academic and personal growth. This may involve varying the content, process, and product of instruction to meet the needs of different learners, and providing different levels of challenge and support based on individual students' readiness and skill levels.

Digital literacy

The ability to access, evaluate, use, and create digital information and technology effectively and responsibly in the context of higher education. It involves a range of skills, including basic computer skills, information literacy, media literacy, and critical thinking skills.

Digital literacy is essential for success in higher education as technology plays an increasingly important role in learning, research, and communication. It enables students to navigate digital resources, access and analyse information, collaborate with peers and faculty, and create digital content.


The range of differences that exist among students, faculty, and staff, including differences in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, age, disability, and other factors. It encompasses a broad range of perspectives, experiences, and identities that contribute to the richness of the academic community.

Dual coding

Dual coding approach to educational resources refers to the use of visual and verbal information simultaneously to enhance learning and understanding. This approach involves presenting information in both visual and verbal formats to improve comprehension and retention of information.



At its core, an ecological approach to higher education recognizes that the success of an individual or institution is dependent on the health and well-being of the broader ecosystem. It emphasizes the importance of considering the social, economic, cultural, and environmental factors that influence the learning environment and the individuals within it. An ecological approach to higher education also recognizes the importance of sustainability, and the need to balance the needs of the present with the needs of future generations.


Employability in higher education discourse refers to the skills, knowledge, and personal attributes that enable graduates to secure and maintain employment in their chosen field. It is a key focus of many higher education programs and initiatives, as it is increasingly recognized that graduates need to possess a range of skills and competencies in order to succeed in today's competitive job market.


Student engagement in teaching and learning refers to the degree to which students are actively and willingly participating in the learning process. It involves a sense of involvement, investment, and commitment to learning, and is characterized by behaviours such as asking questions, participating in class discussions, completing assignments, and seeking out feedback.

Engaged students are more likely to achieve academic success, as they are motivated and invested in their learning. They are also more likely to develop a range of skills and competencies, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and collaboration.

Enquiry-based learning

An approach to teaching and learning that emphasizes active and experiential learning. It involves students taking an active role in the learning process by posing questions, conducting research, and applying their findings to real-world problems or scenarios.

In enquiry-based learning students work collaboratively to identify and explore (open-ended) questions or problems related to the subject matter. They then engage in a process of investigation and discovery, using a range of research methods and sources to gather information and develop hypotheses. They are encouraged to think critically and creatively, and to reflect on their findings and their implications.

(see also ‘inquiry’)


A teaching and learning environment refers to the physical, digital and social setting in which teaching and learning takes place. It includes a range of factors such as the classroom or learning space, the technology and resources available, the teaching and learning methods used, and the interpersonal relationships and interactions between students and instructors.


An eportfolio is a collection, created by a learner, of digital artefacts articulating experiences, achievements and learning. Underpinning this collection are complex processes of planning, synthesising, sharing, discussing, reflecting, as well as giving, receiving and responding to feedback. A learner makes a purposeful aggregation of digital items to present to an audience.


Equity in education refers to the principle that all students should have access to the resources and opportunities necessary to succeed academically, regardless of their background, identity, or socioeconomic status. It emphasizes the importance of creating a fair and inclusive learning environment that addresses the systemic barriers and inequalities that can limit the educational opportunities and outcomes of certain groups of students.


Evaluation of teaching is a process of assessing the quality and effectiveness of a teacher in facilitating student learning. It involves gathering feedback from students, colleagues, and management to identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.



Feedback processes in higher education refer to the methods used to provide students with information about their progress and performance, and to support their learning and development.

Feedback can take many forms, including written or oral feedback on assignments, assessments, and exams, as well as feedback on class participation and engagement. Feedback can be provided by instructors, peers, or through self-assessment processes.

Flexible education

Flexible higher education refers to the provision of learning opportunities that are designed to accommodate the diverse needs and circumstances of students. This can include a range of approaches to teaching and learning, including online and blended learning, part-time and flexible scheduling, and personalized and self-paced learning.

Flexible higher education is intended to provide students with greater control over their learning experience, enabling them to balance their academic pursuits with other personal or professional commitments. It can also help to support student success by reducing barriers to participation, such as geographical or financial constraints, and by promoting greater access and equity in higher education.

Flipped learning

An instructional strategy and a type of blended learning that reverses the traditional learning environment by delivering instructional content, often online, outside of the classroom. It moves activities, including those that may have traditionally been considered homework, into the classroom. In a flipped classroom, students watch online lectures, collaborate in online discussions, or carry out research at home and engage in concepts in the classroom with the guidance of a mentor.

Formative assessment

Assessment aimed at determining a person's strengths and weaknesses with the objective of improving them. Generally expressed in words rather than grades, and not necessarily used in the final assessment.

Formative feedback

Formative feedback in higher education refers to ongoing feedback provided to students during the learning process to support their development and improve their understanding of course material. This type of feedback is focused on identifying areas for improvement and providing guidance for students to address those areas.

Formative feedback can take many forms, including written comments on assignments, verbal feedback during class discussions, and peer feedback on group projects. It is intended to be constructive and specific, providing students with clear guidance on how to improve their work and meet learning objectives.



Gamification of learning refers to the use of game design and elements in educational contexts to enhance student engagement and motivation. This approach involves applying principles from game design, such as competition, rewards, and feedback, to traditional learning activities to make them more enjoyable and engaging for students. The goal is to maximize enjoyment and engagement through capturing the interest of learners and inspiring them to continue learning.

Global South

The term "Global South" is used to refer to countries and regions that are generally considered to be less economically developed and less powerful on the global stage than countries in the Northern Hemisphere or the "Global North". This includes countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, as well as some parts of the Middle East and the Pacific.

The term "Global South" is often used to describe a shared experience of economic, social, and political marginalization resulting from centuries of colonialism, imperialism, and exploitation by more powerful countries in the Global North. It is a complex and contested concept that can have different meanings and interpretations depending on the context in which it is used.

Ground rules

Agreed-upon guidelines or expectations that are established at the beginning of a course or program to help create a respectful and productive learning environment for all participants.

(see also ‘netiquette’)

Group work

Group work in higher education refers to a collaborative learning approach where students work together in groups to complete a task, project, or assignment. The purpose of group work is to promote active learning and enhance student engagement, while also providing opportunities for students to develop important interpersonal and communication skills.



Holistic higher education refers to an approach to education that recognizes and addresses the interconnectedness of various aspects of a student's life and seeks to promote their overall well-being and development. In holistic higher education, the focus is not only on academic performance and knowledge acquisition, but also on the development of students' personal and social skills, physical and mental health, and sense of purpose and meaning.


The term ‘hybrid’ is often used interchangeably with ‘blended’, however real hybrid teaching and learning refers to a mode of instruction that combines elements of both synchronous in-person face-to-face and synchronous online learning at once. In a hybrid model, students can participate in both in-person and remote learning activities, with the aim of providing a flexible and adaptable learning experience that can meet the needs of a wide range of learners.

(see also ‘blended learning’)


Ice-breaker (start of course)

In a classroom setting, an ice-breaker is an activity or game used to help students become more comfortable with each other and with the teacher. The goal of an ice-breaker is to create a relaxed and positive atmosphere where students feel more open to participating in discussions and engaging with the material being taught.

Inclusive learning design

My definition in the book:

It is an approach to course/curriculum design that considers the full range of human diversity with its complexity. It is designing learning environments, experiences, activities, tasks, assessment and feedback with students’ voice and choice at its heart, so that students can grow academically, culturally and socially.

Independent learning

Although it can mean ‘homework’, a broader understanding of independent learning is to view it as an approach where students take responsibility for their own learning process. It involves students taking initiative and being proactive in identifying what they need to learn, setting goals, and seeking out resources to achieve their objectives.


Induction for students in higher education refers to the process of familiarizing new students with the institution, its resources, policies, expectations, and academic programs. It is designed to support students as they transition into higher education and to provide them with the necessary information and tools to succeed in their studies.

(see also ‘orientation’)


Inquiry in the context of higher education teaching and learning refers to an active and student-centered approach to learning where students explore, investigate, and construct their own knowledge through questioning, experimentation, and analysis. It involves asking questions, seeking answers, and engaging in critical thinking to deepen understanding of a topic or concept.

Inquiry-based learning is often used in higher education to promote deeper learning, critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and independent learning. It involves students working collaboratively or individually to identify and investigate real-world problems or questions, and then using evidence and reasoning to develop solutions or answers.

(see also ‘enquiry-based learning’)

Integrated learning

An approach to teaching and learning that emphasizes the interconnectedness of knowledge and skills across different disciplines and contexts. It involves the integration of academic and real-world experiences to develop a more holistic and interdisciplinary understanding of a subject.

Integrated learning in higher education encourages students to apply knowledge and skills learned in one area to other areas, and to make connections between seemingly disparate fields of study. This approach to learning can help students to develop a deeper understanding of complex problems, to think more critically and creatively, and to solve real-world problems.

Intentionally hospitable

A teaching and learning approach that prioritizes the creation of a welcoming and inclusive learning environment for all students. This approach recognizes that students come from diverse backgrounds and may have different needs, interests, and learning styles.

In an intentionally hospitable learning environment, instructors are attentive to the needs and concerns of their students, and work to create a culture of trust and respect in the classroom. This can involve providing opportunities for students to share their experiences, perspectives, and ideas, and creating a sense of community and belonging.

Intercultural learning

The process of developing intercultural competence, or the ability to effectively communicate and interact with people from different cultures. It involves the acquisition of knowledge, attitudes, and skills that enable individuals to understand and appreciate cultural differences, and to effectively navigate cross-cultural interactions.


Interdisciplinary in higher education teaching and learning refers to the integration of multiple academic disciplines and fields of study in order to approach a topic or issue from a more comprehensive and holistic perspective. It involves breaking down traditional disciplinary boundaries and encouraging collaboration and cooperation across different fields.

Interdisciplinary learning in higher education is based on the idea that complex problems cannot be adequately addressed from a single perspective or discipline, but rather require multiple perspectives and approaches to develop a deeper understanding of the issue. By bringing together knowledge and skills from multiple fields, interdisciplinary learning can lead to more innovative and effective solutions to complex problems.


A framework for understanding and analysing how different social identities and systems of oppression intersect and interact with each other. It involves recognizing that individuals can experience multiple forms of discrimination and marginalization simultaneously, and that these experiences are shaped by their intersecting identities.



Kinaesthetic teaching and learning in higher education involves incorporating physical movement and hands-on experiences into the teaching and learning process. It is based on the idea that physical activity can enhance the learning process by engaging the body and mind together, and by providing opportunities for students to interact with course materials in different ways.


Learning outcomes

Statements indicating what a learner should have acquired at the end of a given learning period. These are usually 'hoped for' as there are other, unplanned, 'emergent' or additional outcomes.

Learning outcomes are typically developed by instructors or curriculum designers prior to the start of a course or program. They are intended to provide a clear and measurable framework for assessing student learning and evaluating the effectiveness of the teaching and learning process. Learning outcomes can also be used to guide the selection of teaching strategies and assessment methods, and to ensure that course materials and activities are aligned with the desired learning outcomes.

Learning thresholds

A term which I use in my book to refer to key, usually transformative, often tricky, learning building blocks which encompass threshold concepts as well as threshold practices or capabilities.

(see also ‘threshold concepts’)


A 'liberating' approach to higher education refers to an educational philosophy and practice that aims to empower students to become critical thinkers and agents of social change. This approach recognizes that education is not neutral, but rather that it can be used to either reinforce or challenge existing power structures and social inequalities.

A liberating approach to higher education is often grounded in the principles of critical pedagogy, which emphasizes the importance of developing students' critical consciousness and promoting social justice.


Macro/meso/micro level

In my book, the ‘macro’ level of learning design refers to a whole programme of study, such as a three-year university degree programme. The ‘meso’ level is at the individual course (one year) or module/unit (one term or one semester). The ‘micro’ level refers to an individual lesson or even to one learning activity.


In the context of higher education, the term "mattering" refers to a student's perception that they are important, valued, and connected within their academic community. When students feel that they matter in their academic environment, they are more likely to feel engaged, motivated, and supported in their learning and personal development. Some scholars believe that mattering is more important than belonging.

(see also ‘belonging’)


The process of learning how to learn. In higher education, metalearning involves developing a set of skills and strategies that enable students to become more effective and efficient learners. By developing metalearning skills and strategies such as self-reflection and goal-setting, students can become more independent, self-directed learners who are better equipped to succeed in their academic studies and beyond.

While metacognition and metalearning share some similarities, they are not interchangeable terms. Metacognition refers more broadly to the process of thinking about one's own cognitive processes, while metalearning refers specifically to the process of developing skills and strategies for more effective learning.

(see also ‘metacognition’)


Mentoring in higher education refers to a collaborative relationship between a more experienced, knowledgeable person (the mentor) and a less experienced person (the mentee) with the goal of supporting the mentee's personal and professional development. Mentoring can have a positive impact on student success, including improved academic performance, greater retention rates, and increased career readiness.


Metacognition refers to the process of thinking about one's own thinking. It involves becoming aware of one's own cognitive processes and strategies, and using that awareness to monitor, control, and adjust one's learning and problem-solving behaviors. Metacognition can be applied to a variety of cognitive tasks, such as reading, writing, problem-solving, and decision-making.

While metacognition and metalearning share some similarities, they are not interchangeable terms. Metacognition refers more broadly to the process of thinking about one's own cognitive processes, while metalearning refers specifically to the process of developing skills and strategies for more effective learning.

(see also ‘metalearning’)

Mobile learning

The use of mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, for learning and educational purposes. In the context of higher education, mobile learning can provide students with greater flexibility and accessibility to educational resources and activities.


Needs analysis

Needs analysis is a process of gathering and analysing information about the learning needs and preferences of higher education students. The goal of needs analysis is to identify the specific learning needs and goals of students, and to use this information to develop and deliver effective educational programs and services.


The etiquette and rules of conduct that govern behavior in online communication, including email, messaging, forums, social media, and other digital platforms. The term is a combination of the words "net" (short for "internet") and "etiquette."

(see also ‘ground rules’)

Neurodiverse, neurodivergent

The term neurodiversity signals that all humans are unique from a neurological viewpoint, while neurodivergence is a relatively new term now used to include what were previously considered medical ‘conditions’ such as autism, dyslexia and dyscalculia. The term neurodivergence puts the emphasis on the fact that these types of intelligences are the effect of variations in the human genome. They can be construed as positive assets (strengths) or negative deficits (weaknesses) depending on the stance taken.


Online learning

The delivery of academic courses and programs through digital platforms and technologies, such as web-based learning management systems, video conferencing tools, and other online resources.

Online learning can take many forms, including fully online or blended learning courses that integrate online and face-to-face instruction. It provides students with the flexibility and convenience of accessing course materials and participating in coursework from any location with an internet connection. It also allows for a more personalized and self-directed learning experience, as students can work at their own pace and schedule.

However, online learning also presents unique challenges, such as the need for students to have access to reliable internet and digital devices, the potential for social isolation, and the need for strong self-regulation and time management skills. Effective online learning requires careful planning and design, as well as ongoing support and resources for students and instructors.


In my book, orientation refers to something besides and beyond the overall, generic ‘induction’ students usually experience when they join a university. It refers to a course orientation phase which supports the various transitions students experience while at university.

(see also ‘induction’)


In a university course, students' outputs refer to the tangible and measurable results of their learning – the things they make, do, write or say. Typical outputs are assignments, projects, papers, exams, or other assessments that demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and competencies. These outputs can be graded or evaluated by the instructor or a team of evaluators based on predetermined criteria and intended learning outcomes for the course. The outputs of a university course are important for assessing student learning and progress, providing feedback to students, and determining whether they have achieved the learning outcomes and competencies set by the course.



Padlet is an online platform that allows users to create and share digital "walls" or "boards" where they can collaborate and share content, such as text, images, videos, links, and files, in real-time. Padlet can be used for a variety of purposes, such as brainstorming, group projects, collaborative note-taking, discussions, and presentations. Users can customize their Padlets with different layouts, backgrounds, and privacy settings, and they can also collaborate with others by sharing the Padlet with specific individuals or groups. Padlet is popular among educators and students as a tool for online learning and collaboration, as well as for in-person classroom activities.

Peer learning, peer assessment

Peer learning and assessment in higher education is a collaborative approach to teaching and learning where students take on the role of both learner and teacher. It involves students working together in small groups to support each other's learning, sharing their knowledge and skills, and providing feedback and critique on each other's work. Peer learning and assessment can be incorporated into a range of activities, such as group projects, discussions, presentations, and peer review of written work.

Personal tutor

In higher education in the UK, a personal tutor is a designated academic staff member who provides academic and pastoral support to an individual student or a small group of students throughout their degree programme. The personal tutor serves as a point of contact for the student, providing guidance and advice on a range of academic and personal matters, such as course selection, academic progress, career aspirations, and personal issues that may affect the student's ability to study.


Positionality in learning and teaching in higher education refers to the ways in which an individual's social, cultural, political, and historical context shapes their perspectives and experiences. It refers to the notion that each individual occupies a particular position in society, based on factors such as their race, ethnicity, gender, class, and other aspects of their identity and background.

A ‘positionality statement’ articulates the values and socio-cultural background that inform your current professional stance and practices.

Project-based learning

An instructional approach that places emphasis on student-led, project-based activities that enable students to engage in authentic, real-world problem-solving and inquiry. In this approach, students work on projects that require them to identify a problem, research possible solutions, and create a product or solution that addresses the issue.

Project-based learning is often interdisciplinary and promotes collaboration, critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and creativity skills that are essential for success in the 21st century workplace.



The QAA, or Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, is an independent body in the UK that is responsible for ensuring the quality and standards of higher education institutions and their programs. It was established in 1997 and is funded by the UK government, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), and other funding bodies.


Reading or resource list

A curated list of recommended texts that students are expected to read in order to support their learning in a particular course or module. Reading lists are usually compiled by the course lecturer or module leader and are made available to students through the institution's virtual learning environment (VLE) or other means.

I prefer the term resource list to highlight the mixed media reading lists can use: books, journal articles, videos, audiobooks, infographics, podcasts and other online resources. The list may also indicate which texts are essential and which are optional, as well as providing guidance on how to approach the resources and how they relate to the course or module content.


Reflective practice is a process of thinking and learning from one's experiences, with the aim of developing personal and professional growth. In higher education, reflective practice is commonly used to help students deepen their understanding of what they have learned and how it relates to their future practice or career. It involves critically reflecting on one's experiences, beliefs, assumptions, and actions, and considering how they can be improved or changed. This can be done individually or with the support of a tutor or peer group. Reflective practice is a key skill that can help students become more self-aware, self-directed, and effective learners, and can help them to make the most of their educational experiences.


Relevant learning in higher education refers to the process of making education more meaningful and applicable to students' lives and the world around them. It involves designing curriculum, activities, and assessments that connect learning to real-world situations and experiences, and that help students understand the relevance and applicability of what they are learning. Relevant learning encourages students to be engaged, motivated, and active learners who are able to apply what they have learned to solve problems, address issues, and make a positive impact in their communities and beyond. It can also help students develop critical thinking skills, creativity, and adaptability, which are essential for success in the rapidly changing world of work.


In a higher education context, research refers to the systematic and structured investigation, analysis, and interpretation of data, information, and ideas related to a specific field or topic. It involves using various research methods and techniques to gather, evaluate, and synthesize information, and to generate new knowledge, insights, and understanding. Research is an essential aspect of higher education, as it enables students and teachers to explore and expand upon existing knowledge, to discover new information, and to advance their fields of study.


In a broad sense, teaching and learning resources in higher education refer to a wide range of tools, materials, and supports that are used to facilitate effective teaching and learning such as textbooks and course readings; lecture notes and presentations; multimedia resources, such as videos, podcasts, and interactive simulations; learning management systems (LMS) and other online platforms for course delivery and communication; learning activities, such as case studies, group work, and problem-based learning exercises; assessment tools and rubrics for measuring student progress and achievement; academic support services, such as tutoring and writing centres.

Restorative practice

Restorative practice in higher education refers to a set of principles and practices that aim to build and maintain positive relationships, address conflicts, and promote accountability and responsibility among students and faculty members. Restorative practice is based on the idea that when harm is caused, the focus should be on repairing the harm and restoring relationships, rather than on punishment or blame.


A rubric is an evaluation tool or set of guidelines used to promote the consistent application of learning outcomes and expectations, and to measure their attainment against a consistent set of criteria. Rubrics clearly define academic expectations for students and help to ensure consistency in the evaluation of academic work from student to student, and assignment to assignment. Rubrics are also used as scoring instruments to determine grades or the degree to which learning standards have been demonstrated or attained by students.



A teaching approach where instructors provide students with support and guidance to help them develop the skills and knowledge necessary to achieve learning objectives. The term "scaffolding" comes from the concept of providing a temporary framework or structure that can be removed once the learner becomes more proficient and independent.

In this approach, instructors provide students with the necessary guidance, resources, and feedback to help them build their understanding gradually. The level of support is adjusted according to the needs of the student, so that they are challenged, but not overwhelmed.


A screencast is a digital recording of the contents of a computer screen, including visual elements, audio narration, and other multimedia effects. They are commonly used in educational settings as a way to provide students with interactive and engaging learning experiences.


SDGs stands for "Sustainable Development Goals." The SDGs are a set of 17 global goals adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The goals aim to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.


The process by which students evaluate their own academic progress and performance. This may include assessing their own skills, knowledge, and understanding of course material, as well as identifying areas where they need further improvement. Self-assessment can be done through a variety of methods, such as self-reflection, self-evaluation, or self-assigned grades. It can help students to develop a deeper understanding of their own learning processes and take greater ownership of their education. Additionally, self-assessment can be used by instructors to better understand their students' needs and tailor their teaching accordingly.


Self-directed learning is a process of acquiring knowledge, skills, and attitudes through self-initiated and self-managed learning activities. In higher education, it refers to a learning approach in which students take responsibility for their learning and engage in activities that help them to set goals, monitor their progress, and reflect on their learning.


Self-regulation of students in higher education refers to the process through which learners actively take control of their own learning experience. It involves the use of various strategies and techniques to manage one's own learning, including setting goals, planning, monitoring, evaluating, and adjusting one's approach to learning. Self-regulation allows students to become more effective learners, taking responsibility for their own learning, and developing skills that can be applied in a range of settings.


Disciplinary 'silos' in higher education refer to the phenomenon of departments or disciplines within a university operating in isolation from each other, with little cross-disciplinary interaction or collaboration. This can lead to a fragmented and narrow approach to teaching and research, where knowledge and ideas are compartmentalized rather than integrated across disciplines.

Socially responsible

A socially responsible ethos in higher education refers to an approach to teaching and learning that emphasizes the importance of addressing social, environmental, and economic issues in society. It involves a commitment to fostering the development of responsible, engaged citizens who are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and values needed to make positive contributions to their communities and the world at large. This ethos encourages the integration of social responsibility principles into all aspects of higher education, including curriculum design, teaching methods, research, and community engagement.


Educational spaces in higher education refer to physical or virtual environments designed for teaching and learning activities. These spaces can include classrooms, lecture halls, laboratories, libraries, study rooms, online learning platforms, and other interactive learning spaces. Educational spaces are designed to facilitate learning, support teaching, and promote collaboration among students and educators. The design of educational spaces can influence student engagement, motivation, and achievement, and can play a critical role in shaping the educational experience of students.


In the context of higher education teaching and learning, standards refer to a set of expectations or benchmarks that are used to evaluate the quality of educational programmes, courses, and assessments. These expectations are typically established by organizations or agencies that oversee higher education, such as accrediting bodies or government agencies. Standards can cover a wide range of areas, such as curriculum design, teaching quality, assessment practices, student support services, and institutional governance. By adhering to standards, higher education institutions can demonstrate their commitment to quality and continuous improvement, and provide assurance to students, employers, and other stakeholders that their educational programs meet recognized standards of excellence.

Success criteria

Success criteria for higher education assessment refer to the standards that students are expected to achieve in order to demonstrate their mastery of the learning objectives or goals of a course. These criteria are usually made explicit to students in advance, so they understand what they are expected to do to achieve success in their assessments.

(See also assessment criteria)


The concept of meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It involves balancing social, economic, and environmental factors to ensure that resources are used in a way that promotes long-term well-being and preserves natural systems for future use. In the context of teaching and learning in higher education, sustainability refers to incorporating principles of sustainability into curricula, research, campus operations, and community engagement to promote a more sustainable future.



Teamwork for higher education students refers to the collaborative effort of a group of students to work together towards a common goal or objective. It involves the effective communication, coordination, and cooperation of each team member to achieve a shared outcome. In a higher education context, teamwork can be facilitated through group projects, collaborative assignments, or team-based learning activities, which provide opportunities for students to develop their interpersonal and collaborative skills, as well as enhance their learning outcomes.

Teams-based learning

Team-based learning (TBL) is an instructional strategy that involves students working together in small teams to solve problems or complete tasks related to course content. TBL aims to promote student engagement, collaborative skills, critical thinking, and retention of course material.

Threshold concept

A ‘conceptual gateway’ into a subject. A term used to describe core concepts that once understood, transform perception of a given subject and are central to the process of mastery. Features of a threshold concept are that it is transformative, troublesome, irreversible, integrative, bounded, discursive, reconstitutive, and liminal.

(see also ‘learning thresholds’)


In a higher education context, transition refers to the process of adjustment and adaptation that students undergo as they move from one stage of their educational journey to another. This could refer to the transition from school to university, from undergraduate to postgraduate study, or from one academic institution to another. It involves changes in academic expectations, teaching and learning methods, social networks, and independent living skills.


Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

A teaching approach that aims to make learning accessible to all students, regardless of their individual differences, abilities, or learning preferences. UDL emphasizes the need to create flexible and inclusive learning environments that allow students to access and engage with course content, participate in learning activities, and demonstrate their knowledge and understanding in various ways.


The term "underserved" refers to groups of students in higher education who face significant barriers to accessing educational opportunities and resources due to systemic disadvantages, such as socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, gender, disability, or first-generation status. These groups may lack access to essential resources such as financial aid, academic support services, or mentoring, and may struggle to succeed academically as a result.



Beliefs that shape the behaviours and decision-making processes of individuals and institutions in the academic community.


Visuals refer to any visual aids or representations that are used to support teaching and learning in higher education. These may include images, diagrams, charts, graphs, maps, videos, animations, and other multimedia elements that are intended to help students better understand and retain the information being presented. Visuals can be used to illustrate key concepts, demonstrate relationships between ideas, provide real-world examples, or simply make the learning experience more engaging and interactive.


A VLE (virtual learning environment) is a platform used in education to give access to educational content online. This can be via computers or mobile devices (tablets or phones or even games consoles).


Student voice is the individual and collective perspective and actions of students within the context of learning and education.



Student wellbeing can be broadly defined as a student's overall development and quality of life. Wellbeing is a holistic term that encompasses all aspects of a student's life, including their physical, social, mental and emotional state.