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Learning and teaching terminology

Key terms used around learning and teaching methods across the University.

Case study(ies)

A case study is a detailed account of a situation, event, decision or problem. Case studies are often used for analysis and problem solving, as a means of relating theoretical knowledge to real circumstances.

Computer-based activities

Computer-based activities may include stand-alone computer learning or activities that reinforce and add to what you have been taught in sessions.

Technology-enhanced learning is embedded throughout all courses and activities and can include tutorials, simulations, tests and web-based research. It may also involve podcasts, blogs and video, as well as using online materials/resources/e-books.


Demonstrations are often a practical exhibition or explanation of how something works/is performed, for example, in the laboratory or studio.

E-learning/online learning

E-learning may include a range of technology-based activities which can be completed on or off-site and may include video lectures and tutorials, podcasts and the use of Library e-resources. In some cases, the whole module or course may be delivered through online learning or certain subject areas within a module.

Face-to-face learning

Face-to-face learning involves interaction with/between students and staff, including lecturers, technicians, guest lecturers and subject specialists or students. It can include workshops, seminars and tutorials in a classroom, or as synchronous online tutorials.

Fieldwork exercises

Fieldwork exercises often refer to investigations carried out away from the normal place of study and involve monitoring/assessing human impact from a societal, psychological or environmental perspective.

Independent study/self-guided study

Independent learning is an important aspect of developing knowledge and understanding by exploring ideas, reading and thinking critically. Study is supported through a range of resources; e-resources, digital resources and texts, and builds upon the work undertaken in scheduled contact time.

An independent study can also be a term which means a project, assignment or dissertation.

Laboratory work

Laboratory work can include both taught practical sessions within specialist space and work carried out independently by students within the laboratory, eg research projects.


A lecture is a timetabled session where a subject specialist will deliver and discuss subject content, and identify further areas of wider learning through the Blackboard VLE, e-resources and library. Lecture content will be appropriate for the subject and level of module, and may provide a contextual background to tutorial work or practical sessions, be delivered by a practitioner, or be research-led.


A lectorial is a learning and teaching session that combines elements of both a formal lecture (e.g. for delivery of content) and an interactive seminar (e.g. for student group activities, discussion, etc).

Online study

This can refer to the availability of resources online for you to use as part of your programme of study, eg e-resources from the library.

Practical sessions/work

Practical sessions or work may take place in a laboratory, studio or classroom, and can be a taught session or a session where students work independently or collaboratively. It may involve data handling and problem solving. Practical sessions may involve observations by the tutor, eg. in Education where students may have a practical teaching session.

Presentations (individual or group)

A presentation is a way of setting out and explaining your ideas to others in a formal and succinct manner. Presentations can be delivered either orally or as a poster, and may be done individually or as part of a group.

Project work (individual or group)

Project work can involve sustained, in-depth exploration of a question or problem. Project work can be individual or collaborative, and is carried out independently with support from a tutor or supervisor.


A seminar is a group of limited size which focuses on an in-depth discussion of a particular topic. Seminars are interactive and usually require some preparation in advance. The format of seminars may vary according to programme of study.

Site visits

A site visit is usually associated with fieldwork activities or research away from campus, and may include a range of locations and activities with external agencies, eg. industrial partners.

Student led

Student-led activities may include directed work which is completed independently or collaboratively, and is supported by a tutor.

Studio sessions

Studio sessions are integral to some programmes of study, and often require students to complete self-directed practical work using specialist resources and learning spaces supported by tutors and technicians.

Syndicate work

Syndicate learning involves small semi-independent groups working on a joint assignment with tutor support.

Tutorials (one-to-one or group)

The format of tutorials may vary according to the programme of study. The term may be used to refer to scheduled small group sessions such as seminars or workshops. Tutorials provide an opportunity for discussion/explanation/monitoring and academic development. These are interactive and can be via video or telephone as well as face-to-face.

Tutor led

A tutor-led session is a class, practical or lecture where the tutor introduces/discusses a topic and provides a major input in the session.


A workshop is an interactive session where a group work intensively on a topic or project to develop knowledge and/or skills, plan activities, and to discuss key themes and issues. Learning is achieved through participation and collaboration.

Helpful web pages

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