New online toolkit will help universities implement block teaching structure

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has led the launch of a new online resource to help higher education organisations considering a transition to a block teaching and learning.

Block teaching enables students to study one module at a time and replaces the traditional university time-tabling schedule, which typically requires students to study multiple modules over a semester or a full academic year.

AH - DMU - QAA Conference - 21.09.2023-130
Professor Leanne de Main presenting at a QAA-backed conference in September 2023 to share ideas on block teaching

The online toolkit, known as Learn in Block, was funded through the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) and led by DMU in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Gloucestershire, the University of Plymouth, the University of Suffolk and Victoria University in Australia.

It collates research papers, presentations from academics, podcasts and case studies to provide good practices and guidance for successfully implementing and evaluating the approach to teaching.  

Deputy Dean & Associate Pro Vice Chancellor Education (Transformation) at DMU, Professor Leanne de Main, led the project said: “Through my conversations, we’re seeing more and more that other universities are interested in the idea of block teaching and potentially how to implement the model in some form.

“Since implementing block, our early analysis has shown that students generally prefer learning through the block approach. We are also seeing more students progressing to the next year and not leaving the university early.”

“Working collaboratively on this exciting project has been fantastic. All the universities that took part with us have their own experiences of working in block but this has been the first collaborative sector-wide project to collate their resources and identify the best ways to introduce this teaching method.

“Over time, as more institutions look at ways to innovate their offerings, we hope they utilise our resources and share their own experiences, which they can do by contacting us at”

In 2022, DMU became the first university in the UK to implement block teaching across the institution and as of the 2023/24 academic year, more than 80% of its undergraduate and postgraduate programmes are taught using this structure.

A Student Pulse Survey in November 2022 showed that 92 per cent of students felt that the new model supported their study/life balance and 93 per cent of students surveyed enjoyed working on one module at a time. 

As part of the collaborative project with the QAA and partner institutions, DMU hosted a conference in September 2023 to share ideas on block teaching, attracting more than 100 educators representing 40 institutions in the UK and beyond.

Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education and Equalities, Professor Susan Orr, said: “This is a wonderful resource for the sector.”

“When we were developing our block approach to curriculum, we learnt a lot from the universities offering block education here in the UK and further afield.

“It gives me great pleasure to note that we now have resources and guidance to share and  ‘give back’ offering support to universities at the start of their ‘block journey’.”  
Posted on Thursday 25 April 2024

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