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Workplace Learning Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This Policy sets out principles for the development, implementation and quality assurance of workplace learning programs at Charles Sturt University (the University).

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

  1. describe well-conceived and educationally sound workplace learning in accordance with relevant legislative and regulatory requirements, standards and good practices;
  2. describe a framework in which the University operates and monitors effective, efficient, and safe workplace learning curricula, including assurance of the quality of supervision of student experiences;
  3. describe ways that workplace learning, including assessment, is designed, managed and maintained, to achieve the University's educational goals;
  4. describe conditions for management and governance to 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 appropriate resources and infrastructure;
  7. outline processes for quality assurance of all workplace learning activities at the University system and courses level, that address key issues of quality of education, risk management, sustainability and duty of care to relevant parties as well as good governance, recording and reporting processes that include key stakeholders, and in so doing assures itself that the requirements of the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 are met by workplace learning; and
  8. outline the principles for building professional relationships with industry and community partners in successful collaborations of learning.

Scope

(3) This Policy covers all workplace learning activities in University courses that fall within the definition of workplace learning as approved by Academic Senate.

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

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Section 2 - Glossary

(5) 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.

(6) Workplace learning (WPL) is defined as supervised, purposeful, situated, contextual, collaborative learning that occurs in real world professional settings (CSU Workplace Learning Guide website). In order to be classified as workplace learning at Charles Sturt University the following three elements must be present:

  1. students’ active participation and purposeful engagement with professional roles and responsibilities in real world professional environments;
  2. workplace learning is supported by sound learning and teaching strategies and appropriate supervision; 
  3. workplace learning counts towards academic credit as part of a compulsory component of the course. 

(7) 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.

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

(9) 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.

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

(11) Workplace learning supervisor - means a staff member of the University or designated personnel responsible for facilitating learning (goal setting, observation, supervision, feedback) and in some cases conducting assessment of students engaged in a specific placement.

(12) Workplace learning liaison - means a staff member of the University or contracted personnel responsible for monitoring the quality of the placement overall, including liaising with supervisor and students and which may include monitoring of specific educational processes including goal setting, progress towards goals, assessment of student.

(13) 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.

(14) Placement provider – means the entity with which a student is placed to complete a placement.

(15) Workplace learning agreement – refers to the formal agreement between either, the University and the placement provider or between the University, placement provider and student, or any other type of agreement which facilitates a placement, which may either be a University template or a placement provider template.

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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 an effective and positive learning experience which is a seamless and integral part of a course of study;
  4. workplace learning is a structured academic activity underpinned by pedagogy and supported by the University;
  5. 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;
  6. workplace learning occurs within, and must comply with, relevant policies, legislation and insurance requirements;
  7. 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; 
  8. workplace learning is a dynamic collaborative partnership involving staff, students, community and industry partners of the University; and
  9. workplace learning activities are consistent with the guidance from Fair Work Australia, Higher Education Standards Framework and TEQSA on work experience and internships.

References

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

  1. Academic Progress Policy
  2. Academic Communication with Students Policy
  3. Academic Integrity Policy
  4. Assessment Policy - Coursework Subjects
  5. Balancing Work and Study with Family and Caring Responsibilities Policy
  6. Breastfeeding Policy
  7. Disability and Work or Study Adjustment Policy
  8. ESOS Legislative Framework
  9. Fair Work Australia, Guidance on Work Experience and Internships
  10. Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015
  11. Moderation Policy
  12. Privacy Management Plan
  13. Records Management Policy
  14. Risk Management Policy
  15. Special Consideration Policy
  16. Student Misconduct Rule 2018
  17. Subject Policy
  18. Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) Guidance Note: Work-Integrated Learning
  19. Workplace Learning for Students with a Disability Policy (Planning Guidelines); and
  20. Information provided to students in subject outlines and workplace learning handbooks.

Workplace Learning

(18) In accordance with the University's Curriculum, Learning and Teaching Framework, the following learning and teaching principles are used for workplace learning subjects:

  1. students are comprehensively prepared for workplace learning including:
    1. meeting professional and behavioral expectations at the level appropriate to their study;
    2. meeting compliance standards that are pre-requisite for the host organisation and the profession; and
    3. understanding the appropriate scope of practice that is expected by their
      discipline.
  2. 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 professional and employability 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 achievement of professional standards;
    7. demonstrate behaviours consistent with professional values, social justice and cultural sensitivity;
    8. demonstrate teamwork and proficient communication in a professional setting; and
    9. debrief and critically reflect on their placement experience as part of the workplace learning subject.
  3. workplace learning outcomes should be aligned with:
    1. the course and subject requirements;
    2. industry/professional standards, competencies; and
    3. graduate learning outcomes and employability attributes.
  4. workplace learning assessment should:
    1. promote learning in such a way as to enhance the development of student capabilities for the workplace (see CSU WPL Guide);
    2. provide an ethical, equitable and defensible evaluation of these capabilities;
    3. maintain academic integrity;
    4. be consistent with the University's Assessment Principles Policy and Moderation Policy;
    5. be conducted by a Workplace Learning Educator(or equivalent) incorporating where possible relevant feedback from the Workplace Learning Supervisor (or equivalent).
  5. 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 - Coursework Subjects);
    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 - Coursework Subjects).
  6. the University awards workplace learning grades in line with the University's Assessment Policy - Coursework Subjects.
  7. workplace learning, teaching and assessment strategies will:
    1. facilitate student learning and create a positive learning environment;
    2. evaluate student performance against relevant criteria;
    3. provide appropriate levels of autonomy relevant to the  experience of the student; and provide accurate and constructive feedback to the student and the University in a timely manner to assist learning.
  8. appropriate strategies are in place to prepare and monitor placements so that:
    1. students, staff and organisations meet legal and ethical responsibilities;
    2. duty of care to students, staff, clients and environment is ensured;
    3. the wellbeing of students engaged in workplace learning is monitored;
    4. educational and other support is provided as needed;
    5. critical incidents are managed should they eventuate;
    6. facilities where external placements are undertaken are fit for their educational purpose and accommodate the numbers and educational activities of the students and staff who use them;
    7. student access to learning resources does not present unexpected barriers or costs while students are undertaking workplace learning off campus; and
    8. arrangements for supporting and maintaining contact with students are in place.
  9. workplace learning placements are:
    1. developed through collaboration between staff of the University, community 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 recorded; and
    4. managed, archived and disposed according to the University's Records Management Policy, TRIM Access and Security Policy, and the State Records Act 1998 No 17.

Statutory Subject Requirements

(19) Workplace learning subjects that incur HECS-HELP 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 (Commonwealth Administration Guidelines under section 238-10) as defined in clauses 20 and 21.

(20) Student learning and performance is enabled if all of the following are performed by the University, 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; 
  5. oversight and direction of work occurring during its performance, not just the progress of a student's work;
  6. establishment and maintenance of strong partnerships with WPL host organisations and other stakeholders; and
  7. regular review of all aspects of workplace learning through quality assurance processes.

(21) 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;
  4. assessment of student learning and performance during the placement; and
  5. ongoing monitoring of student safety and wellbeing.

Privacy

(22) 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 No 133.

(23) The Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 No 133 (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).

(24) 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.

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

Workplace Health and Safety

(26) The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 No 10 (NSW) places legal obligations on everyone to ensure the health and safety of themselves and others in the workplace.

Risk Management

(27) The University manages risk in workplace learning placements through its Risk Management Policy and risk register processes. Specifically this includes:

  1. provision of adequate preparation and information to students, workplaces and workplace learning staff including about appropriate critical incident responses aligned with the Critical Incident Response Group Procedure;
  2. the identification of roles and allocation of responsibilities for Faculty, School/Course staff, students and work placement providers;
  3. adherence to health and safety procedures as required by work placement providers;
  4. identifying and addressing risks to students and staff engaging in placements;
  5. management of international students undertaking workplace learning in line with the ESOS legislative framework;
  6. advising workplaces (within the meaning of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 No 133 when there is a serious and imminent threat to any person's health or safety;
  7. 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; and
  8. University Legal Services providing legal advice to relevant Faculty staff in relation to workplace learning agreements pursuant to the University’s Legal Policy.

Insurance

(28) 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.

(29) 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 (this policy provides generic safety net cover only).

(30) Students, unless they are also employees of the University, are not covered by Workers' Compensation insurance and so at a minimum, will need to ensure they have access to Medicare and/or private health insurance to cover any medical and hospital expenses. Additionally, students should obtain their own professional advice to ensure that they have adequate insurance covers in place (taking into account their personal circumstances) including but not limited to private health insurance, personal accident, trauma, and income protection.

(31) 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 relevant workplace learning office and the student has registered their program with CSU Global. However, Students Personal Accident insurance is limited to Australia, so students travelling overseas are responsible for ensuring they have adequate insurance cover (including travel and medical insurance). It is very important that students obtain their own professional advice on this matter. The University Travel Office can assist with travel insurance for travel that is arranged by or through them.

Students with Disability

(32) The University will make reasonable adjustments to ensure students with disability have access to and participate in workplace learning activities, in accordance with the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (Cth).

(33) Where workplace learning is an integral part of the course, the needs of students with a disability should be considered during enrolment, course planning and placement allocation.

Procedure for Workplace Learning Agreements

(34) The development of a Charles Sturt University template workplace learning agreement is the responsibility of relevant Faculty staff utilising the services of the University’s Legal Services. Where a placement provider template workplace learning agreement is used, the relevant Faculty staff must ensure the agreement is provided to Legal Services in the first instance for review, advice and/or negotiation pursuant to the University’s Legal Policy.

(35) The appropriate person to sign any workplace learning agreement on behalf of the University will be determined by reference to the Delegations and Authorisations Policy and the University Partnerships Policy. An appropriate officer with the required delegated authority must sign on behalf of the placement provider.

(36) The signed workplace learning agreement must be captured into the University’s agreement/contract register HPE Records Manager by relevant Faculty staff.

Interstate and International Placements

(37) 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 accreditation requirements; and
  3. adhere to the requirements of interstate and international jurisdictions.

(38) Interstate 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) subject to the Faculty utilising the services of the University’s Legal Services pursuant to the Legal Policy as outlined above.

(39) International workplace learning placements will occur only when a Workplace Learning Placement Agreement (or equivalent written agreement) has been negotiated and accepted by the Office of Global Engagement and Partnerships in conjunction with the Faculty workplace learning provider, utilising the services of the University’s Legal Services pursuant to the Legal Policy as outlined above.

Misconduct

(40) Any instances of misconduct of students on workplace learning placement will be dealt with in compliance with the Student Misconduct Rule 2018 and the workplace learning clause in the Academic Progress Policy may also apply.

Complaints

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

(42) 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 Complaints Procedure - Students.

(43) Complaints that are substantiated about a workplace should be considered when assessing the ongoing suitability of that workplace for student placements.

Records Management

(44) Records of student checks, signed Workplace Learning Agreements, Workplace Learning Supervisor reports and placement hours for course accreditation requirements should be managed, archived and disposed according to the Records Management PolicyTRIM Access and Security Policy, and the State Records Act 1998 No 17.

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

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.