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Course and Subject Life Cycle Procedure

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) The Course and Subject Policy authorises certain committees and positions to approve courses, subjects and non-award offerings, and to approve changes to these.

(2) This procedure supports the policy by stating detailed requirements for the following stages of the life cycle of courses and subjects:

  1. development;
  2. approval;
  3. approval of changes; and
  4. suspension and phasing out.

(3) Requirements for other parts of the course and subject life cycle are stated by the:

  1. Course and Subject Design (Coursework) Procedure;
  2. Course and Subject Delivery and Management Procedure; and
  3. Course and Subject Quality Assurance and Review Procedure.


(4) Where a supporting document is referenced in this procedure, it will be listed in the associated information tab.

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Section 2 - Glossary

(5) Most of the terms in this procedure are defined in the glossary section of the Course and Subject Policy. For the purposes of this procedure, the following additional terms have the definitions stated:

  1. Elective – a requirement of a course that a student can meet by completing a subject they can choose freely from any subject of the University that is available to them for elective enrolment; see also ‘restricted elective’.
  2. Host faculty – the faculty responsible for administering a shared course.
  3. Restricted elective – a course requirement whereby a student can choose a subject or a specified number of subjects from a list of subjects or from a specified discipline; that is, not an unrestricted elective choice.
  4. Shared course – a course developed, delivered and reviewed in collaboration between two or more faculties.
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Section 3 - Policy 

(6) This procedure supports the Course and Subject Policy and should be read alongside that policy.

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Section 4 - Procedure

Indigenous Australian content

(7) The Indigenous Australian Content in Courses and Subject Policy states requirements for development, approval and changes to this type of content.

External advisory committees

(8) Courses will have an external advisory committee (EAC) to inform development, ongoing improvement and review of the course.

  1. A single EAC may be held for a group of courses in a discipline or cluster of closely-related disciplines.

(9) The purposes of the EAC are to ensure that:

  1. the academic standing of the course remains high;
  2. the course remains relevant to the profession or industry it serves; and
  3. course development and review achieve the following standards:
    1. Course development and improvement are informed by changing community needs, changes in the industry, profession or discipline, and the current reputation of the course.
    2. Course designers are aware of existing, emerging and potential markets.
    3. The course has clear, appropriate aims and objectives.
    4. The course content, teaching and learning experiences and assessment strategies are aligned with the course objectives and at an appropriate academic level.
    5. The teaching methods support diverse learners and progressive, sequenced learning through the course.

(10) An EAC may also:

  1. enable community input into improvement of the course;
  2. encourage recognition of the course by relevant bodies; and
  3. help promote the course.

(11) An EAC is an advisory committee and will not make strategic or operational decisions.

(12) The Associate Dean, Academic will:

  1. oversee EACs of the faculty;
  2. report to Faculty Board on EACs that have been held since the last report, and activities to ensure that EACs meet the requirements of this procedure; and
  3. report to University Courses Committee via the Associate Dean, Academic/Faculty Courses Committee Chair’s report.

(13) The faculty will seek input from the EAC into comprehensive review of the course and any proposal for substantial change to the course such as a new major.

(14) The requirements for convening EACs are as follows:

  1. An EAC will meet:
    1. as often as the Faculty Board considers necessary to support continuous improvement of the course with information on how it is regarded by graduates, employers and the communities the course serves; 
    2. as part of gathering external input into comprehensive review of the course; and
    3. where a strong need to improve the course and/or increase its enrolments is identified by an annual course health check.
  2. External members will make up a substantial majority of the membership, and will include:
    1. a minimum of one external discipline expert who is a senior academic and/or representative of the relevant professional accreditation body with expertise in the course discipline or field of professional practice;
    2. experts operating at a high level in the industry for which the course prepares its graduates. Where the course leads to professional accreditation, these experts will be at least two currently practising professionals;
    3. where possible, a representative of any Indigenous community in the region(s) the course services; and
    4. (once the course has graduates) at least one graduate of the course.
  3. An EAC will include the following internal members:
    1. the Course Director;
    2. the Head of School or their nominee;
    3. the discipline lead of the primary course discipline or each of the course major disciplines; and
    4. at least one current student.
  4. The Course Director and Head of School (or nominee), in consultation with the Executive Dean or Associate Dean, Academic, will appoint members to the committee.
  5. The term of membership for external members is two years.
    1. A member may be reappointed for a second consecutive term, but not for a third consecutive term, unless the Associate Dean, Academic agrees to an exception.
    2. Terms of external members will be staggered to ensure some continuity of membership.
  6. The Course Director and Head of School (or nominee), in consultation with the Executive Dean or Associate Dean, Academic, may replace a member who fails to attend meetings.
  7. The chair will ensure the EAC’s recommendations are followed up and will report back to the EAC on the outcome of recommendations.

(15) The faculty will keep the following records of each EAC:

  1. a file of its agendas and minutes; and
  2. a record of the dates the EAC met, its suggestions to improve the course and whether these led to changes in the course or its delivery, with a link to the full file of the EAC papers, in the:
    1. curriculum management system course documents; and
    2. if the course is professionally accredited, the Faculty Administration Manager’s faculty professional accreditation report.

Course and subject development

Course development

(16) The Associate Dean, Academic will appoint a Course Director and convene a working party to develop and design a new course, or changes to an existing course, and the related course documents for approval.

(17) Where the course will include service-taught subjects, the working party should include academic staff of the other faculty or school.

(18) If the course will need professional accreditation, the faculty must consult the relevant professional body during course development.

(19) For a double degree comprising degrees in two faculties, or a shared course, the two Executive Deans will decide which is to be the host faculty. In case of dispute, they will refer the matter to the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), who will decide.

(20) For development of a double degree, the host faculty Associate Dean, Academic will:

  1. appoint a person or group satisfactory to the other faculty to develop the business case; and
  2. convene a working party to develop the course documents, comprising up to three nominees of each of the two Associate Deans, Academic plus a convener chosen by the host Associate Dean, Academic.

Subject development

(21) The Head of School will nominate an academic staff member to convene a panel to develop and design a new subject or changes to an existing subject.

  1. Where the subject design/redesign is part of designing/redesigning a course, the design team will work in consultation with the Course Director who is leading the course design/redesign.
  2. Where the subject is a component of courses managed by more than one school or faculty, the subject design/redesign team will consult the relevant Course Directors to ensure that the design work does not compromise course learning outcomes.

Support for course and subject design

(22) The Division of Learning and Teaching:

  1. supports faculties as a partner in course and subject design; and
  2. collaborates with faculties to provide the Learning and Teaching Framework to guide staff in this work.

(23) The Division of Library Services:

  1. supports faculties to design courses and subjects so that students can achieve digital and information literacy; and
  2. advises on textbooks and other learning materials for subjects.

(24) The Indigenous Board of Studies and School of Indigenous Australian Studies advise faculties on design of Indigenous Australian content in courses and subjects.

Course and subject approval

(25) The Office of the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) maintains the course and subject approval processes web page. This provides instructions, time-frames and templates for the processes for approval of:

  1. a notice of intent to develop a course;
  2. a business case for:
    1. a new course;
    2. a change to an existing course that requires a business decision;
    3. phasing out a course;
  3. academic approval of a new course or a change to an existing course;
  4. academic approval of a new subject or change to an existing subject;
  5. a proposal to suspend an intake to a course or to an offering of a course; and
  6. annual review of the list of courses and course offerings available for intakes, to ensure it matches what has been approved.

Approving changes to subjects and subject outlines

(26) The Course and Subject Policy states who may approve:

  1. changes to assessment tasks or other information about a subject offering published to students;
  2. adding a compulsory or optional residential school to a subject; and
  3. removing a compulsory or optional residential school from a subject.

(27) Before each offering of a subject, the Subject Coordinator may propose changes to the pre-publication subject outline in the subject outline tool, for approval by the Head of School (or delegate).

  1. Where the subject is a core subject or restricted elective subject in a coursework course or major, any change to assessment tasks in the subject must preserve the alignment of assessment tasks with subject learning outcomes and the integrated course standards. The Course and Subject Design (Coursework) Procedure states detailed requirements for this alignment.
  2. Assessment tasks should also, as far as possible, be part of a course assessment regime which ensures that assessment progressively develops students’ skills and knowledge through the course. For example, some types of assessment, such as group assessment work, must be carefully managed at course level.
  3. For these reasons, Subject Coordinators will consult the relevant Course Director about any change to assessment task types or weightings in a subject, or any change to instructions for an assessment task, that may compromise course learning outcomes or the course assessment regime.
  4. Course Directors may intervene where a change to an assessment task in a subject compromises integrated course standards or a course assessment regime, by asking the Head of School not to approve the change or to reverse a change already approved, even if this constitutes a change to the subject assessment after the start of the relevant session.

(28) Where a change needs to be made to the subject outline after the outline is published and/or session has started, only the Head of School can approve that change. Where the Head of School delegates these approvals, the Associate Head of School can approve the change. Details of the assessment tasks in published subject outlines should only be changed where this will not disadvantage students.

(29) In exceptional circumstances, the Head of School may approve a variation to subject assessment or an exam for an individual student, with the student’s agreement, on the advice of the Subject Coordinator.

Publishing information on new courses

(30) The Course and Subject Information Procedure states restrictions on publishing information on new courses until these have had final academic approval.

Service teaching arrangements

(31) A service teaching arrangement will be documented as a written agreement between the academic units (faculties or schools) concerned where either unit requests it, in any of the following situations:

  1. The content of an existing or proposed subject in one academic unit overlaps wholly or in part with the subject matter of the discipline or professional area of another academic unit.
  2. One academic unit needs to require students in a course it manages to enrol in a subject offered by another academic unit (as a compulsory subject or restricted elective for the course or for one of its elective sequences).
  3. A member of staff of one academic unit teaches all or part of a subject offered by another academic unit.
  4. Academic units share delivery of a shared course or a double degree.

(32) In the first three of these situations, either academic unit may request a written service teaching agreement if they consider it is needed to reduce risk.

(33) The academic course proposal for a shared course or a double degree will normally be sufficient documentation of the service teaching arrangement, unless one of the units requests a separate written agreement.

(34) A service teaching agreement must be signed by the heads of the two units concerned, and documents the following matters:

  1. Ownership of the subject(s) that are service taught.
  2. Who is responsible for curriculum design and where the record of the design process will be stored.
  3. Who is responsible for teaching (whether one academic unit or shared).
  4. A commitment for one academic unit to continue delivering a subject(s) if the other unit’s course relies on this.
  5. The kind of component the subject(s) is/are in each course (core or restricted elective in the course as a whole or in a major or minor).
  6. How student load for service teaching will be assigned to the service teaching unit.
  7. Arrangements for adequate advance notice and consultation between the two academic units when any change is being considered that would affect either unit, such as changes to the structure of a course that includes service-taught subjects, changes to a service-taught subject (content, code, title, delivery, availability pattern, teaching staff, etc.). Where a change may cause a significant change in load of a service-taught subject, at least a year’s notice will be normal.
  8. Who in each unit is responsible for liaison on each aspect of the arrangement.
  9. How and how often the arrangement will be reviewed.
  10. How any disputes over the carrying out of the arrangement will be resolved.

Approval of short courses

(35) Where a school intends to offer a short course, the Head of School will propose the offering for the approval of the Associate Dean, Academic.

(36) Faculty Courses Committees will maintain a register of short courses offered by the faculty, in the University’s record management system.

(37) The Faculty Courses Committee will provide an annual report of new short courses approved in the faculty, to University Courses Committee.

(38) Where a school ceases to offer a short course, it will notify the Faculty Courses Committee.

Course and subject quality assurance and review

(39) Because quality assurance and review of courses involves several substantial activities, requirements for these are stated in a separate procedure, the Course and Subject Quality Assurance and Review Procedure.

Cancellation of residential schools and changes to these

(40) Schools must not cancel a residential school after information about the residential school has been published to students, unless a subject containing a residential school is cancelled.

(41) Where it is necessary, for exceptional reasons, to cancel a residential school although the subject containing it will run, the cancellation must be recommended by the Head of School to the Executive Dean for approval.

(42) The Executive Dean will then notify the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students) of the cancellation.

(43) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students) will ensure essential services outside the faculty are notified of the cancellation.

(44) Schools must as far as possible avoid changes to details of residential schools as published to students which students may have relied on to make arrangements to attend the residential school, such as date, hours, location.

(45) Where a residential school is cancelled or its details changed after publication, the school will reimburse students for any reasonable expenses they have already incurred to attend the school. To claim reimbursement, students must provide proof of the expenses.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(46) Nil.