Jaron is busy lecturing (3)

University Teaching Qualification

This year, I worked to obtain my University Teaching Qualification (UTQ). The UTQ is a proof of didactic competence to teach and supervise at a university. This qualification is recognized nationally: all Dutch universities require all of their lecturers to obtain this qualification.

In order to obtain the University Teaching Qualification, an academic staff member has to complete four modules: UTQ Develop, UTQ Teach, UTQ Assess, and UTQ Supervise. The easiest way for me to summarize the competences that I have been developing, is to share with you the assessment criteria of the qualification. Suffice it to say that it was a lot of work, I learned a lot, and have become both a better teacher and supervisor.

Competences and assessment criteria

Here is a list of all competences and assessment criteria that one must pass in order to obtain the University Teaching Qualification:

1. Designing or redesigning education

  • The lecturer can explain how his course is embedded in the curriculum or degree program as a whole.
    • An explanation on how the learning objectives of course contribute to the objectives or competences of the degree program.
    • An explanation on how the education connects to ongoing research, or future field of occupation.
    • An explanation on how the education design fulfils the rules, institutional regulations and educational vision of the University or faculty.
  • The lecturer can design education based on the principles of ‘constructive alignment’.
    • Learning objectives that are specific and measurable; their level is appropriate to the place of the course in the program.
    • How assignments, modes of instruction and assessments are related to the learning objectives, and demonstrates that the learning objectives are fully covered in a valid and reliable manner.
  • The lecturer can design active, effective and efficient learning methods and learning materials.
    • A variation of activating instructional methods and assignments in the course.
    • Sufficient guidance for students to give direction to their learning activities.
    • An argued blend of face-to-face teaching and digitally enhanced or online learning.
  • The lecturer can design his/her education with respect to the specific (curricular) characteristics and needs of the students.
    • An explanation on how the entry level (e.g. prior knowledge, earlier educational experiences) of students is addressed, as well as how the knowledge and interest of the students are taken into account when designing the course.
    • An explanation on how the diversity of backgrounds of the students is taken into account in the course design (e.g. in the modes of instruction, selected study materials/literature, composition of project teams, explicitness of expectations).
    • An explanation on how students are stimulated to develop themselves as independent learners / stimulated to think actively for themselves.
  • The lecturer can design his education in a practically and logistically feasible (do-able) way
    • The relevant conditions (e.g. EC’s, budget, roster, hours, place, location, type of meeting) are taken into account.
    • Both lecturer and student activities (e.g. grading, giving feedback) can be dealt with realistically in the available time.

2. Teaching and supervising

  • The lecturer can prepare an educational meeting. This includes a lesson plan, containing:
    • Specific learning objectives for the meeting
    • The context of the meeting (course / module / series of meetings)
    • An overview for the meeting, including: subjects, lecturer activities, student activities
    • Justification of the lesson plan.
    • Materials for the meeting (e.g. exercises, slides, manual etc.)
  • The lecturer can conduct an educational meeting and reflect on his performance. This includes an explicit performance of an educational meeting (lecture), by video or report of a live observation, which demonstrates:
    • A clear explanation of the purpose and relevance of the teaching session to students.
    • A clear explanation of the subject matter and/or instructions towards students.
    • Real interaction with students in order to stimulate the learning process.
    • A good and stimulating atmosphere.
    • Properful use of technical aids.
    • A thorough reflection of the performance with points for improvement.
  • The lecturer can supervise students, individually and/or in groups. The lecturer shows that he:
    • has a vision and method for supervision of students over a period of time, including essential milestones.
    • has a good understanding of student objectives and needs and is capable of using different and appropriate supervision styles, catered to the situation and the student’s needs.
    • gives effective student feedback in meetings with individuals or groups of students. is aware of team dynamics and demonstrates skills to support the group process.
    • enhances initiative, independence and autonomy of students and knows how to stimulate this.
    • supports students in their development of academic skills.

3. Assessment

  • The lecturer can design and implement the assessment of student development and learning outcomes. This includes:
    • How students’ progress is assessed regularly and how students receive feedback on their performance.
    • An assessment matrix which shows congruence between learning objectives, assessment methods and test elements, plus the weighting of each sub-part.
    • An explanation of how the assessment methods meet the quality criteria: validity, reliability, transparency, usability/practicability and positive impact on student learning.
    • An example of an assessment and its corresponding answer model.
    • An explanation how the assessment fits within the assessment policy of the university or faculty (regarding OER, rules & regulations of examination board etc.).
  • The lecturer can analyse the assessment results and draw conclusions. This includes:
    • Psychometric or any other type of valid quality analysis of the assessment (including e.g. item analysis, reliability of the assessment, relevance of the criteria that determine whether the learning objectives have been achieved).
    • An explanation on the choice of method used to determine the cut-off point and the grading of the work.

4. Evaluating teaching

  • The lecturer can conduct an evaluation and collect information (data) purposefully to improve his/her teaching. This includes:
    • The purpose of the evaluation or any specific questions relevant to the teaching situation.
    • The evaluation approach (methods, sources and items/criteria) and justification for the choices made within the context.
    • Evaluation of results from students and from other sources (e.g. assessment results, colleagues).
  • The lecturer can analyse evaluation results, draw conclusions and pinpoint areas for improvement. This includes:
    • Conclusions about the quality of the course’s educational design, teaching and assessment.
    • Concrete recommendations and intended actions to improve the course’s educational design, teaching and assessment.
    • How previous evaluation results have been used in the (re)design of the course.

5. Professionalization

  • The lecturer can formulate his/her own vision on education and student learning. This includes:
    • A coherent vision on learning and teaching that is supported with references to literature and/or descriptions of experiences that have influenced this vision.
    • Examples which illustrate how his educational vision influences his teaching.
  • The lecturer can manage his education and can collaborate in a teaching team. This includes:
    • Examples that show the role of the teacher in teamwork (e.g. role/tasks, constructive contributions to team work, managing student assistants, etc.).
    • An indication of the relevant committees and boards the teacher should inform when designing/teaching a course.
    • Description of how the lecturer balances different professional roles (e.g. different teaching roles or the roles of teacher vis a vis researcher).
  • The lecturer can reflect on his/her work as a teacher and on his/her future professional development in teaching. This includes:
    • Reflection on personal strengths, weaknesses and development in relation to the 5 UTQ competences.
    • Specific plans for further professional development as a teacher.

Looking for more?

Have a look at the page listing my other qualifications, or at the pages on my involvement in education and supervision.

Jaron Sanders received in 2012 M.Sc. degrees in Mathematics and Physics from the Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands, as well as a PhD degree in Mathematics in 2016. After he obtained his PhD degree, he worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. Jaron Sanders then worked as an assistant professor at the Delft University of Technology, and now works as an assistant professor at the Eindhoven University of Technology. His research interests are applied probability, queueing theory, stochastic optimization, stochastic networks, wireless networks, and interacting (particle) systems.