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Course Design and Delivery procedure

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The future version of this Procedure can be found in the ‘Future Versions’ tab and is effective from 9 July 2018.

Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Procedure is effective from 4 December 2017.

(2) This Procedure includes the following schedules:

  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
  4. Schedule D: Learning experiences at Deakin.
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Section 2 - Purpose

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

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Section 3 - Scope

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

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Section 4 - Policy

(5) This Procedure is pursuant to the Higher Education Courses policy.

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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) For units delivered across multiple campuses and/or student periods, the responsibilities of the Unit Chair may be distributed among appropriately qualified staff teaching in the unit providing overall responsibility remains with the nominated Unit Chair.

(10) Casual Academic 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. Casual Academic staff who teach for at least one teaching period within an Academic Year will have access to learning and development activities in accordance with the Staff Development policy.

(11) 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

(12) 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 (HDR) 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.

(13) 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 and sequence, including:
    1. required and elective units that comprise the course
    2. majors, minors or specialisations
  4. location of delivery (including online)
  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 site or online
  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.

(14) Bachelor Degrees will include:

  1. a maximum of 10 credit points at level 1
  2. for a three-year course, a minimum of 6 credit points at level 3
  3. for a four-year course, a minimum of 10 credit points at level 3 or 4.
[This requirement was approved on 21 November 2017 and will be progressively implemented through new course approvals and revisions. All Bachelor Degrees must comply with this requirement by 31 December 2020.]

(15) 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.

(16) All courses include compulsory learning experiences for students to develop an understanding of the principles of academic and (where relevant) research integrity and how to apply them to their learning and assessment. This will include academic integrity training at the beginning of the first year of the course and further development in later years (in accordance with the Student Academic Integrity procedure).

(17) 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.

(18) 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.

(19) 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.


(20) Courses include units that are either required or elective. To graduate students must successfully complete all required units and any specified electives for their course. Elective units may be chosen from:

  1. all units offered by the University (open elective), or
  2. a selection of units specified as part of the course structure (course elective).

(21) 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.

(22) 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 not be credit bearing)
  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 learning activities
  10. any requirements to attend a physical location for course-related activities (including by cloud students at examinations and intensive sessions)
  11. teaching and learning resources
  12. any equipment requirements in addition to standard University requirements (including computing and connectivity requirements).

(23) 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.

(24) 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

(25) 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 Degree (Coursework) specialisation 4-8

(26) Where possible courses should be designed to enable students to complete a coherent secondary sequence of study in addition to their primary field of study, including a sequence from another faculty.

(27) 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

(28) 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

(29) 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.

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

Masters Degrees (Coursework)

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

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

  1. have at least one nested Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma as an entry and/or exit point, where required units of nested courses:
    1. are required 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 a related discipline area
  3. have at least two possible entry points each year.

(33) All Masters Degrees (Coursework) include some form of learning activity that develops knowledge of research methods and principles appropriate to the discipline, field of work or professional practice. Such a learning activity would typically include a research-based project, capstone experience and/or a piece of scholarship.

(34) 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

(35) 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 Prior Learning policy. They may include courses at different levels of the Australian Qualifications Framework.

Variations to course requirements

(36) Variations to course requirements for individual students may only be made in exceptional circumstances where approved by the Faculty Executive Dean (or nominated Associate/Deputy Dean) in consultation with the Course Director. Decisions must take into consideration professional accreditation requirements.

Course Delivery

Language of delivery

(37) 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.

Campus of delivery

(38) Courses and units may be delivered at physical campuses or other physical sites or at the Cloud Campus (where approved under the Higher Education Courses Approval and Review procedure) as follows:

Physical campus The course is delivered through onsite learning experiences at a Deakin campus or other physical site. Students will also have access to online learning resources and experiences.
Cloud Campus All units in the course are delivered online. Students may be required to attend a designated physical site for some assessment and learning tasks.

(39) Students enrol in a course at an approved physical campus or site or at the Cloud Campus in accordance with the Admission Process, Enrolment, Fees and Charges procedure. Students enrolled at a physical campus or site may elect to study individual units online. Students enrolled at the Cloud Campus may elect to study individual units at a physical campus or site.  

(40) For the purposes of compliance with the requirements of the National Code under the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000, students studying in Australia on student visas must be able to undertake at least two thirds of the units in their course onsite and at least one unit onsite in any compulsory study period, except where the student is undertaking the final unit of their course. Study plans will be developed for each of these students to ensure that they can meet their visa requirements and complete within the expected duration.

(41) For the purposes of calculating the percentage of units delivered onsite or online, units are classified according to their dominant mode of delivery as follows:

Onsite delivery More than half of scheduled learning experiences are at a physical campus or other 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). Students will also have access to online learning resources and experiences.
Online delivery More than half of the scheduled learning experiences entail 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.

Learning environments and experiences

(42) 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.

(43) Optimal use is made of online or onsite learning experiences to support student achievement of learning outcomes.

(44) Terms used to describe learning experiences at Deakin are specified in Schedule D: Learning experiences at Deakin.

(45) Onsite learning experiences may be conducted regularly throughout a trimester or as an extended intensive session that may require overnight attendance (‘residential’).

(46) Where possible, learning experiences should use resources available within the University. Students may be required to purchase specialised equipment, software or other resources providing they are informed about these additional costs before enrolment in the course or elective unit and the resources will be useful for professional practice.

(47) Units are designed and delivered in accordance with standards specified in Schedule C: Minimum standards for unit sites.

(48) An equitable opportunity to participate in timetabled learning experiences is provided regardless of whether the learning experience is delivered onsite or online.

(49) Onsite and online 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.

(50) 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.

(51) Research conducted in a Bachelor Honours Degree or Coursework Unit is delivered in accordance with the Research in Honours and Coursework Units procedure.

Third party arrangements

(52) 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

(53) Faculties are responsible for implementing quality assurance processes to ensure that information for prospective and current students about courses, units and other course components (e.g. professional practice credentials) meets the standards specified in the Student Communication and Information policy.

(54) Information that must be included in the University Handbook, the University’s public website, unit guides, and course and unit sites is specified below.

(55) Faculties will communicate changes to course and unit information to current or prospective students as soon as possible to ensure students have accurate and timely information for decision-making.

University Handbook

(56) Faculties will publish in the University Handbook and on the University’s public website information for prospective and current students about courses and units as follows:

  1. courses
    1. course specifications as set out in clause 13
    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 22 (with the exception of teaching and learning resources)
    2. name of the Unit Chair.

Unit Guides

(57) 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

(58) 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).

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Section 6 - Definitions

(59) For the purposes of this Procedure:

  1. Academic Unit: as defined in the Research Conduct policy.
  2. AQF: Australian Qualifications Framework.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. faculty: includes any institute that is approved under University Regulations to offer courses.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. nested course: a course that is completely a subset of another course at a higher level of the AQF.
  11. 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.
  12. research-related study: study about research rather than the conduct of research itself, such as a study of analytical techniques or experimental methods.
  13. research unit: a unit that requires a student to plan and conduct a piece of research with some independence.
  14. 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.
  15. 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).
  16. unit: a component of a course having a discrete designated code and title in which students enrol and complete specific work requirements.
  17. University Handbook: the official University publication containing details of courses, units and related information.