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Policy on Course and Topic Development, Approval and Management

Approving Authority:

Council

Establishment Date:

9 December 2005

Date Last Amendment:

30 August 2011

Nature of Amendment:

Addition of clauses 2.9, 2.10 and Schedule A

Date Last Reviewed:

 

Responsible Officer:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)


1. Preamble


This policy identifies the standards and processes that will apply in respect of the development, approval and management of courses and topics. It reflects the University's strategic education goals and the educational principles in Education at Flinders, which states that "Processes for the development, delivery and approval of courses and topics are intended to ensure their value, viability and sustainability".

The Australian Qualifications Framework provides an overall framework which identifies broad parameters for the establishment of University courses. The University's Statutes provide the legislative basis for courses to be established and contain some provisions which regulate their structure and operation.

Provisions for reviewing, evaluating and monitoring courses and topics are outlined separately in the Policy on Course and Topic Evaluation, Monitoring and Review.

2. Course Development and Approval

2.1 Courses will be developed by or with oversight from academic staff with relevant expertise. Courses will be developed and delivered drawing on the academic expertise of staff wherever they are located within the University, or on that of suitably qualified people external to the University, in accordance with arrangements approved by the Faculty or Faculties through which the course will be offered.

2.2 Courses will be developed having regard to:


• relevant strategic priorities established by the Faculty and the University and the resources required to teach the course;

• emerging areas of knowledge and professional activity, and identified areas of community need and demand;

• the capacity of the University to offer a high quality and sustainable academic program, having regard to the specialist areas of knowledge and areas of research focus of academic staff within relevant disciplinary and/or professional fields.


2.3 Proposals for new courses and significant changes to existing courses will, as appropriate, be consistent with requirements specified in relevant University policies, as specified in 2.3.1 to 2.3.6 below. Proposals will address criteria and include information specified in the Instructions and Forms for the Proposal of a New Course and Instructions and Form for the Proposal of a Significant Change to a Course, as approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).


2.3.1 A proposal relating to an Honours program will be subject to the requirements specified in the Policy on Honours Programs.

2.3.2 A proposal relating to a Masters degree by coursework will be subject to the requirements of the Principles for Masters Coursework Program Structure.

2.3.3 A proposal relating to a professional doctorate will be subject to the requirements of the Guidelines for the Admission Requirements, Content and Structure of Professional Doctorates.

2.3.4 A proposal relating to a research higher degree should be consistent with the definitions set out in the Research Higher Degrees Policies and Procedures, Paragraph 3 Definitions, Clauses 3.5 and 3.6.

2.3.5 A proposal relating to a course or component of a course to be offered offshore will be subject to the requirements of the Policy on the Development of Offshore Programs.

2.3.6 A proposal which includes a recommendation to charge a fee for a course or a component of a course will be considered in accordance with processes and requirements established by Council, on the advice of Academic Senate.


2.4 A proposal will be considered within the Schools and Faculty responsible for offering the course in accordance with processes established by the Faculty. A proposal that requires teaching or resources from more than one Faculty must be endorsed by the Executive Dean of the other Faculty or Faculties that will contribute to the course.

2.5 Following endorsement by the Faculty, a course proposal will be referred to the Vice-Chancellors' Committee through the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) or Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Communities) as appropriate for consideration of the strategic and resource implications of the proposal, and advice to the Academic Senate on the same. A new course proposal will be referred to the Course Advisory Committee for consideration of the curriculum and educational requirements of the proposal, and advice to the Academic Senate on the same.

2.6 Course proposals will be subject to approval by the Academic Senate, having regard to the following matter;


• that the course meets the University's broad academic goals and is consistent with relevant strategic priorities of the Faculty and the University;

• that the course would complement the present range of academic programs, having regard to the range of existing academic programs, the evidence of demand for the course and identified areas of community need;

• that the course is of a suitable quality and meets appropriate academic standards, having regard to the level of the course and the educational aims and learning outcomes specified for the course;

• that sufficient evidence has been provided that the course can be offered within an appropriate teaching and learning environment, and within available resources;

• that appropriate educational aims and learning outcomes have been established for the course.


2.7 Following approval by Academic Senate the following steps will be taken:


• Council will be responsible for approving the inclusion of the course in the Register of Degrees, Diplomas and Other Academic Awards in the listing of courses that are currently being offered.

• A final version of the course document will be included in the University's records.

•The Director, Academic and Student Services will ensure that the approved course rule is published on the University's website.

• The Director, Academic and Student Services will arrange for amendments to the Course Rule arising from changes to a course to be published on the University's website on the receipt of advice from Academic Senate or a delegated authority that the change has been formally approved. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) on the recommendation of the Director, Academic and Student Services may approve further changes to the Course Rule which are determined to be editorial.

•With the exception of the Course Rule procedure described above, the Faculty will be responsible for ensuring the publication of the details of the details of the course.


2.8 Where a Faculty recommends that a course no longer be delivered, Council, on the recommendation of Academic Senate, will be responsible for approving the discontinuation of the course and approving an amendment to the Register of Degrees, Diplomas and Other Academic Award to remove the course from the list of current courses and include it in the historical section of the Register.

2.9 Academic Senate may at its discretion delegate authority to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and to Faculty Boards to approve specified course changes.

2.10 Authorisations made in accordance with this policy are set out in Schedule A.

3. Course Management

3.1 Faculties will be responsible for ensuring the educational quality of courses which they offer, and for ensuring that courses conform with overall University standards and comply with policies and other requirements.

3.2 The operation and delivery of each course will be overseen by a management committee or board of studies.1


3.2.1 Where a course is offered wholly or mainly by one Faculty, the Faculty will ensure that a management committee is appointed.

3.2.2 Where a course is offered through more than one Faculty, a board of studies or management committee will be appointed. The responsibilities of the board of studies and accountability arrangements with the relevant Faculties will be specified in the terms of reference and operating procedures of the Board.

3.2.3 Where a course is offered jointly or in partnership with another organisation, a board of studies or management committee will be appointed to oversee its operation and delivery. The Faculty will retain responsibility for ensuring the quality of the course. The role of the board of studies and its relationship to the parties will be specified in an agreement or contract, or in its terms of reference and operating procedures.


3.3 Faculties will ensure that appropriate consultation is undertaken with relevant external parties including employers, professional organisations, graduates and community organisations, as part of the ongoing development and management of courses.

4. Topic Development, Approval and Management

4.1 Topics will be developed by or with oversight from academic staff with relevant expertise. Topics will be subject to approval by the relevant School and the Faculty in accordance with procedures established by the Faculty. To maintain consistency across Faculties with regard to quality assurance, standards and the publication of information, a proposal to establish a topic or make significant changes to a topic will address criteria and include information, as approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).

4.2 In developing a topic, consideration should be given to its relationship with the course or courses in which it will be offered, and the educational aims and learning outcomes of the relevant course or courses.

4.3 Educational aims and learning outcomes must be specified for each topic and approved in accordance with procedures established by the Faculty.

4.4 Schools will be responsible for ensuring the delivery of topics and management of topics, and for ensuring that a Topic Coordinator is appointed for each topic.

5. Educational Framework for Courses and Topics

5.1 Courses and topics should be designed, developed and delivered within a framework which comprises a specified curriculum, specified assessment arrangements, and clearly identified educational aims and learning outcomes. These elements should provide an educational framework which is clear and coherent, and which:


* forms the basis for teaching and assessment activities;
* relates to the overall academic goals and objectives of the University;
* is orientated towards the development of students as independent, lifelong learners;
* maps the territory for students in useful ways, yet allows them room for their own exploration;
* demonstrably constitutes a clear progression towards expertise in the discipline or field; and
* makes explicit the generic and discipline-specific capabilities that are to be gained.


5.2 Educational aims will express the broad educational intentions of the course or topic. The aims should associate the course or topic with the progressive acquisition of knowledge and skills in particular disciplinary or multi-disciplinary fields, and where relevant with specific professions, occupations or areas of employment.

5.3 Learning outcomes will specify the expected achievements that will be demonstrated by students in the areas of knowledge, understanding, skills and attributes as a result of their successful completion of a course or topic. The nature of the knowledge and skills expected of graduates should be indicated so that the effectiveness of the proposed curriculum in meeting graduates' needs can be assessed.

5.4 Additional educational aims and learning outcomes may be specified for a major sequence of topics or a program of study offered within a course, at the discretion of the relevant Faculty or Board of Studies, provided these are consistent with the educational aims and learning outcomes of the course/s in which it will be offered.

5.5 Faculties will identify indicative student workload expectations for topics in accordance with the Guidelines for Determining and Publishing Expected Student Workload
.
6. Publication of Information on Courses and Topics

6.1 Faculties will be responsible for ensuring that standard course and topic information is made available to students through publications, on the University's web site and through University computer systems, in accordance with requirements specified in University policies and as specified by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).

 


1 A management committee or board of studies may be constituted or named in accordance with Faculty requirements, provided its terms of reference fulfil the functions described in the Policy.