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University Teaching in Focus

University Teaching in Focus

A learning-centred approach

Author(s): Lynne Hunt and Denise Chalmers (Eds)

Publisher: ACER Press 2012

Written by internationally acclaimed academic experts

University Teaching in Focus provides a foundational springboard for early career academics preparing to teach in universities. Focusing on four critical areas – teaching, curriculum, students, and quality and leadership – this succinct resource offers university teachers a straightforward approach to facilitating effective student learning. It aims to empower university teachers and contribute to their career success by developing teaching skills, strategies and knowledge, and linking theory to practice.

Written by internationally acclaimed experts, topics include learning theories, assessment, discipline-based teaching, curriculum design, problem-based and work-integrated learning, effective classroom teaching and flexible modes of delivery.

The needs of diverse student groups are explored and the scholarship of teaching and learning is addressed within a quality and leadership framework. The clear and accessible style makes reference to influential works and current resources. Real-world cases illuminate the theoretical content and ‘Your thoughts’ sections encourage reflection and adaptation to local contexts.

University Teaching in Focus explores ways that teachers can effectively engage students in lifelong learning, extending their capacity to solve problems, enter the workforce, understand their discipline and interact positively with others in a global community throughout their professional lives.

Table of Contents

PART 1 Focus on Teaching
Chapter 1 Understanding learning: theories and critique, Martyn Stewart
Chapter 2 Effective classroom teaching, Lynne Hunt, Denise Chalmers and Ranald Macdonald
Chapter 3 Discipline-based teaching, Ray Land
Chapter 4 Teaching graduate attributes and academic skills, Denise Chalmers and Lee Partridge
Chapter 5 Using effective assessment to promote learning, Sally Brown and Phil Race
PART 2 Focus on Curriculum Chapter 6 Designing subjects for learning: practical research-based principles and guidelines, Tom Angelo
Chapter 7 Designing online and blended learning, Thomas C. Reeves and Patricia M. Reeves
Chapter 8 Research-led or research-based undergraduate curricula, Alan Jenkins and Mick Healey
Chapter 9 Problem-based learning, Lyn Brodie
Chapter 10 Authentic work integrated learning, Jonathan Garnett
PART 3 Focus on students
Chapter 11 Inclusive teaching, Christine Broughan and Lynne Hunt
Chapter 12 Teaching international students, Michelle Barker
Chapter 13 Indigenous knowers and knowledge in university teaching, Michael Christie and Christine Asmar
PART 4 Focus on quality and leadership
Chapter 14 A quality approach to university teaching, Kerri-Lee Krause
Chapter 15 Scholarship of teaching and learning, Keith Trigwell
Chapter 16 Leadership in teaching, Paul Blackmore

About the editors

Lynne Hunt is Emeritus Professor, University of Southern Queensland and Adjunct Professor, University of Western Australia.

Denise Chalmers is Winthrop Professor and Director of the Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL) at the University of Western Australia.


This new edited collection aims to synthesise recent higher education research to derive evidence-based principles and practical guidance for early career teachers in universities. Organised into four sections focusing on teaching, curriculum, students and quality and leadership, the collection draws on an international expert authorship to provide summaries of relevant and up-to-date research ... overall this new collection is a valuable addition to the field for those seeking up-to-date introductory readings for new lecturer programmes. Read the full review.

Reviewed by Dr Saranne Weller, Senior Lecturer in Higher Education and Assistant Director (Accredited Programmes), King’s Learning Institute, King’s College London. Published in the SRHE News, Issue 11 – February 2013

This book, aimed at early career academic staff, has contributions from 21 experts. I had initial concerns that the ‘too many cooks’ adage would apply but they quickly disappeared: the editors have produced a clearly structured text that has been shaped into a coherent, consistent whole. This is facilitated by extensive cross-referencing between chapters and a single, shared bibliography at the end. Read the full review.

Reviewed by Claire McDonnell. Published in Education in Chemistry, May 2013, pp. 30-31

In truth, it was difficult to find a weak contribution in this volume. The authors are all leaders in the field of teaching and learning, mostly (but not exclusively) in Australia and the U.K...the authors consistently provide compelling reviews of the literature, as well as practical advice for how the insights of the chapter can be used to help teachers improve their practice, and improve student learning. The book does not skimp on references, nor on reviews of the literature, but it also does extremely well in making sure that the book will improve practice. Read the full review.

Reviewed by Jeffrey L. Bernstein. Published in Teaching and Learning Inquiry: The ISSOTL Journal, Vol. 2, Issue 1 (2014), pp. 3-4

From process to product, this text provides an impressive account of teaching, learning, scholarship and leadership. The contributors have a wealth of experience and actively research the complex issues identified within the text...Chapter authors bring a truly international perspective by considering universal collectives and sharing experiences across borders and territories...This text not only integrates multiple and of en complex views on higher education teaching, but further illustrates problems, barriers, opportunities and dilemmas associated with entry level teaching. A must have text for all academics and scholars that carefully considers theories and plans for practice in a reflective and thought-provoking way. Read the full review.

Reviewed by Earle Abrahamson. Published in Teaching and Learning Inquiry: The ISSOTL Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1 (2014), pp. 5-6

Deeply cognizant of my own pedagogical naivety as a new professor, I am delighted by the accumulated wisdom on display in this multi-authored text... Comprised of four parts, the book develops a number of key foci: teaching, curriculum, students, and quality and leadership. If you are a newcomer to this type of pedagogical reflection and want to bathe in a rich pool of theory coupled with good practice from experts, this book is for you...

What I found excellent about University Teaching in Focus was how the articulacy of its practical theory brought my intuitions and suspicions about both my teaching successes and failtures to the surface. This gives me as a practitioner expert tools to interrogate my teaching in relation to evaluation from students, peers, and administrators. The bibliography is rich, including very handy pointers to online resources, and readers will find it helpful. Read the full review. 

Reviewed by Andy Draycott, Associate Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies, Biola University, California. Reviewed in Teaching Theology and Religion, Vol. 17, No. 4 (October 2014), pp389–390. 

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