View Current

Course Design and Delivery procedure

This is the current version of this document. To view historic versions, click the link in the document's navigation bar.

Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Procedure was approved by Academic Board on 19 July 2016 and incorporates all amendments to 30 May 2017.

(2) This Procedure is pursuant to the Higher Education Courses policy and incorporates:

  1. Schedule A: Academic Staff Qualifications and Equivalence Framework
  2. Schedule B: Minimum standards for course sites
  3. Schedule C: Minimum standards for unit sites.
Top of Page

Section 2 - Purpose

(3) This Procedure sets out the processes that apply to the development and delivery of courses.

Top of Page

Section 3 - Scope

(4) This Procedure applies to higher education award courses offered by the University.

Top of Page

Section 4 - Policy

(5) Refer to the Higher Education Courses policy.

Top of Page

Section 5 - Procedure

Roles and responsibilities for coursework programs

(6) Course teams are assigned by the head of academic unit (approved by the Faculty Board) for each course or group of courses to coordinate their design, ongoing development and review. Course teams comprise:

  1. at least four continuing or fixed-term (three years or more) academic staff members teaching components of the course, including representatives from each campus on which the course is offered and at least one active researcher
  2. other staff who support course design and delivery as appropriate.

(7) A Course Director is assigned by the head of academic unit (approved by the Faculty Board) as the leading academic member of each course team. Course Directors are responsible for ensuring that the requirements of the Higher Education Courses policy and associated procedures, and professional accreditation requirements are met.

(8) For each unit, a Unit Chair is assigned by the head of academic unit (approved by the Faculty Board) for each period of study that the unit is delivered. Unit Chairs are continuing or fixed term (three years or more) academic staff members and are responsible for coordinating the curriculum, teaching and assessment in a unit. In exceptional circumstances, the Executive Dean may temporarily assign another appropriately qualified staff member to carry out the responsibilities of a Unit Chair with appropriate guidance and support.

(9) Sessional staff or external specialists may be appointed to contribute to the design and/or delivery of courses or units under the guidance and supervision of Course Directors or Unit Chairs.

(10) Course Directors, Unit Chairs and other staff with responsibilities for academic oversight, teaching and assessment in a course or component of a course will have:

  1. appropriate qualifications or equivalent experience (assessed in accordance with the Academic Staff Qualifications and Equivalence Framework in Schedule A)
  2. skills in contemporary teaching, learning and assessment relevant to their role, the discipline, modes of delivery and the needs of particular student cohorts.

Course design

(11) Courses are designed in accordance with the:

  1. principles set out in the Higher Education Courses Policy (including the Deakin Curriculum Framework)
  2. requirements for design and delivery set out in this Procedure
  3. requirements of the Assessment (Higher Education Courses) procedure
  4. requirements of the Higher Degrees by Research Policy and procedures (where relevant)
  5. requirements of external accreditation bodies (where relevant)
  6. in the case of joint and dual courses, any additional principles or requirements agreed with partner institution/s in accordance with agreements approved under the Academic Partnerships procedure or Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Partnership procedure.

(12) The design for each course (including nested courses) includes the following specifications:

  1. award to be conferred on completion (named in accordance with the Academic Awards procedure)
  2. duration, including:
    1. years of full- and/or part-time study
    2. whether study is required in particular trimesters
    3. maximum period of study
  3. structure, including:
    1. core and elective units that comprise the course
    2. majors, minors or specialisations
  4. modes of delivery
  5. entry requirements and pathways
  6. expected learning outcomes (aligned to the AQF and professional or discipline standards where relevant)
  7. methods of assessment
  8. indicative student workload (typically 150 hours per credit point)
  9. requirements for participation in compulsory learning and other activities at a physical or cloud campus
  10. compulsory requirements for completion
  11. exit pathways and pathways to further learning
  12. for Bachelor Honours or postgraduate programs, the proportion and nature of research or research-related study in the course.

(13) Course specifications provide sufficient detail to allow a judgement to be made on the standing and quality of the course and allow prospective students to compare comparable offerings from different providers.

(14) All courses include compulsory learning experiences to develop in students an understanding of the principles of academic and (where relevant) research integrity and how to apply them to their learning and assessment.

(15) All Bachelor Degrees include opportunities for one or more of the following work-integrated learning experiences directed by the University:

  1. work placements (such as industry-based learning, internships and practicums)
  2. workplace audits
  3. field trips
  4. simulations
  5. studios
  6. complex labs and problem-based learning with industry partners
  7. industry input on student projects
  8. project work developed with or commissioned by industry
  9. other work-integrated learning experiences approved by the Faculty Board.

(16) Courses that are delivered on a trimester basis make use of the trimester system to enhance student flexibility in relation to study load and study duration. To shorten the duration of particular courses, study in all three trimesters may be required.

(17) Courses are structured to:

  1. build the academic skills of students in transition into the University learning environment
  2. scaffold progress towards the achievement of expected course learning outcomes
  3. monitor student progress, and
  4. manage learning workload.


(18) Courses include units that are either core or elective to at least one course.

(19) Each unit enables students to achieve clearly articulated learning outcomes that contribute to the achievement of the Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes and course learning outcomes.

(20) For each unit, the following are specified:

  1. a succinct name that clearly indicates the content to staff and students
  2. credit point value (typically one credit point, although larger integrated learning experiences may be worth two to four credit points and mandatory requirements, such as laboratory safety and academic integrity training, may be worth zero credit points)
  3. any unit pre-requisites, co-requisites or incompatibilities
  4. scope of content
  5. learning outcomes and their alignment to relevant Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes, course learning outcomes and assessment
  6. the assessment tasks for the unit including type, grading, weighting and hurdle requirements
  7. mode/s of delivery
  8. when and where the unit is offered
  9. learning experiences, including typical workload and timetabled classes and seminars
  10. any requirements to attend a physical location for course-related activities (including by cloud students at examinations and intensives)
  11. teaching and learning resources
  12. any equipment requirements in addition to standard University requirements (including computing and connectivity requirements).

(21) Units may be designated to identify their role in supporting student progress and achievement through the course and/or the nature of learning activities as follows:

  1. Role in supporting progress and achievement
    1. Foundation unit — to support student transition by building foundation knowledge and skills and providing an introduction to the field
    2. Milestone unit — to provide students with opportunities at key stages of the course to integrate their learning and reflect on evidence of their progress and career aspirations
    3. Capstone unit — to provide students with opportunities at the end of the course to integrate their learning, demonstrate achievement of course learning outcomes and reflect on their career aspirations
  2. Nature of learning activities
    1. Work-integrated learning unit (including placement units)
    2. Research unit
    3. Research-related study unit.

(22) The proportion of units of a course that are at the AQF level of the award that will be conferred may vary but must be sufficient to enable students to develop their knowledge, skills and application of knowledge and skills to enable them to achieve the course learning outcomes.

Majors, minors and specialisations

(23) Sequences of units that constitute majors, minors or specialisations may be included in one or more courses as follows:

Sequence Credit points
Bachelor Degree major 6-8, with at least 2 credit points in each of levels 2 and 3 of the course
Bachelor Degree minor 4
Masters by Coursework Degree specialisation 4-8

(24) Majors, minors and specialisations:

  1. form coherent sequences of study in a field of study
  2. recognise depth of learning in the field of study
  3. contribute to the achievement of course learning outcomes, and
  4. are assigned names that clearly indicate the field of study.

Professional practice courses

(25) Courses may require the attainment of Deakin Professional Practice Credentials that recognise achievement of learning through professional experience in accordance with the Deakin Micro-credentials policy. Courses that include the attainment of Deakin Professional Practice Credentials are designed in accordance with principles approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education.

Bachelor Honours Degrees

(26) A Bachelor Honours Degree may be:

  1. an independent course that students enter following completion of a Bachelor Degree in a related discipline ('end-on'), or
  2. integrated in a Bachelor Degree with:
    1. entry following completion of part of a related Bachelor Degree (typically two full-time years of study)
    2. entry directly into the Bachelor Honours Degree, with or without an option to exit with a related Bachelor Degree.

(27) All Bachelor Honours Degrees include project work and/or research and scholarship executed by students with some independence.

Masters by Coursework Degrees

(28) The duration of Masters by Coursework Degrees may vary depending on their entry requirements and purpose.

(29) Unless otherwise approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education, Masters by Coursework Degrees:

  1. have at least one nested Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma as an entry or exit point, where core units of nested courses:
    1. are core units of the associated Masters course and/or
    2. contribute to a specialisation in the Masters course
  2. in the case of 16 credit point Masters courses, enable guaranteed credit for four credit points where students enter with qualifications or experience in the same discipline area
  3. have at least two possible entry points each year.

(30) All Masters by Coursework Degrees (Coursework) and Masters Degrees(Extended) include research-related study (equivalent to at least one credit point) and independent research involving the planning and execution of a research-based project, capstone experience or piece/s of scholarship (equivalent to at least one credit point). Components of research and research-related study may be embedded across a number of units where student achievement is demonstrated in specific assessment tasks.

(31) Masters Degrees (Extended) include a significant proportion of practice-related learning developed in collaboration with a relevant professional, statutory or regulatory body.

Combined or dual degrees

(32) Combined or dual Bachelor and Masters by Coursework Degrees may be offered in different or related disciplines with reciprocal credit arrangements in accordance with the Credit For Learning policy. They may include courses at different levels of the Australian Qualifications Framework.

Course Delivery

Language of delivery

(33) All teaching, learning and assessment is in English unless:

  1. another language is used to develop or assess proficiency in that other language, or
  2. the use of another language is otherwise approved by the Academic Board.

Learning environments

(34) Courses are delivered within a learning environment that provides all students with equitable and consistent access to facilities, infrastructure, resources and support to assist student progress and achievement of learning outcomes.

(35) Courses make optimal use of learning opportunities at cloud and/or physical location/s to provide students with learning experiences that support their achievement of learning outcomes. Where a unit is delivered in physical campus mode, more than half of the scheduled learning experiences should be conducted face-to-face at a physical site. For this purpose, learning experiences include classes, seminars, regular consultations and supervised activities at a physical site (including placements, field trips, study tours and research activities).

(36) Students studying in Australia on student visas must be able to undertake at least 75% of their course in physical campus mode and take at least one unit in physical campus mode in any compulsory study period (in accordance with the requirements of the National Code under the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000). Study plans are developed for each of these students to ensure that they are able to meet their visa requirements and complete within the expected duration.

(37) Physical and cloud campus learning spaces are equipped with appropriate technology to enable student learning and support their achievement of course learning outcomes. The University adopts digital platforms, devices and/or tools to make student learning effective, engaging, efficient and accessible and this includes adhering to Digital Accessibility Guidelines.

(38) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education will publish annually, in a prominent position on the University's public website, information on the following requirements for effective study at the University:

  1. access to computer devices
  2. connectivity to the internet
  3. capability to use the University's online learning environment.

(39) Research conducted in a Bachelor Honours Degree or coursework unit is delivered in accordance with the Research in Honours and Coursework Units Procedure.

Timetabled learning experiences

(40) Timetabled learning experiences delivered at a cloud or physical campus are designated as either:

  1. class — a session where teaching staff engage students, often in large numbers, through presentations and other learning activities, or
  2. seminar — an interactive smaller group session.

(41) An equitable opportunity to participate in timetabled classes and seminars is provided regardless of whether the learning experience is delivered at a cloud or physical campus.

Third party arrangements

(42) Where courses, components of courses, learning resources or student support are delivered or provided by or with partner institutions, the University assures the quality of student experiences in accordance with the Academic Partnerships procedure, the Student Placement procedure or the Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Partnership procedure (as appropriate).

Communicating course information to students

University Handbook

(43) Faculties will publish in the University Handbook information for prospective and current students about courses and units as follows:

  1. courses
    1. course specifications as set out in clause 12
    2. recognition by relevant professional bodies
    3. pathways to employment and eligibility for registration to practice (where applicable)
    4. approval status of the course
    5. whether the award conferred upon completion is recognised in the AQF
    6. whether the course is authorised to be offered to international students studying on an Australian student visa
  2. units
    1. unit specifications as set out in clause 20 (with the exception of unit learning outcomes and teaching and learning resources)
    2. name of the Unit Chair.

Unit Guides

(44) Faculties will publish a Unit Guide for each study period in accordance with a template approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education or nominee. Unit Guides will be available to current students through the University's learning management system and will include the following information:

  1. unit learning outcomes and scope of content
  2. unit learning activities, including requirements for attendance at timetabled classes and seminars, and indicative workload
  3. unit assessment tasks including:
    1. clearly articulated assessment criteria for tasks that require the exercise of academic judgement
    2. alignment with the unit learning outcomes and Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes
    3. due dates and other requirements
    4. any provision for negotiation of assessment tasks (e.g. allowing students to nominate topics) and a clear statement of the negotiation process
    5. rules on submission, including extensions, penalties for late submission and final submission date
    6. any hurdle requirements
    7. the period of time within which feedback is provided on assessment
  4. support available to students
  5. improvements made to the unit in response to student feedback.

Course and unit sites

(45) Faculties maintain course and units sites in the University's learning management system that include information for students in accordance with minimum standards that are set annually (included in Schedule B: Minimum Standards for Course Sites and Schedule C: Minimum Standards for Unit Sites).

Top of Page

Section 6 - Definitions

(46) For the purposes of this Procedure:

  1. academic unit: includes a School, Department or Institute.
  2. AQF: Australian Qualifications Framework.
  3. cloud campus mode (course level): the dominant mode of delivery is online. There may be some scheduled learning experiences and students may be required to attend a designated physical site for some assessment and learning tasks.
  4. cloud campus mode (unit level): the dominant mode of delivery of the unit entails online learning resources and experiences; there may be some compulsory contact hours and students may be required to attend a designated physical site for some assessment and learning tasks.
  5. combined Course: approved combination of courses of the University that leads to the conferral of two awards in accordance with Regulation 5.2(2) - Higher Education Award Courses - General.
  6. dual course: an approved combination of courses developed collaboratively with a partner institution that leads to the conferral of two awards in accordance with Regulation 5.2(2) - Higher Education Award Courses - General.
  7. exit point: an early point of exit for students who choose not to complete the whole course in which they enrolled, and which provides an opportunity for students to exit with an award of a lower level if the student has met the requirements for that alternative award.
  8. faculty: includes any institute that is approved under University Regulations to offer courses.
  9. higher education award course: a course that leads to a higher education award of Deakin University including an award offered jointly with a partner institution.
  10. joint course: a course offered by Deakin with one or more higher education providers in Australia or overseas, leading to the conferral of a single award in accordance with Regulation 5.2(2) - Higher Education Award Courses - General.
  11. maximum period of study: the maximum period of time that may be taken by a student to complete a course of study in accordance with the Admission Process, Enrolment, Fees and Charges policy.
  12. nested course: a course that is completely a subset of another course at a higher level of the AQF.
  13. physical campus mode (course level): the dominant mode of delivery is through face-to-face learning experiences at a Deakin campus or other physical site. Students will also have access to online learning resources and experiences.
  14. physical campus mode (unit level): the dominant mode of delivery of the unit entails face-to-face learning experiences at a Deakin campus or other physical site; access to online learning resources and experiences may also be provided.
  15. research: the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies, inventions and understandings.
  16. research-related study: study about research rather than the conduct of research itself, such as a study of analytical techniques or experimental methods.
  17. research unit: a unit that requires a student to plan and conduct a piece of research with some independence.
  18. student workload: all teaching, learning and assessment activities that are required to be undertaken by the typical student to achieve the learning outcomes. These activities may include classes and seminars, self-paced learning, individual study, research, work-integrated learning experiences and assessment activities.
  19. unit: a component of a course having a discrete designated code and title in which students enrol and complete specific work requirements.
  20. university Handbook: the official University publication containing details of courses, units and related information
  21. work-integrated learning experience: includes any learning task or experience that is authentic (resembling what is expected of new graduates) and/or proximal (in relation to physical or digital workplaces, and professional contexts).