Pedagogical principles at the IT University of Copenhagen
Teaching at the IT University of Copenhagen (ITU) is research-based and based on a constructivist theory of learning, which states that learners construct their own learning in the contextual settings based on prior knowledge and experience. With a student-centered approach to learning, ITU organizes teaching and learning with a focus on the individual student's learning process, including extensive use of feedback. Teaching and learning activities are co-created in intense collaboration between faculty, students and administrative staff in order to create an excellent and motivating learning environment for our students.
Students at ITU have very diverse backgrounds, are motivated by diverse activities and have diverse expectations toward what constitutes a fulfilling career. Teachers at ITU engage in organizing teaching as active learning with emphasis on self-regulated learning processes and possibilities for individual paths and flexibility.
ITU emphasizes a high degree of variation and student activity, also during lectures. We expect students to engage in active participation, whether it be in the dialogues and quizzes during lectures, in team or group work, in reflective exercises or in case or project work. Digital tools and Labs are integrated as part of the activities to support diversity and active learning.
All planning and implementation at ITU is based on John Biggs' principles of constructive alignment. The overall and most important principle is that descriptions and implementation of intended learning outcomes, teaching and learning activities and assessment forms must be aligned. Students should be aware of this correlation to achieve the best possible progression and good results.
Intended Learning Outcomes
The course manager composes clear intended learning outcomes for the course, which set out explicitly the competence goals the students are expected to achieve, and on which level. Intended learning outcomes are formulated in the SOLO taxonomy (Structure of Observed Learning Outcome). On a regular basis, the teacher relates the academic content to the intended learning outcomes, so that the students are aware of the purpose of the learning activities. The students are continuously encouraged to reflect on their own learning process in relation to the explicit intended learning outcome, as well as in relation to specific personal academic interests.
Learning activities are planned and carried out by the teachers in order to match both the course content and the intended learning outcomes. A great variety of teaching and learning methods are applied at ITU. Learning activities will vary from course to course, and from session to session, in accordance with differences in academic disciplines, intended learning outcomes, diverse student profiles and assessment forms. For example: alignment in learning activities means that a course that deals with advanced programming will include readings and presentations of relevant research papers, as well as active work with implementing solutions.
At ITU, formative feedback on students' performance has multiple sources and forms. During courses, feedback is provided as, for example, teacher-student feedback, self-evaluation and peer-to-peer feedback.
When students participate in peer feedback, they not only learn from the feedback they receive; they also gain from providing feedback to others. Giving feedback to others encourages self-reflexivity and supports critical thinking. Students learn to reflect on their own work and the work of others, and they engage in identifying and solving problems on their own.
Formative feedback points forward and supports students in taking the next step. In the process, students are encouraged to reflect on the status of their own learning in relation to the intended learning outcomes.
This way, feedback and evaluation are used to engage students in the learning activities, enhance learning and support students in developing skills for self-regulation. Based on input from the feedback processes, the teacher also makes relevant adjustments to the teaching.
At the exam, the students are assessed by a summative evaluation of the level at which they demonstrate meeting the intended learning outcomes.