What is PDEV6800?

PDEV 6800 - Introduction to Teaching and Learning in Higher Education is a graduation required course to enhance research postgraduates’ teaching effectiveness and professionalism. At HKUST, we consider education in teaching and learning an integral part of postgraduate studies. As such, all full-time research postgraduate students (RPgs) will be trained about teaching techniques and take up teaching-related tasks as Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) under the supervision of the faculty in the department during the course of study.

The course comprises five modules which are designed to train RPgs with the necessary theoretical knowledge with practical opportunities for application. The highly hands-on activities and interactive teaching approach adopted throughout the course can build up their knowledge, skills and confidence in taking up any teaching duties as assigned by their supervising department.

Objectives of the Course

The course aims to:

  • introduce basic principles that underlie effective learning, teaching, assessment and feedback in higher education;
  • familiarize RPgs with teaching and presentation skills to facilitate learning effectively in tutorials and laboratory classes;
  • equip RPgs with the skills to structure and manage the tutorial that incorporate active learning activities;
  • provide RPgs with methods to give constructive and actionable feedback to their students; and
  • enhance the professional development of RPgs to prepare them for lifelong career development.

Module 1: Active Learning in Learner-Centered Classroom

This module focuses on the use of active learning strategies to engage students in both online and face-to-face environment. By the end of the module, students will be able to 1) describe the underlying principles of teaching in a student-centered and outcome-based environment, 2) identify a list of interactive techniques effective to create an active learning environment, and 3) develop a feasible lesson plan to engage students in a class.

Module 2: Effective Presentation and Facilitation Skills

This module focuses on effective in-class presentation skills and facilitation strategies. By the end of this module, students will be able to 1) develop effective presentations for teaching with confidence, 2) explain abstract concepts with clarity, and 3) facilitate in-class discussions and activities to engage students in learning.

Module 3: Constructive and Actionable Feedback

This module focuses on the functions and types of assessment in the development of students’ learning and discusses what kind of feedback is constructive so that it allows students to act upon and make further improvement. By the end of the module, students will be able to 1) describe the underlying principles of assessment and guidelines for effective feedback, 2) identify the marking criteria for different types of assessment, 3) give constructive feedback that students can act on, and 4) practice the skills needed to facilitate effective feedback.

Module 4: Canvas Basics

This module focuses on the key features of Canvas, the Learning Management System adopted in HKUST, by introducing the essential tips and notes about the workflow of Canvas. By the end of the module, students will be able to 1) handle the basic features; 2) create and manage the course content; 3) set-up the assessment tasks; 4) communicate with students, and 5) monitor students' learning progress within a Canvas course site.

Module 5: Micro-Teaching

This module is a consolidation of all the teaching and earning principles and skills acquired in the previous four modules. Students are to submit a detailed lesson plan with interactive learning components and apply teaching and facilitation skills in a teaching demonstration of about 10-15 minutes in groups. The performance will be assessed and contributed to the pass-fail result.

There are two parts of the course which will be provided and assessed by the Center for Education Innovation (CEI) and the home department of the RPgs respectively. All full-time RPgs are required to attend all the five modules and pass all the assessments in the first part of the course offered by CEI before proceeding to the second part which is to teach for 30 mins for MPhil students and a total of 60 mins for PhD students. This teaching assignment is arranged by the RPg’s home department. A faculty member will grade the performance and determine whether the student passes or fails the second part of the course. RPgs should contact their home departments for details of the arrangement and assessment of the second part of the course.

To fulfil the first part of the course requirement, students will need to obtain a pass all of the below three assessment criteria:




Attend all the five face-to-face modules required by the course.

Online Activities

Receive a mark of at least 60% from all graded activities in the Canvas course.


Demonstrate an active learning strategy and engage learners in the 10 to 15 minutes micro-teaching session.

More information about the course and assessment requirements can be found in the Canvas course site after course registration.

RPGs can contact the Postgraduate Coordinators (PGCs) or graduate Teaching Assistant Coordinators (TACs) for departmental issues.

Attendance to all face-to-face modules is a compulsory requirement of the course. Students are advised to choose and join a session of five modules carefully as dates and times of each module in a session are fixed and not changeable. Change of class time is not allowed unless with a strong reason submitted (with supporting documents, if applicable) through email to taprog@ust.hk before the class starts and is subject to the approval of the course instructor.

There will be 12 sessions open for registration.
All classes are conducted in Room 6558 (6/F, Lift 27-30).

PDEV 6800 Schedule
Wednesday Thursday
Module Date 10:00 - 12:00 Date 10:00 - 12:00
01 Active Learning 26-Feb S1 27-Feb S2
02 Facilitation 4-Mar S1 5-Mar S2
03 Feedback 11-Mar S1 12-Mar S2
04 Canvas 18-Mar S1 19-Mar S2
05 Micro-teaching 1-Apr S1 2-Apr S2

Who needs to register?

All seats are served on a first-come-first-served basis. To secure a seat in any of the sessions, online registration is required. You can check the schedules of sessions on offer and register for the preferred session on/after 22 January 2020.

After registration is completed, you can check your enrollment status from ‘My Progress’ in the Online Registration System and a reminder will be sent to your ITSC email account a day prior to the class schedule.

What do I need for registration?

An ITSC network account is required to enable online registration. You can active the account at http://www.ust.hk/itsc/account/stuacc/enquiry.

Can I wait for a session if it is full?

You are highly recommended to register and secure an available session.

If there is another session that is full and is your preferred schedule, you can register yourself into the waitlist and the system will record your request. However, it is important to note that once there is a vacancy due to a withdrawal from another student, the system will automatically accept your request and register you to the waitlist session and cancel your previous registration record accordingly. In this regard, you are strongly advised to only wait for the preferable session.

Newly admitted RPgs in Fall 2019-20 who meet the following exemption criteria can apply for course exemption. An exemption application needs to be submitted to CEI for approval. RPgs granted with course exemption are exempted only from the first part of course requirements, which means they do not need to attend the five modules and pass the three assessment criteria. However, they will still need to take part in the second part of the course to perform teaching assignments subject to the discretion of the department.

Who is eligible to apply for exemption?

Graduates of GTA Training Program (offered by CEI)
A full-time RPg may be granted exemption from the first part of PDEV 6800 if any of the following exemption criteria is met:

  1. The applicant completed the GTA Training Program provided by CEI (or previously known as CELT) no earlier than six years before the date of program admission at HKUST; or
  2. The applicant completed the GTA Training Program provided by CEI (or previously known as CELT) more than six years ago, but with a minimum of three years of teaching / instructional experience, or equivalent, in higher education after graduation.

Non-Graduates of GTA Training Program
Exemption applications of full-time RPgs who have not received the GTA Training Program provided by CEI will only be considered if any of the following criteria is met. Approval is subject to the decision made by CEI.

  1. The applicant completed a teaching-related training program / course of similar content and number of hours offered by other higher education institutions no earlier than three years before the date of program admission at HKUST; or
  2. The applicant has a minimum of three years of relevant full-time teaching / instructional experience, or equivalent, in the higher education setting.

How to apply for exemption?

Full-time RPgs who are eligible to apply for exemption can submit an exemption form by following the steps below.

Step 1: Download the application form

Step 2: Submit the completed application form to CEI (taprog@ust.hk) with the supporting documents that you find important to aid the approval process. Applicants may refer to the following for some suggested documents.

For Graduates of the GTA Training Program (provided by CEI / CELT)

  • a copy of Certificate of Achievement issued by CEI / CELT as proof of program completion, and/or
  • official documents of employment as proof of teaching / instructional experience (if applicable).

For Non-Graduates of the GTA Training Program

  • a copy of an official academic transcript and/or certificate issued by the teaching-related training program, with the full description of the program curriculum, and/or
  • official documents of employment as proof of teaching / instructional experience (if applicable).

Step 3: Wait for the confirmation of approval

The applicant will receive an official confirmation of exemption ‘Approval’ / ‘Approval with Conditions’ / ‘Denial’ through email from CEI. The exemption process should take no longer than two weeks if all the required documents are received.
It is suggested that the applicant should attend the modules before exemption is approved. CEI reserves all the right to make the final decision.