What is the Institute of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (ILT)?

ILT logo

The Institute of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (ILT) is a central unit at the University of Northampton, with membership across all schools and services, created to support, promote and research effective and innovative learning and teaching practices across the university.

Our mission:

To enable transformational learning experiences through inspirational teaching. This is achieved by developing capability in learning design, innovation and excellent teaching practice, underpinned by the latest pedagogic research.

Our vision:

Our learners are competent, resourceful and ethical problem solvers, capable to imagine and deploy creative approaches to address tomorrow’s challenges.

Our graduates are knowledgeable, socially responsible, digitally proficient and highly employable global citizens – the Changemakers of the future.

Our colleagues are outstanding at research-informed teaching and supporting learning, ensuring flexibility and pedagogic innovation for maximum benefit to staff and students.

Our researchers generate evidence on excellent teaching for optimal student learning and attract funding for research and enterprise activities.

We support our Education with Others (EWO) partners to deliver equivalent student experiences to those of our students at Northampton.

Employers and other key external stakeholders actively engage with every stage of our academic process: from programme design to implementation, evaluation, work-based learning opportunities and course redesign.

Our quality assurance and enhancement systems provide robust, evidence-based benchmarks to ensure positive and rewarding experiences for staff and students.

Areas of interest

The ILT has interests in the three areas outlined below:

Intellectual Capital:

  • professional development for staff
  • research and enterprise

Student Experience:

  • retention, progression, completion & success
  • graduate employability
  • internationalisation

Learning and Teaching Enhancement and Innovation:

  • programme design and redesign
  • learning and teaching innovation
  • learning and teaching policy and practice
  • QA & QE


First Year Experience (FYE)

First Year Experience logo

The First Year Experience project is a three year project to enhance student progression to Year 2 of University study.

The project is underpinned by the University’s principles of student success, which include an integrated and collaborative approach to supporting student success (in this case, the First Year Experience).

The project aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • Objective 1: To reduce withdrawal rates by 4% (i.e. from 11.3% to 7.3%) in three years
  • Objective 2: To reduce the rate of ‘continuation without progression’ by 2% in three year (i.e. from 4.2% to 2.2%)
  • Objective 3: To improve the rate of student retrieval and success after a period of intercalation.

The project emerged from a series of Addressing Progressing workshops held in academic schools at the University of Northampton.

The project will be overseen by a Steering Group consisting of the Project Academic Lead and the 5 Work Package leaders, with the opportunity for visitors to attend Steering Group meetings as appropriate.

Programme Design for 21st Century Learning and Teaching

As part of the University’s quality process, the University Modular Framework (UMF) is reviewed annually, and a full review is due to take place over the next five years. To inform this review, the Institute of Learning and Teaching (ILT) initiated a project called Programme Design for 21st Century Learning and Teaching in October 2014.

Phase 1 of the project ran from October 2014 to January 2015, and included staff and student consultation. Approximately 82 members of staff and 34 students took part in Phase 1 of the project.

Findings from Phase 1 of the project will be reported to Committees in both a piece of scholarly output and an institutional report in the autumn 2015 term.

Phase 2 of this project will involve further consultation with key stakeholders and will commence in the autumn 2015 term.

Changemaker in the Curriculum (EmbedCM)

Changemaker Hub RGB Logo

The Changemaker in the Curriculum (EmbedCM) project is a series of ongoing projects looking at ways to make our Changemaker narrative a meaningful, lived narrative for our student body.

The University is proud of its commitment to Social Innovation and Social Impact. The project focuses on how to embody themes around positive social change within our learning and teaching activities.

As an AshokaU Changemaker Campus, we are encouraged to understand and embrace our own definition(s) of what it means to be a Changemaker.

In April 2014, we carried out a phenomenographic study with academic staff to discover our different understandings of Changemaker. Five qualitatively different ‘ways of knowing’ Changemaker were found:

  • Changemaker as institutional strategy
  • Changemaker as employability
  • Changemaker as critical thinking, problem solving and perspective shifting
  • Changemaker as social betterment
  • Changemaker as personal transformation

Understanding the different ways we conceptualise Changemaker gives us a foundation from which to consider what skills, behaviours and attributes we relate to social innovation and social impact.

The projects found 14 attributes and we are excited to pilot these 14 attributes in our curriculum development and new programme design over the next academic year.


ChANGE logo

The ChANGE Project (Changemaker Attributes at Northampton for Graduate Employability) continues the work of EmbedCM across our curricula. In addition, it looks at ways in which we can enhance our students digital capabilities through a consideration of how academic staff teach, develop and assess students acquisition and development of key transferable and lifelong learning skills to better equip them for work in a changing and constantly developing 21st century working environment.

Academic staff at the University of Northampton are already in the process of moving to a blended model or learning and teaching which makes full and appropriate use of technology-enhanced learning initiatives and flipped classroom approaches to ensure that both the design and delivery of our programmes are relevant and meaningful for today’s students. The ChANGE project seeks to tie in with this redesign work and forms part of our ongoing rolling review of the University Modular Framework (UMF) which provides the overall structure for the design and delivery of all UN academic awards.

The student experience remains at the heart of this project as we seek to use consistent terminology to look at how our students develop and enhance their employability potential and develop themselves as Changemakers of the future. To this end, a draft framework at Level 6 is being proposed and will be subsequently developed across all academic levels in conjunction with academic and professional services staff as we explore ways to better engage students with employability.

Assessment and Feedback Portal

High quality, meaningful assessment and feedback is at the heart of the student experience at the University of Northampton.

The Assessment and Feedback Portal supports sound academic practice by bringing together guidance around three key areas: Policy & Procedure, Design and Practice.

The Portal provides resources on the following topics:

  • introduction to assessment
  • principles of good feedback
  • assessment policy and procedure
  • feedback policy and procedure
  • assessment design
  • effective feedback practice

Download our latest collection of Outside the Box Assessment and Feedback examples!


Personal Academic Tutoring (PAT) is integral to the University of Northampton’s holistic approach to supporting student success.

The project produced a guide to Personal Academic Tutoring at the University of Northampton, which includes eight case studies and much more.

The project also produced resources on the following topics:

  • PAT role description
  • personal academic tutoring policy
  • principles for PATs
  • sources of support for students
  • resources for facilitating PAT session
  • Staff Development opportunities for PATs

Download our guide to Personal Academic Tutoring at the University of Northampton.

Open Northampton

Open Northampton has two objectives:

  • releasing Northampton’s high quality teaching and learning materials as open educational resources (OERs)
  • promoting openness and open practices within the University

So far, the project has released 51 OERs into JORUM (the OER repository for UK HE and FE institutions), covering a wide range of subjects and disciplines. You can view all the OERs contributed by Northampton academics online.

To support academics to embed OER into their course development and teaching, the project offers two OER workshops to academics.

Finding and using OER

In this 3-hour workshop participants will have the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of OER, to search different types of OER resources from OER repositories, to consider ways to enhance their course and teaching using OER, and to gain awareness of open licences such as Creative Commons Licences.

Identifying copyright issues in teaching material

In this 3-hour workshop participants will have the opportunity to identify potential copyright issues in teaching material and consider solutions to resolve these issues, to apply Creative Commons licence to revise, remix, and reuse OER, and to consider other issues in improving the reusability and transferability of their material to users in other contexts.

Academic Integrity

Students promoting Academic Integrity

The University of Northampton supports the development of students’ academic practice. This is achieved through collaborative academic integrity campaigns sponsored by the Students’ Union and Student and Academic Services, and through School Academic Integrity and Misconduct Officers (SAIMOs), who provide support across the Schools.

Centrally, the Institute of Learning and Teaching supports capacity development among academic staff for addressing academic integrity within their teaching practice. This work is underpinned by a thorough annual review of the Academic Integrity and Misconduct Policy and input from the Academic Integrity Working Group.

The initiative provides resources in the following areas to staff:

  • Academic Integrity and Misconduct Policy
  • flowchart showing the procedure for cases of suspected academic misconduct
  • list of School Academic Integrity and Misconduct Officers (SAIMOs) for each School
  • School Academic Integrity and Misconduct Officer (SAIMO) Role Description
  • Academic Integrity Development Opportunities
  • Skills Hub: guidance for students

Staff development opportunities

C@N-DO Professional Development Framework

What is C@N-DO?

Changemaking @ Northampton – Development Opportunities (C@N-DO) is a flexible professional development scheme for enabling positive change at the University of Northampton. It has been designed for all members of staff who are involved in teaching or who play a role in supporting the learning and teaching. C@N-DO offers you a pathway to professional development in the form of recognition and qualification and provides range of practical workshops, support, peer review and scholarship towards professional recognition as Associate Fellow, Fellow and Senior Fellow of the HE Academy (HEA). On achievement of Fellowship of the HEA, you will be able to undertake further work to complete the Post-graduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP).

For more information about C@N-DO, view and download the C@N-DO Handbook.

What C@N-DO workshops are available?

There are a good variety of workshops available to you within C@N-DO. The core C@N-DO Workshops is provided centrally and available to all staff involved in teaching and supporting learning. This gives you the opportunity to take part alongside staff from across different discipline areas. The workshops can also be arranged specifically within Schools, particularly if School timetabling means you are busy on the days of the central provision.

What is the UKPSF?

The UKPSF provides professional recognition for staff across to 4 ‘Descriptors’.  These are a set of statements outlining the key characteristics of someone performing four broad categories of typical teaching and learning support roles within Higher Education.

Find out more information about how C@N-DO relates to UKPSF

Which category of Fellowship is appropriate for me?

The UKPSF provides professional recognition for staff across to 4 ‘Descriptors’, according to the roles and contribution individuals make to Learning & Teaching.

See the diagram of the 4 ‘Descriptors’.

To identify your own personal goals and discuss your personal development journey, come along to the workshop Introduction to C@N-DO and the UKPSF and arrange a personal Individual Meeting with Shirley Bennett (Shirley.Bennett@northampton.ac.uk).

How can I become a Fellow or Senior Fellow?

See possible routes to gain a Fellow or Senior Fellow.

If you are already in a position to be able to evidence sustained impact and influence on the L&T practice of others, for example over a period of three years or more, you could consider moving quickly to an application to be a Senior Fellow. If you are more recently in post then C@N-DO includes support and development which will help you to work towards the award of Senior Fellowship. A good idea is to find out more about the criteria for the award of Senior Fellowship by attending the workshop Introduction to C@N-DO and the UKPSF and to arrange a personal interview with Shirley Bennett (Shirley.bennett@northampton.ac.uk) to discuss and plan your CPD route.

Conferences and funding opportunities

Learning & Teaching Conference 2016:

Date: 17 May 2016, 9:30-16:30

Venue: Sunley Conference  Centre

Learning and Teaching Enhancement & Innovation Fund

10 projects are funded in 2015-16
10 projects were funded in 2014-15
7 projects were funded in 2013-14


ILT aims to provide a central point of support and reference for all staff and services across the University, working closely with academics in all 6 schools as well as with colleagues in our Professional Services departments. Within Schools, our primary contacts are the School Learning and Teaching Co-ordinators who are a core part of the Learning and Teaching Excellence Forum. Key partners in our Professional Services departments include Library and Learning Services, specifically the Learning Technology Team which includes a new resource in the form of Learning Designers whose role is to work with staff as we move to a blended model of learning and teaching across all programme and subject areas and also the Centre for Achievement and Performance (CfAP).

ILT Staff

Ale Armellini, Ming Nie, Shirley Bennett and Rachel Maxwell

As a largely ‘virtual’ institute, it employs only a small number of staff directly (shown left-right in photo):

Professor Alejandro (Ale) Armellini – Director of Learning and Teaching, Ale.Armellini@northampton.ac.uk

Dr Ming Nie – Research Assistant, Ming.Nie@northampton.ac.uk

Ms Shirley Bennett – Head of Academic Practice, Shirley.Bennett@northampton.ac.uk

Dr Rachel Maxwell – Head of Learning and Teaching Development: Policy and Practice, Rachel.Maxwell@northampton.ac.uk

Working with ILT

If you are interested in working with ILT please contact any of the ILT staff above.


Select a recent output below or view all research outputs on NECTAR.