What is UTOP?
UTOP refers to the Undergraduate Teaching Opportunities Programme. This programme is designed to help undergraduate students develop important competencies and practical skillsets that are relevant not only for them to contribute to the work force but also to be life-long learners, capable of critical, empathetic and independent thinking. Primarily focused on teaching, UTOP is not to be confused with the University Research Opportunity Programme (UROP) which relates to research opportunities.
UTOP is particularly suitable for undergraduate students who wish to acquire or hone their teaching skills under the supervision of experienced academic teachers. Academic teachers supervising students will be known as Supervisors. An interested student can register his or her interest with home faculty who can assist in finding a supervisor. Students may refer to their departments for information about the UTOP positions open. Sign-up will take place through the department administrator(s).
It is recommended that supervisors apply a baseline of CAP score at least 4.0 as a selection criterion. Freshmen should be excluded.
Earning modular credits with UTOP
Undergraduates from all faculties except Medicine, Dentistry and Law may take part.
Upon successful completion of their assigned teaching duties, students will earn modular credits which will allow them to fulfil Unrestricted Elective requirements. 4 MCs is equivalent to 130 hours and 8 MCs is equivalent to 260 hours. UTOP can also be offered during a mini-semester, but students should have a teaching effort equivalent to a 4-MC UTOP.
The basis of grading will be ‘CS/CU’ (Completed Satisfactorily/ Completed Unsatisfactorily).
A student who is successfully accepted into UTOP will be pre-allocated with UTOP module code (via ModReg) by the host faculty (i.e. following his/her UTOP supervisor) after round 2 of ModReg.
UTOP module codes will be pre-allocated latest by Round 3 of the ModReg schedule.
Students with disciplinary issues on their records should be excluded. Also, UTOP modular credits will not be awarded for students who are being paid (under NSWS) to work as part-time tutors, or being paid as Teaching Assistants teaching the same module. Students who are pursuing UTOP as a module will not be paid and will only earn modular credits upon having successfully completed the module.
The “assignments” must clearly define students’ involvement in the module. Supervisors should clearly spell out the roles and duties of the UTOP students.
For example, UTOP student could assist with
- Teaching and facilitation
Preparation of teaching materials
- grading of formative and not summative assessments
- providing feedback on assignments
- leading discussion groups or laboratory sessions
- organising, supporting and leading student field work
Writing of Reflections
- preparing presentation slides for teaching
- producing instructional video clips
- helping with preparation work for blended learning and flipped classrooms
Students are encouraged to write at least three reflections in the course of the semester to chart their growth and development as educators.
||Setting goals and expectations and preparing for anticipated challenges
||Formative evaluation of the UTOP experience
||Final reflection about growth, lessons learned, and the application to the future
Reflective pieces should include references on teaching. Students can write their reflections within Canvas.
Supervisors are encouraged to conduct debrief sessions with students after each teaching/facilitation session. The conversation can address student concerns and empower them in their development. Student reflections can also be written based on debrief notes with supervisors.
Assessing the work of UTOP students
UTOP student may be assessed in the following ways:
- Classroom observation where the actual teaching is conducted. It is suggested that supervisors observe at least two to three teaching sessions for each UTOP student tutor during the semester. One observed session could take place early in the module whilst the second, towards the second half of the semester. The rationale for observed sessions is to (a) provide UTOP students with the opportunity to identify area(s) they need to further develop in discussion with the supervisor, and (b) allow the supervisor to observe the changes in the UTOP student tutor’s teaching during the second session.
- Evaluation of the reflection entries.
- Evaluation of quality of teaching materials developed and/or formative feedback to students.
|Important information for students applying to pursue UTOP in AY 22/23 Sem 2
Training requirements for UTOP applicants
Sharing your journey (Face-to-face meetings)
- Complete a self-paced training programme via the Canvas Learning Management System. The training will be made available from Monday 26 December 2022 and online assignments are expected to be completed by Wed 11 Jan 2023 17:00.
- Attend the face-to-face beginning of semester session on Thursday 5 Jan 2023 10:00 - 13:00.
- Mid semester meetup on Tues 21 Feb 2023 10:00 - 13:00.
- End of semester meetup on Mon 8 May 2023 10:00-13:00.
- UTOP training – a list of topics offered by Centre for Development of Teaching & Learning (CDTL)
- Important links:
- Conflict of Interest
- Code of Student Conduct
- Student evaluation form – to facilitate the tracking of a supervisee’s progress
- Synopsis format - to facilitate discussion between supervisor and supervisee