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Higher Education Courses policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Policy is effective from 12 October 2022.

(2) This Policy is pursuant to the Deakin University StatuteAcademic Board Regulations and Vice-Chancellor Regulations  and includes:

  1. Schedule A: Higher Education Award Courses; and
  2. the Deakin Curriculum Framework set out in Section 6.
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Section 2 - Purpose

(3) This Policy governs the design, development, approval and review of the University's higher education award and non-award courses.

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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This Policy applies to higher education award courses and non-award offerings offered by the University.

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Section 4 - Policy

(5) The Academic Board will maintain a Register of Academic Awards, Courses and Credentials in accordance with regulation 11 of the Academic Board Regulations. The University offers courses leading to Higher Education awards of the University listed in Schedule A: Higher Education Award Courses.

(6) The University may also offer units, micro-units or modules that do not lead to an award of the University.

(7) The University ensures that the courses it offers (including joint or dual courses offered with a partner institution):

  1. maintain appropriate academic standards
  2. are consistent with the objects in the Deakin University Act 2009 (Vic)
  3. are consistent with external legislation, including the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021, Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (Cth) and the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (Cth)
  4. advance the achievement of the University's mission and core commitments as set out in its Strategic Plan
  5. in the case of coursework programs, are designed with reference to the Deakin Curriculum Framework (refer section 6) that specifies Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes and the principles that guide assessment, learning experiences and course enhancement
  6. in the case of higher degrees by research, are consistent with the requirements of the Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) policy and associated procedures
  7. clearly articulates outcomes and standards and are relevant to graduate destinations and are aligned with the Australian Qualifications Framework and relevant professional standards
  8. are regularly evaluated and continually improved by evidence-based review.

(8) In accordance with Part 4 – Accreditation and Course Requirements of the Academic Board Regulations, the Academic Board sets standards, policies and procedures that govern:

  1. the design and delivery of courses
  2. the approval and review of courses
  3. assessment in courses
  4. the conferral of awards.


(9) The Academic Board is responsible to University Council for:

  1. the approval of academic proposals for new higher education award courses or revisions to existing courses that affect academic standards
  2. quality assurance of courses and assessment and for ensuring compliance with relevant legislation, external standards and internal academic requirements.

(10) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic is responsible for managing course approval and review processes to assure compliance with legislation, external standards (including the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021) and internal policy requirements.

(11) Faculties are responsible for:

  1. developing proposals for new higher education award courses or revisions to existing courses
  2. establishing an Advisory Board for each coursework program to provide advice on the development of that course and its continued appropriateness and relevance in accordance with clauses 13 to 17
  3. conducting course and unit reviews in accordance with the Higher Education Courses Approval and Review procedure (as part of the University's approach to continuous quality improvement) and at the request of the Academic Board or the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic
  4. facilitating reviews by professional accreditation bodies as required
  5. appointing course directors and course and unit teams to develop and review coursework programs in accordance with the Curriculum Design and Delivery procedure
  6. appointing assessment panels to ensure the quality of assessment in accordance with the Assessment (Higher Education Courses) procedure.

(12) The responsibilities of Faculty Boards in assuring the quality of teaching, learning and research training in courses are specified in relevant procedures.

Advisory Boards – terms of reference and composition

(13) Course Advisory Boards are established by Faculty Boards during the planning stage for each higher education award course and remain operative while the course is offered. Where appropriate, Faculties may establish Course Advisory Boards at discipline or sub-course levels. A single Board may operate in relation to more than one related course or discipline.

(14) Course Advisory Boards meet at least twice a year and provide a report to Faculty Board at least annually.

(15) Members are appointed to Course Advisory Boards by the Faculty Board on the advice of the Faculty Executive Dean. The term of appointment of members is three years, with one year for students, all of which is renewable for further terms.

Composition of Advisory Boards

(16) The membership of an Advisory Board is:

  1. at least three external representatives of the relevant industry, including the Chair. As a matter of priority, these should include employers providing internships and/or recruiting Deakin graduates. Representatives should have intimate knowledge of the employment market and graduate employability
  2. a graduate of the course
  3. the Faculty Executive Dean and/or Head of School/Department
  4. a course or discipline coordinator
  5. at least one student enrolled in the course or discipline.
Other staff of the School/Department or Faculty may be invited to attend as observers.

Terms of Reference of Advisory Boards

(17) The terms of reference of the Advisory Board are:

  1. to provide advice to the Faculty Board on all aspects of a course or discipline offered, including:
    1. the skills, knowledge and attributes sought by the employers of graduates from the course or the discipline opportunities for the provision of full fee-paying programs both within Australia and overseas
    2. potential areas for the development of new courses
    3. areas of potential and opportunities for improvement of the courses or disciplines offered by the Faculty, including, where appropriate, plans for online and flexible delivery of courses or disciplines
    4. areas for potential applied and collaborative research, industry links and placements, and consultancy opportunities.
  2. to make recommendations to the Faculty Board regarding new higher education award courses and combined courses
  3. to assist with the panel that undertakes major course reviews in accordance with the Higher Education Courses Approval and Review procedure, in particular with relation to employment and recruitment trends and the employability of Deakin graduates
  4. to provide advice on any other matters the Faculty Board deems appropriate.
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Section 5 - Procedure

(18) The following procedures document how to comply with this Policy:

  1. Academic Awards procedure
  2. Assessment (Higher Education Courses) procedure
  3. Curriculum Design and Delivery procedure
  4. Higher Education Courses Approval and Review procedure
  5. Posthumous Awards procedure.
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Section 6 - Deakin Curriculum Framework

(19) Deakin courses, underpinned by research, theory and evidence, are designed and continually enhanced to enable all students to create and curate evidence of their learning. Deakin courses are delivered through engaging learning and assessment experiences in online or on a campus, or external site; and produce graduate employability and engaged citizenship. Employability means that students and graduates can discern, acquire, adapt and continually enhance the skills and attributes that make them more likely to find and create meaningful paid and unpaid work that benefits themselves, the workforce, and the community.

(20) Deakin’s Curriculum Framework supports these aspirations through Deakin’s Graduate Outcomes, and Deakin’s design principles and practices.

(21) Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes describe the knowledge and capabilities graduates demonstrate at the completion of their course:

  Graduate Learning Outcome
GLO1 Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities: appropriate to the level of study related to a discipline or profession
GLO2 Communication: using oral, written and interpersonal communication to inform, motivate and effect change
GLO3 Digital literacy: using technologies to find, use and disseminate information
GLO4 Critical thinking: evaluating information using critical and analytical thinking and judgment
GLO5 Problem solving: creating solutions to authentic, real world and ill-defined problems
GLO6 Self-management: working and learning independently, and taking responsibility for personal actions
GLO7 Teamwork: working and learning with others from different disciplines and backgrounds
GLO8 Global citizenship: engaging ethically and productively in the professional context, and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as well as diverse communities and cultures in a global context.
[On 23 September 2020 the Academic Board approved the extension for compliance to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within this Graduate Learning Outcome. All coursework programs must comply with this requirement by 31 December 2022.]

(22) These outcomes are specified at the course level, contextualised to the discipline, assessed against clearly articulated standards throughout the course and warranted by the qualification.

(23) All course learning outcomes are assessed and evidenced by the end of the course; assessment is reliable and valid, incorporating self-assessment and peer assessment where appropriate.

(24) Evidence includes qualitative judgements and quantitative measures. Graduate performance in professional settings is multilayered and complex, and evidence of success is best captured from multiple perspectives in a range of tasks over time.

(25) Learning experiences at Deakin are purposefully designed to harness digital, physical and human connections. Learning experiences aim to build learning communities that support students to develop the knowledge, skills and capabilities they need to be lifelong learners who thrive and make a difference in a rapidly changing world.  Learning experiences include all learning, teaching, assessment and feedback practices. Learning experiences are created using Deakin’s design principles and practices.  

(26) Learning experiences at Deakin are created using the following design principles. Learning experiences are:

  1. Holistic: They build on and connect to students’ existing knowledges and skills; they foster wellbeing, self-determination and the development of capabilities that transform learners into graduates who can achieve their goals.
  2. Feedback focused: They are underpinned by feedback designed to support students to achieve and evidence learning outcomes; feedback fosters dialogue that enables students to see their learning progress and make evaluative judgements.  
  3. Inclusive:  They are inclusive, accessible and equitable; providing flexibility and choice in mode of study that is balanced with structure to support the development of a learning community. 
  4. Authentic: They are reflective of our digitised lives and world of work; students use ideas, theories and tools relevant to contemporary contexts to solve meaningful problems and make an impact in a rapidly changing world.
  5. Integrated: They are tailored to the discipline and study mode; digital and physical affordances complement each other and are sequenced across time, space and place to form an integrated whole that prepares students for the contemporary world.
  6. Digital: They are digital by design; digital technologies are leveraged as core design elements to enable access and participation, and support student success.
  7. Course-wide: They are designed to be constructively aligned and coherent across a course; a narrative clearly articulates the relationship between activities, assessment and outcomes to support student journeys from transition to graduation.
  8. Active and Collaborative: They are interactive, active and collaborative; students develop skills and knowledge through application activities that support the achievement of learning outcomes.
  9. Relational: They promote relationships, connecting students to their discipline, others, space and place, strengthening communities and fostering belonging.              

(27) Learning experiences at Deakin are designed and delivered using the following practices:

  1. Quality: Staff are key to student success; we build teaching capability to deliver high-quality contemporary learning experiences.
  2. Scholarship: Staff engage in scholarly teaching through reflecting on experiences, using evidence and theory to inform teaching practice and innovation, and through sharing practice. 
  3. Collaboration: Learning experiences are designed by multidisciplinary collaborative teaching teams that combine subject matter expertise with expertise in learning design and delivery, student support and resource production.  
  4. Partnership: We work in partnership with students, alumni, industry and community to co-create meaningful learning experiences. 
  5. Sustainability: Learning resources, assessment and teaching practices are sustainable; they are systematically reviewed, updated, and improved to maintain currency and manageability within appropriate workloads. 
  6. Innovation: Staff are enabled through a culture of innovation that is celebrated and built on to enhance Deakin’s reputation as leaders in digital education.  
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Section 7 - Definitions

(28) For the purpose of this Policy:

  1. Accreditation: means the process for approval or accreditation or re-approval or re-accreditation by Academic Board of a program of study leading to an academic award, as defined in the Academic Board Regulations.
  2. Award: means a qualification that is conferred on completion of a University accredited course, as defined in the Deakin University Statute.
  3. Combined course: a course of study leading to not more than two awards of the University in accordance with Regulation 17 - Combined Courses, Dual Courses and Joint Courses of the Academic Board Regulations.
  4. Course: means a program of study that leads to a degree, vocational education and training product or other award, as defined in the Academic Board Regulations.
  5. Coursework: means studies undertaken for any undergraduate or postgraduate degree or other award but does not include studies undertaken in satisfaction of a requirement to submit a thesis for a Higher Degree by Research, as defined in the Academic Board Regulations.
  6. Dual Course: an approved combination of one or more courses developed collaboratively with a higher education provider in Australia or overseas, leading to the separate conferral of an academic award by Deakin University and the partner provider, the components of dual courses being typically designed and delivered separately by the two providers in accordance with regulation 17 of the Academic Board Regulations.
  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 single course arranged and delivered jointly by the University in conjunction with one or more higher education providers in Australia or overseas, leading to the conferral of a single academic award that is typically conferred jointly by the providers involved in accordance with regulation 17 of the  Academic Board Regulations.
  9. Microcredential: an award made on completion of a micro-unit that warrants achievement of clearly articulated learning outcomes that is not sufficient, in itself, to lead to the award of a macro-credential.
  10. Micro-unit: a type of unit with clearly articulated learning outcomes which are assessed and that leads to the award of a microcredential.
  11. Non-award offering: a course, unit, (excluding micro-units) or module, offered by Deakin University that does not lead to an award of the University.
  12. Unit: means a component of a program of study having a discrete designated code and title in which students enrol and complete specific requirements, as defined in the Academic Board Regulations.