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Student Communication and Information policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Policy is effective from 15 November 2022.

(2) This Policy includes the following schedule:

  1. Schedule A: Responsibilities for managing communication and information for current and prospective students.
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Section 2 - Purpose

(3) This Policy provides a framework for effective and timely communication and information between the University and current and prospective students to:

  1. ensure that their decision making is well informed
  2. increase their likelihood of success in learning and their future careers
  3. enhance their broader University experience.
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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This Policy applies to communication between the University and current and prospective students in relation to the provision of information about the University’s educational offerings and the student experience. This Policy does not:

  1. apply to the day-to-day communication that occurs between students and teaching teams (academic and professional staff) in the teaching and learning environment
  2. restrict the requirement for information to be conveyed rapidly to students in the interests of protecting health and safety.
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Section 4 - Policy

Purpose of communication

(5) The University will establish and maintain systems and processes to provide relevant information to current and prospective students to:

  1. assist them in making decisions about courses and units of study
  2. assist them in planning for and participating in educational and other activities
  3. inform them of their obligations and liabilities to the University
  4. facilitate access to academic and student-related policies and procedures, and requirements
  5. facilitate access to educational and personal services, support and resources
  6. assist in the resolution of complaints and appeals
  7. enhance their experience throughout the student journey
  8. engage them with University life, their support staff and academic staff, and each other to encourage, facilitate and foster student connection and engagement with the Deakin community
  9. facilitate their provision of feedback to the University on the quality of their educational and general student experience
  10. inform them of matters in relation to cybersecurity.

Communication standards

(6) Information for current and prospective students will:

  1. be accurate, relevant and timely
  2. be in plain English and accompanied by an explanation of any technical or specialised terms
  3. be derived directly from an authoritative source or linked to it if necessary
  4. avoid duplication and be streamlined across areas of the University
  5. be accessible, including to students with special needs
  6. be conveyed using effective and appropriate communication channels
  7. be consistent with the information and communication requirements in relevant legislation, including without limitation the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021, the National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Higher Education and Training to Overseas Students and the Spam Act 2003 (Cth).

(7) Where current and prospective students have been required to take action in response to a formal request from the University, their response will be tracked and acknowledged by the area initiating the request (as per business area processes).

Means of communication

(8) The primary mechanisms for communicating with current and prospective students are:

  1. for prospective students, the University’s public website
  2. for current students, the University’s approved online student portal (DeakinSync with its embedded information channels and communication functionality)
  3. for prospective students who have received an offer from Deakin to enrol into a course or unit of study, via email/VTAC process.

(9) Text messages to mobile devices will be used for engagement with current students where a student opts in to this service and to communicate critical or emergency information. 

(10) Phone calls and/or emails will be used to provide information to current and prospective students who have been individually and/or specifically identified as belonging to a targeted initiative (e.g. Priority Student Program, Marketing campaign follow up).

(11) Postal mail will be used to send information to current and prospective students where required by legislation or to send physical items.

(12) Specific policies may also require particular forms of communication with students that go beyond the general mechanisms identified in this Policy (e.g. Emergency Management).

(13) Where emerging technologies support the purpose of communication and communication standards, they may also be leveraged with the approval of the appropriate authorised officer.

Management of information for students

(14) The source and responsibilities for managing specific types of information that will be maintained and made available to current and prospective students are set out in Schedule A: Responsibilities for managing communication and information for current and prospective students.

(15) The area managing the information is responsible for:

  1. consulting with all relevant areas to determine the content and format of the information
  2. updating information by the date required and advising key stakeholders of any changes after the publication of the material
  3. monitoring the accuracy of the information and the effectiveness of its communication and making adjustments as necessary
  4. version control and retention where required, ensuring alignment with the University’s Information and Records Management policy
  5. consultation with Academic Governance and Standards to ensure the alignment of information with academic policies and procedures
  6. consultation with the Policy Office to ensure the alignment of information with administrative policies and procedures.

(16) The processes and responsibilities for managing information for current students in DeakinSync and on the University website for prospective students will be approved by the following members of the Executive on the advice of governance groups established by the Vice-Chancellor:

  1. DeakinSync – Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic
  2. University website – Executive Vice-President Futures.
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Section 5 - Procedure

(17) The Student Communication and Information procedure documents how to comply with this Policy.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(18) For the purpose of the Policy:

  1. information: a collection of data in any form which may be transmitted, manipulated and stored and to which meaning has been attributed. Information may include but is not limited to a/an:
    1. written document
    2. electronic document
    3. webpage
    4. email
    5. spread sheet
    6. photograph
    7. database
    8. drawing
    9. plan
    10. video
    11. audio recording
    12. label
    13. or anything whatsoever on which is marked any words, figures, letters or symbols which are capable of carrying a definite meaning to anyone.
  2. student: a person, including a candidate for a Higher Degree by Research, enrolled in a course or unit in the University pursuant to the Deakin University Act 2009 (Vic).
  3. student journey: the lifecycle of a student’s engagement with the University, from enquiring about study options or interests through application, enrolment, undertaking study and completion of unit and course requirements to the conferral of an award or credential.
  4. version control: A method of management for changes to documents, web sites or other collections of information using a number or letter code (e.g. 1.0, 1.1 2.0 etc.) to enable the viewing and/or reverting to a previous version.