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Subject Outlines Policy

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Section 1 - Purposes of the Subject Outline

(1) The purposes of the subject outline are to:

  1. activate the subject in preparation for learning and teaching, including the provision of details about teaching strategies, texts, readings, resources and assessment items;
  2. link the subject to relevant regulations, memoranda of agreement [e.g. CSU Student Charter] and other relevant policies;
  3. specify conditions pertinent to the subject that must be met by students;
  4. serve as an agreed learning and teaching contract between the University and a specified enrolment of students;
  5. provide the historical record of the particular mode, campus, year and session offering of the subject.
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Section 2 - Issuing Subject Outlines

(2) Subject Coordinators, or Subject Convenors if appointed, shall be responsible for the preparation of subject outlines. A subject outline shall be prepared each session for each subject being taught by the University in a particular mode in that session. If a subject is placed on the Subject Availability List (SAL) it must have a subject outline prepared regardless of anticipated enrolments. Subject outlines shall be issued to students online (via Subject Outlines within CSU Interact subject sites) and shall be published on the relevant interact site no later than two weeks prior to the commencement of the session.

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Section 3 - Content

(3) As a minimum, subject outlines shall contain as appropriate the mandatory subject information listed in clauses 4-5 to 19 below. Subject Coordinators, or Subject Convenors if appointed, may include additional information in the subject outlines of particular subjects.

Subject Identification

(4) A subject outline shall have a CSU identification and provide:

  1. the name of the Faculty and School;
  2. the subject code; and
  3. the subject name.

(5) The subject outline may include a brief paragraph introducing the students to the subject and its teaching staff.

Teaching Staff Identification and Contact Details

(6) A subject outline shall contain:

  1. The School Office number;
  2. the name(s) of the teaching staff who will teach the subject, including identification of the Subject Coordinator (or, where appropriate, Subject Convenor); and
  3. for each member of staff in b) above, the following contact details:
    1. telephone;
    2. facsimile and e-mail address(es)
    3. room number and location (for the Subject Coordinatoror Subject Convenor, and other staff where appropriate)

(7) and details on the processes of consultation, including whether or not specified hours of consultation have been set aside for the subject.

(8) If the information in 6b or c is not available when the subject outline is prepared, advice shall be included in the subject outline on when and how that information will be provided to students (e.g. forum, letter, email).

Learning Outcomes and Syllabus

(9) A subject outline shall contain:

  1. the abstract from the current subject profile;
  2. a statement of the objectives of the subject (the skills, attributes and knowledge to be imparted) as identified in the current version of the subject profile;
  3. a list of the topics (or modules and topics) that comprise the subject;
  4. a chronological schedule of topics and study activities (where applicable);
  5. a description of the ways in which the subject will be taught including, where applicable;
    1. the number and type of class hours per week,[example to be included]
    2. whether some or all teaching materials will be available on-line,
    3. the need to attend compulsory residential schools or the opportunity to attend optional residential or weekend schools (see also clause 9 below),
    4. telephone or video tutorials;
    5. on-line discussion groups;
    6. electronic mailing lists;
    7. remedial classes;
    8. learning skills programs; and
    9. any additional teaching and support strategies.
  6. the prescribed textbook(s);
  7. a list of any required reading;
  8. a recommended reading list;
  9. other resources, including equipment, to which the student is required to have access in order to complete the subject; and
  10. for Faculty of Business postgraduate coursework subjects, a statement indicating the assumed knowledge for the subject.
  11. a statement that 'students will normally spend between 140-160 hours engaged in the learning and assessment activities provided'. Subjects that are approved with variations from this standard shall provide an indication of the workload expectation and reasons for the variation from the standard.
  12. in those subjects where students are expected to expend time and/or money to access specialist equipment or resources, or travel away from their term-time residence in order to complete the learning and assessment activities in the subject, a statement that justifies this need.
  13. a statement that details the educational technologies and online learning spaces that will be used to deliver the subject, how the teaching staff member will use the tools and spaces to facilitate student learning; and the teaching staff member's expectations of how students will engage their learning through the participation in and contribution to those collaborative spaces.

Residential School Information

(10) For subjects offered by distance education, the subject outline shall specify:

  1. whether or not there is a residential school

    and, where there is a residential school:
  2. if the residential school is compulsory or optional;
  3. the duration and location of the residential school;
  4. a statement of the purpose of the residential school and a summary program of activities.

Assessment Information

General Assessment Information

(11) A subject outline shall contain;

  1. a summary of the assessment tasks and due dates; and
  2. details of any other conditions which must be met to pass the subject (participation in class, compulsory attendance at classes or residential schools; acquisition of generic skills attributes and values, etc.).

(12) A subject outline shall contain, for each assessment task;

  1. a description of the task;
  2. a brief rationale for the task which reflects the learning outcomes for the subject,
  3. detailed information outlining the marking criteria that will be used to assess a student's work, as well as descriptions of the standards required to achieve a passing grade. NOTE: the marking scale to apply to each assessment task must be either a numerical value or a Satisfactory (SY)/Unsatisfactory (US) mark.
  4. a brief statement indicating:
    1. whether or not the task must be passed to pass the subject*;
    2. the proportion of the final grade contributed by the task*; and
    3. iwhether feedback will be in a numerical mark or a satisfactory (SY)/unsatisfactory (US) mark (in accordance with Assessment Policy clause 5 ). If the former, information must also be provided that enables the student to interpret the mark with respect to the University's grading system and, in particular, enables the student to know whether he/she has obtained a passing or a failing mark for that task (* or these items may be included in the summary in clause 8(i) above); and
  5. where collaboration is accepted or encouraged, the amount and type of collaboration that is required and, for collaborative assessment tasks, the way in which marks will be distributed among the group;

    and, where appropriate.
  6. the due date and location for the receipt of an assessment task which is an assignment and the return date for the marked assignment which applies to assignments received by the due date (see also Assessment Policy clauses 111-114 and 116-119);
  7. the grounds, if any, for granting of extensions of time for submitting the assignment and the process for seeking such an extension;
  8. details regarding the late receipt of assignments, in particular any assessment penalties late assignments will incur;
  9. whether or not the assignment may be submitted by e-mail (see Assessment Policy clause 111-114);
  10. the circumstances, if any, under which the assignment may be submitted by facsimile (see Assessment Policy clause 111-114);
  11. arrangements for the return of the assignment;
  12. for students enrolled in the distance education mode, action that a student may take if the assignment is not returned by the return date (see Assessment Policy clause 126-129);
  13. the circumstances, if any, under which the assignment may be re-submitted or additional assessment sought;
  14. the date and starting time of an assessment task which is a test (this information for examinations shall be published in the examination timetable by the Examinations Office);
  15. the duration of a test or examination; and
  16. a general indication of the format of the test or examination which may include for example-
    1. the number of questions;
    2. the marks allotted to each question,the type of answers required (multiple choice, short answers, essays),
    3. the materials to be provided by the University, and
    4. the materials to be provided by the student.

(13) Where it is deemed to be helpful a subject outline shall also contain a brief summary statement of the assessment criteria for a minimum pass in the subject in relation to the factors identified in clause 11a) to e) above. For example:

In order to achieve a passing grade in this subject, students must, in addition to obtaining sufficient marks for a passing grade:
  1. meet attendance requirements;
  2. complete (and, where appropriate, submit) all assessment tasks; and
  3. pass the final examination
Examination refers to formal end-of-session examinations conducted by the Examinations Office. Test refers to examinations conducted by Faculties during session (usually in regular class times or during residential schools).

Presentation of Assignments

(14) A subject outline shall specify for an assessment task that is an assignment:

  1. the method of bibliographic citation that is required for the task, including the details of the method.

Grading Information

(15) A subject outline shall specify how the marks or grades for the various assessment tasks are conflated to determine a final grade in the subject.

Information on Procedures for Variation of the Subject Outline

(16) A subject outline shall contain details of the approval and notification procedures to be followed for variations to assessment tasks, assessment requirements or examination requirements in the subject outline as set out in clauses 18-19 below, for variations affecting all students and variations for individual students.

Other Information

(17) A subject outline shall contain:

  1. a brief statement of the tenets of acceptable academic practice and the rights and obligations of students with respect to academic matters;
  2. a brief statement bringing to the notice of students their right to seek special consideration if misadventure or extenuating circumstances affect their performance in, or prevent their completion of the subject;
  3. details of any enhancements made to the subject which are the outcome of a Subject Experience Survey conducted by the Division of Student Learning in accordance with the University's policy for such surveys (or, where a Faculty has a standard entry concerning such matters, the inclusion of that statement) and (from Session 2, 2010) the following statement:

(18)
"Evaluation of Subjects
CSU values the constructive feedback of all students on its subject offerings. Student responses are fed back anonymously to Subject Coordinators and Heads of School and form a basis for subject improvement and recognition of excellence in teaching. Every school provides a report to their Faculty Board and the University Curriculum, Learning and Teaching Committee on their evaluation data highlighting good practice and documenting how problems have been addressed. A summary of those reports is available.
We rely on student feedback to improve our teaching and strongly encourage you to complete the online evaluations which open three weeks before the end of session. You are notified by email of the window opening and provided with a link to each subject evaluation."

  1. a generalised statement on University regulations and policies, together with a listing of important policies and regulations. For example: Academic matters are defined by, and are subject to, CSU policies and regulations. This subject outline should be read in conjunction with all such academic regulations and policies. In particular, you should consult the University's regulations on Assessment , Academic Progress , the Student Academic Misconduct Policy , etc., the CSU Student Charter , and policies on Assessment, etc.;
  2. a listing of any relevant Faculty policies, and where these may be located;
  3. a brief statement to students concerning the importance of the subject outline as an historical record and the need for them to retain a copy of it for their future use (such as presentation to registration authorities);
  4. reference to the Academic Communication with Students Policy .
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Section 4 - Variation of Subject Outlines

Variations to Content

(19) After first publication of a subject outline for a specific offering, any change to the content of either the print or online version of a subject outline shall be approved by the Head of the teaching School, in consultation (where appropriate) with the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Learning).

Variations to Assessment Tasks, Assessment Requirements or Examination Requirements

Variations Affecting All Students

(20) Any variations made during session to the assessment tasks, assessment requirements or examination requirements in a subject outline affecting all students enrolled in the subject shall be approved by the Head of the teaching School.

Variations for Individual Students

(21) Variations to the assessment or examination procedures may be made for an individual student, by the Head of the teaching School on the advice of the Subject Coordinatorr Subject Convenor if appointed. Such variations shall only be made in exceptional circumstances and with the student's concurrence.

Notification of Variations

(22) All proposals to vary a subject outline shall be conveyed in writing to the Head of the Teaching School. Following approval, all variations of subject outlines shall be conveyed in writing to students by the Subject Coordinatorr Subject Convenorif appointed. Such changes shall not disadvantage students.