The new ‘Beginning to Teach’ (BTT) program was designed to develop the teaching capability of those with limited or no experience of teaching. This year it was offered fully online.

Sessions explore perspectives on student learning, good practice in how to plan and facilitate learning, and the basics of assessment and feedback. The program also gives participants the opportunity to plan, facilitate and evaluate a short teaching session.

Hi all, I would like to say thank you (again) for such a great learning experience. BTT Intensive was exactly what I had hoped it would be, i.e. I learned exactly what I had wanted to learn. It has given me the tools (also in terms of language/terminology) to structure and plan my own teaching, and it has provided me more confidence to facilitate learning in the higher education context. On top of this it was a lot of fun. You are all great teachers and facilitators.

The BTT program has been offered three times in 2020: as a pilot in FMHHS with six participants; in ‘ordinary’ mode over eight weeks with 32 participants; and in ‘intensive’ mode over two weeks with 34 participants. 48 people have so far completed BTT since August 2020. Due to Covid-19 physical distancing rules, each offering has been fully online.

A major highlight for many of the participants was the opportunity to practice teaching in front of supportive colleagues, made possible thanks to a small team of experienced academics from across faculties who joined in as guest peer reviewers.

BTT guest peer reviewers

Who is the BTT program aimed at?

The BTT program was designed to develop the teaching capability of those with limited or no experience of teaching. It is recommended for HDR students and ECRs who tutor or have a Teaching Assistant or Instructor role in iLearn.

What is the time commitment to complete BTT?

There are four modules, with each module requiring 3-4 hours of effort. There are required synchronous (Zoom attendance) and non-synchronous (iLearn) activities for each module.

The time commitment was greater than I expected. I definitely spent more than 12 hours. It was worthwhile, and I would not reduce the scope. For me, perhaps no exposure to the higher-Ed area at all meant I was slower than a more experienced teacher would be. Add more time for those that do not have a ready-made subject to pull a 15-minute lesson from.

What can you expect from completing the BTT program?

Apart from a Certificate of Completion, participants have told us (in the program evaluation) that BTT provided the following outcomes:

  • Improved confidence with teaching
  • Learning how to deliver materials using student-centered learning methods and engaging students with online interactions
  • Understanding the difference between student-centered and teacher-centered teaching and learning.
  • Gaining awareness of the many ways to formally assess individuals and how these can be beneficial for students throughout a teaching semester.
  • Receiving constructive feedback on own teaching from peers and disciplinary experts
  • Learning how to provide constructive feedback to peers
  • Seeing best practice modelled

Participants also told us: The best aspect of the Beginning to Teach program was…

  • Receiving constructive feedback on their individual practice teaching session
  • Designing and delivering a practice teaching session
  • Gaining perspectives from a variety of individuals from different disciplines
  • Gaining foundational knowledge and skills
  • Observing good teaching and use of technology being modelled

What do past participants say about the BTT program?

Overall a great program and exposed me to new online technologies. Great range of experience in the group too provided good insights. I would recommend this course.

It’s a good course to learn and relearn our teaching skills regardless of our years of experience. Great way to refresh and validate our skills from new and older teaching staff. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The session was really beneficial. It has changed how I view teaching and learning as a whole.

I think the practice teaching session was more valuable than I thought it would be as giving and receiving the feedback today taught me so much about the best approaches to teaching.

Having limited teaching experience, BTT helped me to understand the foundation of teaching at university level.

That it goes over so many aspects of teaching in a little amount of time and that we always got really good feedback from the facilitators.

I thought the teachers were all very good. They were excellent at making people feel relaxed and comfortable as well as providing all the information required.

Thank you for facilitating such an inclusive and supportive environment! I haven’t been in a class like this in years!

Feedback from the BTT program evaluation survey for 2020

Will Beginning to Teach be offered in 2021?

BTT will be offered in February 2021. Keep reading Teche for further professional development opportunities.

How do I register my interest in the Beginning to Teach program?

Complete this registration form and we will add you to the wait list and keep you updated regarding future offerings of the program. Note that you will need to be logged in to your Macquarie University Outlook account to be able to view the registration form.

If you have any further questions about the BTT program, please email

Posted by L&T Development

The Learning and Teaching Staff Development team works with staff across the University to ensure they are supported to facilitate quality learning for students. This includes offering professional development, contributing to curriculum and assessment design, recognising and rewarding good practice, supporting peer review of teaching, and leading scholarly reflection. Email with questions or requests.

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