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Workplace Learning Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This Policy sets out principles for the development and implementation of Workplace Learning programs at Charles Sturt University.

(2) The objectives of the Workplace Learning Policy are to:

  1. establish the code of conduct for Workplace Learning in accordance with relevant legislative and regulatory requirements, standards and good practices;
  2. provide the framework in which the University operates effective, efficient, and safe Workplace Learning in Curricula;
  3. ensure Workplace Learning, including assessment, is designed, managed and maintained, in ways that achieve the University's educational goals;
  4. minimise risk associated with the conduct and experience of Workplace Learning;
  5. define the core responsibilities of key personnel in implementing Workplace Learning;
  6. identify and ensure provision of appropriate resources and infrastructure;
  7. ensure that the planning for Workplace Learning at the University system and courses level, addresses key issues of quality of education, risk management, sustainability and duty of care to relevant parties; and
  8. outline the principles for building professional relationships with industry partners in successful collaborations of learning.

Scope

(3) This Policy covers all Workplace Learning activities in University courses including teaching professional experience, clinical placements, fieldwork, internships, University clinics or farms, intra-mural and extra-mural placements, community and industry placements and projects (as defined by Academic Senate, 2010).

(4) This Policy applies to all students of the University, staff and units (academic and administrative) involved in formal and informal Workplace Learning both on and off campus.

(5) Most clauses in this Policy do not apply to Voluntary Workplace Learning arrangements whereby students arrange their own Workplace Learning to broaden their knowledge, but where this is not a course requirement, or where payment is made to a student by the Workplace Learning provider. Information about insurance provisions for Voluntary Workplace Learning arrangements and/or situations involving payment to a student is found in clauses 29 to 36 of this Policy.

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Section 2 - Glossary

(6) Definitions are provided to clarify terms and roles as used in this document. It is acknowledged that the terms for these roles may differ according to the discipline.

(7) Workplace Learning - is part of practice-based education. The term Workplace Learning refers to the learning and teaching components of curricula that occur in real world contexts of practice (including off-campus practicums, on campus synchronous and asynchronous access of real world workplaces, excursions, and university clinics, studios and farms). Such activities ground the learning of students in the realities of their workplaces and communities of practice in preparation for their practice roles and responsibilities and for the expectations of their professions, occupations and workplaces. Workplace Learning, also known as work-integrated learning, practicums and professional practice, professional experience, internships, intra-mural and extra-mural placements, fieldwork and clinical placements, allows students to learn through direct implementation of their professional roles in real workplace settings. Workplaces may encompass on-campus and off-campus facilities. Commonly such learning involves supervision to provide safeguards and ensure duty of care towards clients and students. (Academic Senate September 2010).

(8) Practice-Based Education - refers to grounding education in strategies, content and goals that direct students' learning towards preparation for practice roles post graduation. Practice-Based Education includes curriculum, subject, stream and activity level approaches such as goal setting and curriculum design as well as Workplace Learning induction and placements. Practice-Based Education can occur in on-campus, workplace, distance and e-learning components of curricula. (Academic Senate September 2010).

(9) Curriculum - means "the sum of the experiences students engage in and acquire as a result of learning at university and the factors that create these experiences. This includes explicit, implicit and hidden aspects of the learning program, and experiences that occur incidentally (alongside) the formal curriculum. The curriculum is intentional teaching, content, assessment as well as unintentional messages to learners created through role modelling by teachers and fieldwork educators, through assessment schedules, learning climate, infrastructure (resourcing, facilities, staffing, administrative and support systems), university communities and additional experiences (e.g. sporting,social) that are part of university life." (Higgs, 2011)1 The term "Curricula" has a corresponding meaning.

(10) Workplace - means any place where individuals conduct work, that is, provide a service or produce goods, not a simulated environment.

(11) Placement - is an experience in a workplace external to or within the University which is a requirement of any course or subject offered by the University.

(12) Workplace Learning Coordinator - means a University staff member (Academic or General) who has responsibility for the management of a specific program.

(13) Workplace Learning Educator - means a staff member of the University or designated personnel responsible for facilitating learning (goal setting, observation, Supervision, feedback) and conducting assessment of students engaged in a specific placement.

(14) Workplace Learning Supervisor - means a staff member of the University or contracted personnel responsible for the supervision of students engaged in a specific placement. Supervision involves mentoring and coaching the student in the development of professional competence.

(15) Supervision - refers to a collaborative interpersonal relationship in the workplace between Workplace Learning Supervisor/s and student/s to support experiential learning where students practise and develop their professional skills and knowledge.

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Section 3 - Policy

Principles

(16) This Policy supports the University's overall vision of expanded access to high quality Workplace Learning experiences and its strategic plan to have graduates achieve successful employment outcomes. The following principles underpin the Policy:

  1. Workplace Learning is an integral component of the University's curriculum design;
  2. Workplace Learning should be conducted in an ethical and culturally appropriate manner;
  3. Workplace Learning is a structured academic activity underpinned by pedagogy and supported by the University;
  4. pedagogically, Workplace Learning has a number of particular features including participation in real contexts, engagement with client issues, unpredictable situations and direct consequences of actions;
  5. Workplace Learning occurs within, and must comply with, relevant policies, legislation and insurance requirements;
  6. Workplace Learning can be conducted throughout the entire calendar year (for reasons of access to work places and optimisation of student learning opportunities) therefore the University overall needs to provide relevant services to support staff, students and external partners throughout the year; and
  7. Workplace Learning is a dynamic collaborative partnership involving staff, students and industry partners of the University.

References

(17) This Policy should be read in conjunction with:

  1. Academic Progress Policy;
  2. Assessment Information provided to students in subject outlines;
  3. Student Academic Misconduct Policy; and
  4. Student General Misconduct Rule.

Responsibilities

(18) Responsibilities for those managing and participating in Workplace Learning are outlined, as follows:

  1. the Vice-Chancellor as Chief Executive Officer, is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Federal and State legislation and regulations associated with Workplace Learning;
  2. the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) is responsible to the Vice-Chancellor for the activities of the Faculties and the learning support divisions in the development and monitoring of learning and teaching within the University and the University's course profile;
  3. the Office of Governance and Corporate Affairs is responsible for Academic Senate and its various committees which are responsible for the development and monitoring of relevant Workplace Learning policies and procedures; and
  4. Academic Units:
    1. Faculties and Executive Deans (normally through the leadership of Course Directors) are responsible for the quality of Workplace Learning and teaching within the faculty and courses, including the overall implementation of Workplace Learning policies and procedures and academic programs;
    2. the Sub Dean Workplace Learning or Director, Workplace Learning (or equivalent) co-ordinate faculty policy with regard to improving the quality of Workplace Learning; and
    3. Heads of School and (normally through the leadership of Subject Convenors or Subject Coordinators) are responsible for ensuring that Workplace Learning subjects are implemented in accordance with Workplace Learning policies and procedures; and
  5. All University employees involved in Workplace Learning are responsible for adhering to Workplace Learning policies and procedures in the conduct of all Workplace Learning activities.

Workplace Learning

(19) In accord with the University's strategic values and mission, the following teaching and learning principles are used for Workplace Learning subjects:

  1. Workplace Learning forms a structured learning activity that enables students to:
    1. employ workplace tasks which enable students to integrate academic theory into authentic discipline practice;
    2. develop skills and knowledge related to the industry or profession;
    3. apply theoretical knowledge and employ creative problem solving to practical, workplace related issues/needs;
    4. undertake productive and meaningful participation which also has a benefit to the workplace;
    5. develop the ability to reflect on work experience and self-assess their work capabilities;
    6. demonstrate discipline-specific competence and work readiness;
    7. demonstrate behaviours consistent with professional values, social justice and cultural sensitivity; and
    8. demonstrate teamwork and proficient communication in a professional setting.
  2. Workplace Learning outcomes should be aligned with:
    1. the course and subject requirements;
    2. industry/professional standards, competencies; and
    3. graduate and employability attributes.
  3. Workplace Learning assessment should:
    1. promote learning in such a way as to enhance the development of student capabilities for the workplace (Table 1 of the University Professional and Practice-Based Education Standards);
    2. provide an ethical and defensible evaluation of these capabilities;
    3. be conducted in line with the principles of Assessment 2020 (Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching);
    4. be consistent with the University's Moderation Policy;
    5. be conducted by a Workplace Learning Educator (or equivalent) incorporating where possible relevant feedback from the Workplace Learning Supervisor (or equivalent).
  4. Academic performance and progress is managed in line with relevant policies and in accordance with the University's obligations at law, including:
    1. the standard of practice that is acceptable while on Placement ( refer to Academic Progress Policy);
    2. students at risk of failure (refer to Assessment Policy);
    3. exclusion (refer to Academic Progress Policy);
    4. discontinuation of Workplace Learning (refer to Academic Progress Policy);
    5. additional Workplace Learning time (refer to Assessment Policy).
  5. The University awards Workplace Learning grades in line with the University's Assessment Policy.
  6. The University will use its best endeavours to ensure that Workplace Learning, teaching and assessment strategies:
    1. evaluate student performance against relevant criteria;
    2. provide appropriate levels of autonomy relevant to the experience of the student; and
    3. provide feedback to the student and the University in a timely manner to assist learning.
  7. The University is responsible to ensure that appropriate strategies are in place to prepare and monitor Placements so that:
    1. students, staff and organisations meet legal and ethical responsibilities; and
    2. duty of care to students, staff, clients and environment is ensured.
  8. Work Placements are:
    1. developed through collaboration between staff of the University and industry/professional partners to explicitly link academic theory and work practice to the period of attendance;
    2. structured, with formal (academic and Workplace) direction, Supervision and monitoring;
    3. allocated periods of time that the student will spend in the Workplace or engaged with industry/professional individuals and Workplace tasks that are sufficient to normally facilitate the student's development towards agreed minimal standards of professional entry-level competence in their discipline and have access to an appropriate range and depth of experience; and
    4. recorded, managed, archived and disposed according to the University's Record Management Policy, TRIM Access and Security Policy, and the State Records Act (1998).
  9. Workplace Learning Supervisors are supported by the University through:
    1. the provision of clear instructions on the learning outcomes;
    2. the provision of information about the student's level of knowledge and skills relevant to their stage in the course;
    3. opportunities for professional development in Supervision and mentoring of students; and
    4. documentation of the Workplace Learning program.

Statutory Subject Requirements

(20) Workplace Learning subjects that incur HECs liability must form part of a formal component of a course (i.e. part or all of a formal unit with credit points and assessment attached). Workplace Learning subjects should be designed such that student learning and performance is either directed by the University or supported by the University in accordance with the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (C'wealth) (Administration Guidelines under section 238-10) as defined in clauses 21 and 22.

(21) Student learning and performance is enabled if all of the following are performed by theUniversity, or persons engaged by the University:

  1. definition and management of the implementation of educational content and objectives of the unit;
  2. definition and management of the standard of learning and performance to be achieved by the student during the placement;
  3. definition and management of assessment of student learning and performance during the placement;
  4. ongoing and regular input and contact with students, and
  5. oversight and direction of work occurring during its performance, not just the progress of a student's work.

(22) Student learning and performance meets government requirements if all of the following are performed by the University or persons engaged by the University:

  1. interaction between the Workplace Learning Supervisor and the student, which may include site visits;
  2. organisation and/or approval of student placements;
  3. ongoing monitoring of student work and progress, and
  4. assessment of student learning and performance during the placement.

Privacy

(23) The University will handle student information according to the Privacy Management Plan of the University as required by Part 3 Division 2 of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW).

(24) The Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act (the Act) applies only to "personal information", which is "information or an opinion.....about an individual whose identity is apparent or can reasonably be ascertained from the information or opinion" (s.4(1)). Personal information includes information in a database, whether or not recorded in a material form such as in paper and photographs, and includes electronic records, video recordings and biometric data such as blood samples and finger prints. There are some exceptions specified in the Act (e.g. information about an individual contained in a widely available publication).

(25) The Act lists information protection principles that relate to the way personal information must be collected, stored and used. The Act specifies exemptions to each of the principles.

(26) Refer to the University's Privacy Management Plan.

Worplace Health and Safety

(27) The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) places legal obligations on everyone to ensure the health and safety of themselves and others in the Workplace.

Risk Management

(28) The University manages risk in Workplace Learning Placements through:

  1. the identification of roles and allocation of responsibilities for Faculty, School/Course staff, students and work placement providers;
  2. adherence to health and safety procedures as required by work placement providers;
  3. identifying and addressing risks to students and staff engaging in placements;
  4. advising workplaces (within the meaning of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW)) when there is a serious and imminent threat to any person's health or safety;
  5. management of the student under the Academic Progress Policy in situations where continuation of a student in Workplace Learning is deemed to place any person or the good reputation of the University at risk of significant harm.

Insurance

(29) The Division of Finance is responsible for ensuring the provision of insurance for students of the University who undertake approved Workplace Learning with an external organisation or on-campus. Insurance coverage does not commence unless it is University approved.

(30) Within Australia, coverage is provided under the following policies and applies whilst students are on approved Workplace Learning and whilst travelling directly to / from the place of such approved Workplace Learning:

  1. General and Products Liability Insurance;
  2. Professional Indemnity Insurance;
  3. Medical/Veterinary Malpractice Insurance; and
  4. Students Personal Accident Insurance.

(31) Students, unless they are also employees of the University, are not covered by Workers' Compensation insurance and so will need to arrange their own Medicare and/or private health insurance to cover any medical and hospital expenses.

(32) Outside Australia, students undertaking international Workplace Learning Placements will only be covered under the University's General and Products Liability, Professional Indemnity and Medical/Veterinary Malpractice insurances, which apply anywhere in the world, if their overseas Workplace Learning Placement has been negotiated and approved by the student's lecturer or other authorised Faculty personnel in accordance with clauses 39-40 of this Policy (Interstate and International Placements). However, Students Personal Accident insurance is limited to Australia, so students travelling overseas are responsible for ensuring they have adequate travel and medical insurance. The University Travel Office can assist with travel insurance for travel that is arranged by or through them.

(33) Letters confirming the provision of insurance applicable to Workplace Learning, both in Australia and overseas, can be downloaded from the Division of Finance Insurance website. This website also contains several relevant FAQs.

(34) This Policy does not deal with Workplace Learning undertaken voluntarily by students. Placements in this Policy are limited to those which are a requirement of a course or subject offered by the University. If you have questions about the circumstances in which University insurance cover may apply to voluntary Workplace Learning, please refer to the FAQ on voluntary work experience at the Division of Finance Insurance website.

(35) If a student wishes to complete some voluntary Workplace Learning - either within Australia or overseas - to broaden his/her knowledge, certain mandatory procedures must be followed. Voluntary Workplace Learning refers to instances whereby students arrange their own Workplace Learning, ie: Workplace Learning that is not a course requirement. Voluntary Workplace Learning must still be approved if it is to receive University insurance cover and approval, in this instance, is arranged only through the University's Careers Service. Students must first complete and submit the insurance application form for voluntary Workplace Learning. If voluntary Workplace Learning is approved prior to it being commenced, and so long as it is not a paid activity, it will be covered by the applicable University's insurances.

(36) If a student wishes to undertake Workplace Learning, either within Australia or overseas,on his/her own initiative which is not Workplace Learning approved by the University, then the above insurances do not extend to include such activities. Similarly, if a student is either paid by the external organisation or extends his/her Workplace Learning to undertake a project on behalf of the external organisation which has not been approved as Workplace Learning by the University, neither of these circumstances is covered under the above insurances. If any of these apply, the external organisation assumes responsibility for the student and would be expected to provide appropriate general and products liability, professional indemnity and personal accident/workers' compensation insurances under its own policies.

Students with a Disability

(37) The University will make reasonable adjustments to ensure students with a disability have access to and participate in Workplace Learning activities, in accordance with the Disability Standards for Education 2005.

(38) Where work placement is an integral part of the course, the needs of students with disabilities should be considered during enrolment, course planning and Placement allocation.

Interstate and International Placements

(39) The University supports students undertaking Workplace Learning placements interstate or overseas. Faculties are to ensure that arrangements are made to:

  1. ensure parity of learning outcomes with local placements;
  2. comply with Department of Education and Training regulations; and
  3. adhere to the requirements of interstate and international jurisdictions.

(40) Interstate and international Workplace Learning placements will occur only when a Workplace Learning Placement Agreement (or equivalent written agreement) has been negotiated and accepted by the Faculty and the Workplace Learning provider (e.g. industry partners, professional and community organisations or partner institutions).

Misconduct

(41) Any instances of misconduct of students on Workplace Learning Placement will be dealt with in compliance with the Student Academic Misconduct Policy and Student General Misconduct Rule. The Professional Experience in clause in the Academic Progress Policy may also apply.

Complaints

(42) Complaints will be managed under the Complaints Policy.

(43) If the complaint relates to behaviour by a person external to the University with whom the student is interacting in the course of an approved external program of study it will be dealt with under the procedure for dealing with student complaints.

Records Management

(44) Records of student checks, Workplace Learning Supervisor reports and placement hours for course accreditation requirements should be managed, archived and disposed according to the Record Management Policy, TRIM Access and Security Policy, and the State Records Act (1998).

(45) Note: Relevant data should be stored in the Unversity's Workplace Learning Management System ("In Place") and data from this is uploaded to TRIM.

Resources

(46) Workplace Learning policies (or equivalent) from all Australian universities were researched to inform the development of this Policy, in particular acknowledgement is made of:

  1. Queensland University of Technology, Work Integrated Learning Policy.
  2. University of Canberra, Work Integrated Learning Policy and Work Integrated Learning Procedures.
  3. University of Tasmania, Work Integrated Learning Policy.
  4. Higher Education Support Act 2003 - Administration Guidelines (05/09/2005)
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Section 4 - Procedures

(47) Nil.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(48) Nil.