Undergraduate Teaching Opportunities Programme

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 Undergraduate 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 GPA score at least 4.0 as a selection criterion. Freshmen should be excluded.

Earning units 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 units which will allow them to fulfil Unrestricted Elective requirements.  4 units is equivalent to 130 hours and 8 units 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 units 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 course code (via CourseReg) by the host faculty (i.e. following his/her UTOP supervisor) after round 2 of CourseReg.

UTOP course codes will be pre-allocated latest by Round 3 of the CourseReg schedule.


Students with disciplinary issues on their records should be excluded. Also, UTOP units 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 course. Students who are pursuing UTOP as a course will not be paid and will only earn units upon having successfully completed the course.

Important information

  1. Assignments
  2. The “assignments” must clearly define students’ involvement in the course.  Supervisors should clearly spell out the roles and duties of the UTOP students.

    For example, UTOP student could assist with

    1. Teaching and facilitation
      • grading of formative and not summative assessments
      • providing feedback on assignments
      • leading discussion groups or laboratory sessions
      • organising, supporting and leading student field work
    2. Preparation of teaching materials
      • preparing presentation slides for teaching
      • producing instructional video clips
      • helping with preparation work for blended learning and flipped classrooms
  3. Writing of Reflections
  4. Students are encouraged to write at least three reflections in the course of the semester to chart their growth and development as educators.

    Semester Suggested content
    Beginning Setting goals and expectations and preparing for anticipated challenges
    Middle Formative evaluation of the UTOP experience
    End 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.

  5. Assessing the work of UTOP students
  6. UTOP student may be assessed in the following ways:

    1. 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 course 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.
    2. Evaluation of the reflection entries.
    3. Evaluation of quality of teaching materials developed and/or formative feedback to students.
Important information for students applying to pursue UTOP in AY 23/24 Sem 1

Training requirements for UTOP applicants
  1. Complete a self-paced training programme via the Canvas Learning Management System. The training will be made available from Mon 31 Jul 2023 and online assignments are expected to be completed by Mon 14 Aug 2023 12:00.
  2. Attend the face-to-face beginning of semester session on Thur 10 Aug 2023 10:00 - 13:00.
Sharing your journey (Face-to-face meetings)
  • Mid semester meetup on Mon 25 Sep 2023 10:00 - 13:00.
  • End of semester meetup on Mon 11 Dec 2023 10:00-13:00.


  1. UTOP training – a list of topics offered by Centre for Development of Teaching & Learning (CDTL)
  2. Important links:
    1. Conflict of Interest
    2. Code of Student Conduct
  3. Samples:
    1. Student evaluation form – to facilitate the tracking of a supervisee’s progress
    2. Synopsis format - to facilitate discussion between supervisor and supervisee