Academic Quality and Partnerships

Annual Teaching and Learning Conference 2016

Inclusive teaching, learning and assesment

The 2016 annual teaching and learning conference is taking place on Wednesday 20 April in the University of Sussex Conference Centre. The conference is aimed at internal staff involved in teaching or supporting teaching, learning and assessment. We have an exciting programme of speakers lined up and hope that you can join us on the day. Overviews for the sessions and a bio for each of the presenters can be found below along with information about how to book a place.

You can also follow the conference on twitter using #SussexTL16.


09:15 - 09:45 Registration and refreshments
09:45 -10:00


Professor Clare Mackie, Deputy Vice Chancellor

10:00 - 11:00


Developing High Impact Pedagogies; Encouraging inclusivity, creativity in curriculum review and beyond

Professor Claire McGourlay, Professor of Law and James Cairns at University of Sheffield.

11:00 - 11:15 Refreshment break
11:15 - 12:15

Workshop 1

What is ‘inclusive’ assessment? Rethinking HE assessment to embed inclusivity

Dr Liz Sage

Workshop 2

Classroom games in economics teaching: reflections on student engagement and inclusion

Dr Dimitra Petropoulou

Workshop 3

The Chemistry of Energy, a synoptic problem based learning task for science communication

Dr Shane Lo Fan Hin

12:15 - 13:00 Lunch
13:00 - 14:00

Workshop 4  

‘How I stopped worrying and learned to love technology’: A novice’s guide to using online resources in teaching.

Dr Denise Turner

Workshop 5

Encouraging participation in seminars

Prof Aleks Szczerbiak

Workshop 6

Inclusive teaching: Supporting engagement of diverse students in HE

Dr Tamsin Hinton-Smith, Rachel Gould and Cindy Newell

This session is part of the University’s PGCertHE course for staff.

(To include a refreshment break)

14:00 - 14:15 Refreshment break
14:15 - 15:15

Workshop 7

Decolonizing Education

I Too Am Sussex - Nicole Wilson, Neelam Rai, Ladi Ariyo, Aramide Ajayi and Savannah Sevenzo


Workshop 8

Teaching multinational student groups using mindfulness and a variety of communication and assessment strategies to improve cross cultural communication and academic attainment.

Wilma de Jong

15:15 - 15:45

Workshop 9

Building community and encouraging participation with TEL

Dr Anne Hole, Sally Burr and Kitty Horne

15:45 - 16:45

Award of certificates to teaching awards holders and closing remarks from Professor Clare Mackie, Deputy Vice Chancellor


Keynote - Developing High Impact Pedagogies; Encouraging inclusivity, creativity in curriculum review and beyond

Professor Claire McGourlay with James Cairns


This keynote will cover my story of how I developed and changed learning and teaching in my School. It will involve ‘student engagement’ (I am involving a PG student who developed the new curriculum with me) and it will be a journey through various projects (successes and failures) that I have introduced over the past 15 years.


The slides for this presentation are available: Developing high impact pedagogies [PDF 27.90MB]


Professor Claire McGourlay displays an active interest in the development of approaches to teaching that influence, motivate and inspire students to learn. She works in a number of mediums to motivate and inspire her students and is more than an academic who nurtures a passionate interest in the law. She was the first person in the Faculty of Social Sciences to be promoted to Professor of Legal Education and in 2013 was shortlisted for the Oxford University Law Teacher of the Year Award. As well as the traditional lecture and seminar formats Claire frequently champions distinct and diverse teaching styles and methods to ensure everyone is supported and given the opportunity to excel. She has been responsible for the establishment and growth of FreeLaw and The Miscarriages of Justice Review Centre.

Claire has also been a critical part of the School of Law curriculum review and is one of the lead academics involved in creating the School’s massive open online course . She is constantly recognised as a supportive figure in the School for any problems, for students and academic issues associated with her modules. Through her extensive work in widening participation for law applicants Claire is often familiar with students from the start of their university life. She was nominated for the Student Union Academic Award for Personal Tutor of the Year in 2010 and 2014, Employability in 2011 and Teaching Excellence in 2013 and 15. She was awarded the Edward Bramley Law Society Award for Outstanding Staff Contribution in 2013 and won the University Employability Award in 2014. Claire is currently the Director of Teaching Enhancement in the Faculty of Social Sciences. And the Director of Learning and Teaching in the School of Law.

Mr James Cairns works at the University of Sheffield School of Law as a graduate student researcher. He is also studying for his LL.M. International Law and Global Justice.

James graduated in Law in the summer of 2015. In his work at the School of Law he has helped to develop the new curriculum alongside Professor Claire McGourlay; giving a student's perspective into what features the new curriculum can have in order to enhance the student learning experience while still providing a top class law degree. He works very closely with undergraduate students and spends a great deal of his time helping to design and run the innovative skills-based module that runs throughout the law degree.

James is also the Student Manager of the Miscarriages of Justice Review Centre at the University of Sheffield, where he works with teams of students who are working to overturn the convictions of the wrongfully convicted.

 back to top

Workshop 1 - What is ‘inclusive’ assessment? Rethinking HE assessment to embed inclusivity

Dr Liz Sage


The role of inclusivity in assessment is perhaps one of the trickiest to consider in practical terms. While the theory and ethics of inclusivity can offer us clear strategies for our interactions with students and course design, it’s not always immediately apparent how these ideas impact on our assessment practices. After all, how can a form or mode of assessment work to exclude students if we’ve addressed inclusivity elsewhere? And surely assessment is designed to distinguish between students’ abilities, hence fundamentally rests on some form of ‘inclusion/exclusion’?

In this workshop, we first consider what inclusivity means in an HE assessment context. We open by challenging popular misconceptions about what constitutes inclusive assessment. Then, drawing on specific examples of the ways in which widely-used forms of HE assessment can inadvertently work to disadvantage learners, we then explore ways in which these can be rethought and redesigned to embed inclusivity at the heart of our assessment processes.


The slides for this presentation are available at:


Liz Sage is a Teaching Fellow in Teaching, Learning and Assessment in HE and convenor of Starting to Teach, a masters' level module for those new to teaching in Higher Education. 

 back to top

Workshop 2 - Classroom games in economics teaching: reflections on student engagement and inclusion

Dr Dimitra Petropoulou


The purpose of this session is to demonstrate how classroom and online games can serve as an effective pedagogical tool, enhancing student engagement, learning, and inclusion. The session will present the use of games in a specific economics module (Advanced Microeconomics) and include discussion and activities on (i) complementing traditional seminar teaching with classroom games, (ii) practical advice on incorporating games in module design, (iii) advantages and disadvantages of games as a device to stimulate inclusion and engagement, distinguishing between direct classroom interaction and anonymous interaction via computer.


The slides for this presentation are available: Classroom games in economics teaching [PPTX 3.32MB]


Dimitra Petropoulou completed her PhD in Economics at the London School of Economics in 2007, after which she was a Stipendiary Lecturer at Hertford College, University of Oxford (2006-2011), and Visiting Lecturer at the LSE (2010-2011). Dimitra joined the Department of Economics at the University of Sussex as a Lecturer in 2011, and is a member of the International Trade research group. Her research fields are International Trade, as well as Industrial Organisation and Political Economy, and in 2013 she was awarded the Robert Mundell Prize for the best paper published in the Canadian Journal of Economics by ‘young’ authors.

Dimitra has a broad teaching portfolio, spanning all levels and cohort sizes, as well as a long-standing interest in pedagogic innovation, especially the use of technology in enhancing student engagement and learning. In 2015, she was awarded funding by the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Innovation Scheme to embed online, multiplayer games into the module Advanced Microeconomics. Dimitra also contributes to the dissemination of good practice, through economics teaching workshops in her capacity as Associate of the Economics Network (former Economics subject centre). In recognition of her contribution to teaching, Dimitra received several teaching awards while at LSE, as well as a University of Sussex Excellence in Teaching Award in 2015.

Workshop 3 - The Chemistry of Energy, a synoptic problem based learning task for science communication

Dr Shane Lo Fan Hin


You will help the government of a small nation decide on how to allocate funding for a project to develop sustainable (i.e. using a fuel which is abundant enough to generate power for at least 1000 years) power facilities.

In groups, you will look at the summaries of the received proposals, choose the most suitable technology and announce the decision to back this technology via a press conference.


Dr Shane Lo Fan Hin graduated with a PhD in chemistry from the University of Liverpool under the joint supervision of Prof Nick Greeves and Prof Helen Aspinall in 2009. After graduating, he took up the position of Ogden Science Officer, working in the Schoolslab, delivering outreach activities to secondary school pupils. In 2011, he moved down to the University of Sussex where he was appointed as the first Teaching Fellow in Chemistry.

  back to top

Workshop 4 - ‘How I stopped worrying and learned to love technology’: A novice’s guide to using online resources in teaching.

Dr Denise Turner


This workshop will introduce participants to three online resources used in delivering the first year BA and MA Social Work programmes. Beginning with the use of Twitter as a means to demonstrate the benefits of online connection, the session will concentrate on the assessment work created by students using Padlet, a free online resource. Lastly, the ongoing process of developing a bespoke ‘app’ for interviewing and assessment will also briefly be described.

Throughout the session, the presenter will emphasise her lack of technological capability and encourage participants to discuss their own obstacles to engaging with technology in teaching, as well as their successes. Some examples of overcoming impending technological disaster will also be described. Workshop participants will be invited to contribute to discussions and practical demonstrations of the resources described.

The workshop aims to provide a space where participants can learn more about online resources and share their hopes and fears around integrating technology into teaching.

Participants are invited to contribute to a Padlet wall, specifically created for this event which will facilitate experiential learning to complement the presentation. The Padlet wall can be accessed using the details below and participants are invited to experiment with postings prior to the event, during the presentation itself and in the immediate aftermath. Access links are as follows:

Link to Padlet Wall:


The slides for this presentation are available: How I stopped worrying and learned to love technology [PPTX 3.05MB]


Denise Turner is a Lecturer in the Department of Social Work at the University of Sussex. She is the recipient of a University Excellence in Teaching Award, 2015; a University Teaching Innovation Award and a Technology Enhanced Learning Award, 2016. Denise counts herself as one of the ‘lost generation’ who were raised and educated before the widespread use of computers and the internet. In her presentation she will share experiences of working within her own technological constraints to create teaching and assessment resources capable of equipping students for careers within a digital age.

Workshop 5 - Encouraging participation in seminars

Prof Aleks Szczerbiak


Virtually everyone who has taught in Higher Education has encountered the problems of: quiet seminar groups, quiet or shy students within a seminar group, or seminar groups dominated by loud or dominant personalities. This session explores various strategies that can be developed to overcome these issues, particularly the seemingly intractable problem of structural passivity: when one or several members of a seminar group systematically exclude themselves from class discussion.


The slides for this presentation are available: Encouraging participation in seminars [PPT 199.00KB]


Aleks Szczerbiak is Professor of Politics and Contemporary European Studies and has been teaching at Sussex since 1998. His teaching includes undergraduate and postgraduate modules on both communist and post-communist East European politics. In 2004 he won the Political Studies Association’s Sir Bernard Crick Awards Main Prize for Outstanding Teaching in Politics and last year he won a University of Sussex Student-Led Teaching Award for Outstanding or Innovative Undergraduate Teaching.


 back to top

Workshop 6 - Inclusive teaching: Supporting engagement of diverse students in HE

Dr Tamsin Hinton-Smith, Rachel Gould and Cindy Newell


This session explores what is involved in creating an inclusive learning environment, and the rationale behind the need for this. It considers the need to assume that there will be diverse and different students in our sessions - in terms of aspects of identity, ways of learning and support needs. We will consider the importance of acknowledging and valuing diversity including in terms of disability, ethnicity, gender, religion and cultural diversity, sexualities and trans* students. The workshop encompasses addressing the need for consideration of issues including selection of appropriate teaching materials and provision of these, physical accommodation of teaching and learning sessions, pace of provision and break scheduling.


The slides for this presentation are available: Inclusive teaching [PPT 2.58MB]


Tamsin is a Senior Lecturer in Higher Education based in the School of Education and Social Work, and Course leader for the University's Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCertHE). She is also Associate Director of the University's Centre for Gender Studies.

Rachel has been the Head of the Student Life Team since 2010, when the Student Life Centre first opened. The team provide information, advice, guidance and funding support and resources to students. The team is committed to inclusivity, accessibility and continuous improvement and maintains a focus on student welfare, personal development and resilience building. Rachel has professional training in youth work, counselling, leadership and group facilitation.

Cindy is currently a Policy and Project manager working with colleagues across campus on issues relating to student engagement and the student experience. Her background includes: working in community mental health services; teaching in Nepal; experiencing undergraduate study as a mature student; teaching at the University of Sussex and postgraduate study at SOAS. Academic interests in social and medical anthropology underpin her commitment to finding practical ways of embedding equality and diversity into the daily activities of the learning community and challenging assumptions about identities.

Workshop 7 - Decolonizing Education

I Too Am Sussex - Nicole Wilson, Neelam Rai, Ladi Ariyo, Aramide Ajayi, Savannah Sevenzo


In this session I Too Am Sussex will:

-  explain how they came about, goals of their student led campaign, results of student experience discussions and students suggestions for changes to the university based on these.

- present and discuss  Diversity in the Curriculum Survey questions and answers.

- hold a Question and Answer session on the Topic of the ‘Decolonizing Education ‘campaign, in which they will present findings from their research on decolonizing education and explain Decolonizing week (to be held in April).


I Too Am Sussex are a University of Sussex student-led campaign dedicated to creating a deeper understanding of the inequalities of race and how they intersect with gender, class, disability, sexual orientation, sexual identities etc. Their mission is to "To discuss differences and overcome divisions.”

See their Students' Union campaign and organization pages for more information:

  back to top

Workshop 8 - Teaching  multinational student groups using mindfulness and a variety of communication and assessment strategies to improve cross cultural communication and academic attainment.

Wilma de Jong


A large number of students will work in multicultural environment. It is therefore important that an ability to work in cultural heterogeneous groups is part of a student’s competence. After teaching student groups from diverse international backgrounds for many years I have developed a variety of mindfulness strategies to settle students in and prepare them for learning in a British context, learn to communicate across different cultures and reflect on their own communication style. This has led to successful cross cultural group work but also to some quite problematic situations. This session will address the strategies as well the thoughts behind these different approaches.

After evaluating these strategies with students I will highlight both teaching methods and students' responses in my introduction.


The slides for this presentation are available: Teaching multinational student groups usining mindfulness [PPTX 592.88KB]


Wilma is a Senior Lecturer in Media Theory and Practice and co-convenor for Media Practice for Development and Social Change.

Workshop 9 - Building community and encouraging participation with TEL

Dr Anne Hole, Sally Burr and Kitty Horne


This is a short, practical session building on the themes of the conference to help participants take forward ideas around inclusive teaching and learning.

Community-building online with Padlet - Padlet, introduced by Denise Turner earlier, is a great tool for sharing and community-building.Come and see how you can create your own Padlet wall, personalise it and embed it in Study Direct.

Getting an inclusive discussion started with Plickers - Aleks Szczerbiak talked about ‘Encouraging participation in seminars’. There are a few digital tools that can help, but most depend on students having digital devices. Come and see how Plickers can encourage participation and stimulate discussion with just paper and one smartphone.

The slides for these presentations are available:

Padlet presentation [PPTX 2.19MB]

Plickers streamlined [PPTX 2.11MB]



To request a place on the conference please use the booking form. There will be parallel workshops taking place throughout the day and you will be able to indicate which ones you would prefer to attend. You will also be able to specify any dietary or access requirements using this form.

For any questions about the conference, please contact Clare Wolstenholme.