Learning and teaching guides

Teachers can download these handy booklets for advice on a variety of learning and teaching topics.

These guides have been developed by the Centre for Academic Development at Victoria University of Wellington.

Assessment for learning

This guide focuses on the mechanics of assessment. It covers how to:

  • design good assessment tasks
  • develop marking guides
  • mark and moderate
  • provide students with useful feedback
  • promote academic integrity.

Developing questions

It will help you develop well-written 'objective-style' questions, for example:

  • multiple choice questions
  • true/false questions
  • matching-pairs questions.

These questions are 'objective' because they have only one correct or best answer.

This is in contrast to questions that can have a range of possible answers, such as those where students are asked to give an opinion, argue a case, create an art project or solve a new problem.

Group work and assessment

This guide explains how teachers can use group work to enhance student learning.

Group work teaches students interpersonal and teamwork skills, and has the added benefit of reducing the marking load for teachers.

The guide is in three sections. They cover:

  • strategies to ensure that group work is relevant, well planned and managed
  • assessment of group work
  • ways to evaluate the effectiveness of group work.

Peer reviews

Peer review is a useful way to improve learning and teaching. It's also useful for demonstrating accountability.

It can be an important measure of quality, alongside student evaluations.

Learn what peer review is, why you should use it, and the basics of how to use it.

Teaching international students

Students from non-English-speaking backgrounds can approach the learning and teaching process with different preconceived ideas and expectations to those of their teachers in New Zealand.

Guide to teaching international students

Internationalisation at Wellington School of Business and Government

Wellington School of Business and Government aims to provide all students with perspective by integrating global and intercultural views into the student experience.

Building cross-cultural understanding through enhanced teaching and learning practices

Business schools today aim to develop graduates who function effectively as leaders in global communities. The Business School has undertaken a stream of work, including a survey and a year-long Learning and Teaching Development funded project, exploring ways to develop learning goals relating to the development of cross-cultural and international perspectives.

We aim to provide both domestic and international students with a global perspective by integrating international and intercultural perspectives into the student experience. We use the rich diversity in our staff and students to increase understanding of international issues and dimensions in business, and to develop cross-cultural capability by building relationships among members as part of an inclusive learning community.

A paper describing the project up to late 2012 is available here: "Internationalisation in the Curriculum: Using Cultural Diversity to Enhance Student Learning".

Download the report of the "Internationalisation at Home" L&T-funded project pdf88.0KB

Key Actions and Initiatives


This paper provides the background to our approach and outlines a survey of staff and students to assess the level of internationalisation of the student experience pdf67KB .

This brief paper outlines the survey methodology and an overview of the results pdf130KB .


Led by Dr. Shanton Chang

Dr. Shanton Chang is the Assistant Dean (International Programs), Faculty of Science, The University of Melbourne

The workshop was based on the ‘Finding Common Ground’ project and aimed to help the project team develop ideas for action. Shanton’s workshop was attended by over 35 staff, from the business school and elsewhere across the university, allowing a good opportunity for staff to share ideas on developing international and cross-cultural dimensions in the curriculum and student experience more broadly.

View Dr Shanton Chang’s presentation

See Dr Shanton Chang’s presentation slides

See the workshop slides – VUW

ExcelL training for five Business School staff

The ExcelL Intercultural Skills Programme was developed by Professors Marvin Westwood, Ishu Ishiyama, Anita Mak and Michelle Barker from Canada and Australia. The programme aims to help international students and migrants learn skills for success in a new culture.

In the Internationalisation at Home initiative, we have been using ExcelL-type activities to help both domestic and international students share and develop their cross-cultural understandings.

For more information on the ExcelL programme, please contact Karen Commons at Student Learning Support.

Extra training for tutors and extra tutorials in selected BCom (formerly BCA) core first-year classes

In 100-level classes, the facilitators worked with tutors in several large core Commerce courses to develop new activities and ways of approaching tutorials.

Actions so far have included extra tutorials in these classes with a focus on building an environment where students feel comfortable participating actively so that they can learn more effectively. Activities including icebreakers, discussions, roleplays, etc. with the aim of creating a sense of belonging and inclusiveness, ensuring active participation of students from the start, challenging assumptions, prejudices and stereotypes, and helping them to get the most out of the diversity amongst their peers. (You can view the video below.)

Role plays

Role plays and other experiential learning interventions in some second and third tear courses, for example IBUS201 and HRIR306

In 200 and 300 level classes, ExcelL facilitators from SLSS worked with academic staff to conduct roleplays, discussions, have students create cultural maps, to enhance their understanding of how business practices -- such as conducting business meetings, giving/receiving feedback, asking for a pay rise, etc. -- might vary according to cultural and social contexts.

A paper describing and discussing these interventions was presented at the ISANA Conference in Auckland December 2012, and received the Best Refereed Paper award. A link to that paper can be found on their site.

The link to the conference can be found at ISANA (International Education Association Inc.Conference Proceedings).

Students come to appreciate behaviours and values in order to understand how and why people in different cultures behave the way they do. It helps students identify and analyse their own cultural perspectives and behaviour relative to business practices, and to value other cultural ways of doing things, preparing students to work in cross-cultural environments such as virtual multinational teams as part of the Global Enterprise Experience project work.

  • resources on how to use group work to encourage interactions among students
  • video on developing learning communities in tutorials (view video below).

Successful course interactions

Course Coordinators and staff describe the Internationalisation at Home initiatives already underway and the benefits observed. In some courses ExcelL has been used on its own, and in others ExcelL is part of a broader package of initiatives developed and driven by course coordinators. Each of these cases describe what was done, why it was done, what the benefits observed were, and what will be done next. We’ve also got some feedback from students.

Geoff Plimmer and Yang Yu describe how and why they introduced ExcelL on their 200- and 300-level papers, and David Crick describes how ExcelL not only worked on a course he observed, but changed his own perspectives.

Martyn Gosling, Tutorial Coordinator Helen Hynes and Tutor Dane Robertson provide three perspectives on a broad range of internationalisation initiatives developed for a core 100-level Commerce paper, which resulted in a marked change in class performance.

Kate Daellenbach has introduced a range of strategies to improve integration and engagement in 200-level and 300-level papers, and describes future steps, including plans to use ExcelL in future.

Student Learning Advisors and ExcelL trainers Karen Commons and Xiaodan Gao describe how the Commerce Faculty was the first to use ExcelL in its classes as part of its internationalisation initiatives and what needs to happen next, while Victoria University Students Association Vice President (Academic) Josh Wright discusses what Class Representatives can do to help.

Further actions

  • curriculum planning to build skill development into specific courses
    • include multi-cultural skills/groupwork specifically in course learning objectives for selected courses
    • build activities into lectures, tutorials and assignments
  • more tutor training to build engagement, participation and awareness in first year
  • tailored experiential activities in more advanced classes
  • sharing good practice – Teaching & Learning workshops and resources.

Other useful resources

We welcome your feedback.

This guide explores these differences and the situations they can create. It includes a quick reference section that outlines common problems and suggests possible reasons and solutions.

As a teacher you can help by:

  • following good teaching practices that benefit all students
  • ensuring you state expectations clearly and explicitly
  • regularly checking that you and your students have understood each other throughout the teaching and learning process.

Informal feedback

A guide to gathering feedback from students outside the University's formal student feedback system.

Collecting informal feedback is a quick and easy way for teachers to identify areas where students are having problems before the end of a course. It also lets students know that their lecturer cares about what they think.

This guide explores:

  • why teachers collect informal feedback
  • what it can be used for
  • how to carry out an informal feedback process.