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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, learning materials, resources, and assessment items and standards;
  2. link the subject to relevant academic policies, memoranda of agreement (e.g. Charles Sturt University Student Charter) and other relevant policies;
  3. specify conditions pertinent to the subject that must be met by students;
  4. inform a specified enrolment of students about the planned learning and teaching activities; and
  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.

(3) 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.

(4) Subject outlines shall be issued to students online (via Subject Outlines within Charles Sturt University 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

(5) As a minimum, subject outlines shall contain the subject information listed in Section 3 of this Policy. Subject Co-ordinators, or Subject Convenors if appointed, may include additional subject-level, cohort-specific information suitable for inclusion in a learning and teaching contract.

Subject Identification

(6) A subject outline shall have a Charles Sturt University identification, link to the University's Acknowledgement of Country and provide:

  1. the name of the Faculty and School;
  2. the subject code;
  3. the subject name; and
  4. credit points attributed to the subject.

Teaching Staff Identification and Contact Details

(7) A subject outline shall contain:

  1. the name of the Subject Coordinator (or, where appropriate, Subject Convenor); and
  2. for the Subject Coordinator and/or Subject Convenor, the following contact details:
    1. telephone;
    2. email address(es);
    3. room number and location (for the Subject Coordinator or Subject Convenor and other staff where appropriate); and details on the processes of consultation, including whether or not specified hours of consultation have been set aside for the subject.

(8) Information about teaching staff, including their contact details and contact procedures, will be provided to the student cohort via the Interact 2 subject site.

Learning Outcomes and Syllabus

(9) A subject outline shall contain:

  1. the abstract from the current subject profile;
  2. a statement of the outcomes 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 (where applicable);
  4. a chronological schedule of topics and study activities (where applicable);
  5. details of the prescribed textbook(s);
  6. a statement describing where learning materials, such as required or recommended readings, will be accessed, such as the Interact 2 subject site;
  7. details of other resources, including equipment, to which the student is required to have access in order to complete the subject;
  8. 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. a summary of the education 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 student will engage their learning through use of the tools and spaces.
    3. the need to attend compulsory residential schools and workshops, or the opportunity to attend optional residential schools/workshops (refer also below);
    4. if and how analytics will be used, consistent with the University's Learning Analytics Code of Practice, to monitor student activity and learning, and adapt teaching and/or support practices; and
    5. any additional teaching and support strategies.
  9. 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;
  10. a statement indicating any assumed knowledge for the subject as identified in the current version of the subject profile;
  11. a statement stating the point value of the subject, and then 'The Charles Sturt University Subject Policy states that a standard 8-point subject should require you to spend a total of between 140-160 hours engaged in the learning and teaching activities. This subject has been developed to comply with this Policy, and activities include the time spent in preparation for assessment, including study for examinations, tests and assignment preparation'. A recommended breakdown of the hours that should be allocated to each activity for successful completion of the subject must also be included. 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.

Residential School Information

(10) For subjects offered by online learning, the Subject Outlines Policy shall specify whether or not there is a residential school and, where there is a residential school;

  1. if the residential school is compulsory or optional (i.e. if the residential school must be attended to pass the subject);
  2. the duration and location of the residential school; and
  3. 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. 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 a subject;
  3. detailed information outlining the marking criteria and standards that will be used to assess each task, as well as descriptions of the standards required to achieve each 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: whether or not the task must be passed to pass the subject, the proportion of the final grade contributed by the task; and whether feedback will be in a numerical mark or a satisfactory (SY)/Unsatisfactory (US) mark (in accordance with the University's Assessment Policy - Coursework Subjects). 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. Note that these items may be included in the summary;
  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;
  6. and, where appropriate:
    1. the due date and process for submission 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 (refer to the Assessment Policy - Coursework Subjects, Part CC);
    2. the grounds, if any, for granting of extensions of time for submitting the assignment and the process for seeking such an extension;
    3. details regarding the late receipt of assignments, in particular any assessment penalties late assignments will incur
    4. whether or not the assignment may be submitted by email (refer to the assignments section of the Assessment Policy - Coursework Subjects);
    5. arrangements for the return of the assignment;
  7. for students enrolled in the online learning mode, action that a student may take if the assignment is not returned by the return date (refer to the assignments section of the Assessment Policy - Coursework Subjects);
  8. the circumstances, if any, under which the assignment may be re-submitted or additional assessment sought;
  9. the date (if known) of an assessment task which is an exam or test, and a statement that information for examinations shall be published in the examination timetable to the Examinations Office;
  10. the duration of a test or examination; and
  11. 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;
    3. the type of answers required (multiple choice, short answers, essays);
    4. the materials to be provided by the University; and
    5. 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 12 a) to e).

  1. For example:
    1. 'In order to achieve a passing grade in this subject, students must, in addition to obtaining sufficient marks for a passing grade meet attendance requirements and the final examination.
    2. 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, the referencing style that is required for the task, including a link to 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 below, for variations affecting all students and variations for individual students.

Other Information

(17) A subject outline shall contain a generalised statement on University regulations and policies (including a link to a listing of important policies and regulations).

  1. For example:
    1. 'Academic matters are defined by, and are subject to, the University's policies and regulations. This subject outline should be read in conjunction with all academic policies and regulations, such as Student Academic Misconduct Policy, Assessment Policy - Coursework Subjects, Assessment Principles Policy, Special Consideration Policy, Academic Progress Policy, Academic Communication with Students Policy and Student Charter.
    2. Please refer to the collated list of policies and regulations relevant to studying your subject(s) which includes links to the CSU Policy Library; the sole authoritative source of official academic and administrative policies, procedures, guidelines, rules and regulations of the University.'

(18) A subject outline shall also contain:

  1. 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;
  2. 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 concerning such matters, the inclusion of that statement) and (from Session 2, 2010) the following statement: ‘Evaluation of Subject –  Charles Sturt University values constructive feedback and relies upon extraordinary response rates to the Subject Experience Survey to enhance teaching. Responses are fed back anonymously to Subject Coordinators and Head of Schools to form the basis for subject enhancement and recognition of excellence in teaching. Schools report on their evaluation data, highlighting good practice and documenting how problems have been addressed. A summary of survey results is available online to all students here. We strongly encourage you to complete your online Subject Experience Surveys. You will be provided with links to your subject surveys via email when surveys open three weeks before the end of session’; and
  3. an auto-text statement: “This Subject Outline is an accurate and historical record of the scope of your subject. Charles Sturt University's Subject Outline Policy requires that you retain a copy of the subject outline for future use such as for accreditation purposes".
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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 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 of examination requirements in a subject outline affecting all students enrolled in the subject shall be approved by the Head of Teaching School.

Variation for Individual Students

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

Notification of Variations

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