Subject Outlines Policy

Policy Learning and Teaching Subject Outlines Policy

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This policy specifies all required elements for inclusion in a Subject Outline.


Subject Outlines for all undergraduate and postgraduate coursework subjects.


Definition of terms used in this policy reflect those in the Glossary   of Terms for Policies in the ‘Student’ and ‘Teaching and Course Management’ chapters of the Policy Library.

Policy and Procedures

1. Overview

a. The Subject Outline is a critical resource for students, detailing the subject description and learning outcomes, consultation and contact details, graduate attributes, learning resources, how performance in the subject will be assessed and other general assessment expectations and penalties.

b. The timely provision of a Subject Outline to students, the regular revision of the Subject Outline, and the monitoring of teaching and assessment against the Subject Outline are viewed as key teaching quality assurance measures.

c. Divisions and Colleges are not precluded from including other relevant items in the Subject Outline.

d. The Subject Outline may be incorporated into a more detailed Study Guide, but each core section that would be contained in a subject outline must be identified clearly within the Study Guide.

Instances where it may be appropriate to integrate the subject outline into a detailed study guide include (but may not be limited to):

  1. Honours programs.

  2. Chained subjects that are interrelated and require sequential enrolment.

e. College Deans are responsible for:

  1. ensuring that Subject Outlines are archived in the School at the time the outlines are distributed to students.

  2. ensuring that the Subject Outline consistently and accurately reflects the description of the subject contained  in the Coursework Subjects Data Base (CSDB).

  3. The subject coordinator will include in the subject outline, changes made to the subject in response to Student Experiences of Learning and Teaching (SELT) feedback provided by previous cohort.

2. Prescribed elements for inclusion in the Subject Outline

The Subject Outline will include, but will not necessarily be limited to, details about the subject itemised below.

a. General subject information

i. Subject code and title in full.

ii. Name of the Subject Coordinator/s, Division and College. Year and study period/trimester of offer, campus and mode of offer.

iii. Name/s of Lecturer/s and Tutor/s.

iv. Consultation times, telephone numbers, room numbers and email contact addresses of Subject Co-ordinator/s, Lecturer/s and Tutor/s.

v. Subject description, as reflected in the CSDB.

vi. Learning outcomes.

vii. Reference to the authoritative source of information for the lecture timetable and, if appropriate, where further information relating to the timetable may be found, such as tutorial and laboratory classes.

viii. The amount of time to be spent on the subject each week. For example, a three credit point subject generally assumes 10 - 12 hours per week including class attendance.

ix. Notice that students in a course who require special arrangements or consideration because of a disability, injury or illness should contact the current University disability service, for example, Access  Ability Services.

x. The inherent requirements for that course (as is appropriate for the subject), such as may be included in the pre-enrolment checklist or other discipline or college’s students’ handbook.

xi. Reinforce inherent requirements for that discipline, such as a new students’ handbook.

xii. Key dates. For example, census dates for the Study Period and due dates for assessment.

b. Learning resources

i.  A list of texts, readings and online and electronic resources using the appropriate referencing style for the discipline or area of study. Teaching staff may later supplement this list with additional resources as is appropriate.

ii.  Any additional  resources  that need to be purchased, including cost where practical.

c. Assessment

i. The types of assessment to be used.

ii. The specific graduate attributes to be developed in the subject.

iii. The weighting given to each component of the assessment in determining the final result.

iv. The assessment components for which it is a requirement to pass or perform satisfactorily in order to gain a pass for the subject are identified clearly.

v. The principle by which raw marks gained in part or all of the assessment will be modified or (for example multi-assessor or final subject result moderation).

vi. The statement: “No individual results on pieces of assessment should be taken as an indication of a final grade”.

vii. Whether there are any minimum attendance requirements. Where attendance at specified classes is to be a mandatory requirement for satisfactory   completion of a subject, this must be stated in the Subject Outline. In such cases accurate attendance records must be kept. Attendance alone must not be a component of graded assessment in any subject.

viii. Whether contributions to tutorials or seminars are taken into account and the criteria for assessment of such contributions.

ix. Criteria for standards of achievement for marking assessment items be included, well aligned to learning outcomes.  If examinations are a form of assessment, then details of the relevant learning outcomes should be detailed as part of the subject outline. Criteria for standards of achievement for exams are to be made available to students as requested as part of the Review of Assessment and Student Access to Scripts and such standards can be included in the outline at the discretion of the subject coordinator.

x. Procedures for working in groups, if applicable

xi. Other details of assessment components deemed necessary by the subject coordinator for successful completion of the assessment item.

xii. Dates for submission of material for assessment and the details of any penalties applied for late submission. A uniform formula of escalating penalties should be imposed by all Colleges and Disciplines for submission of assessment items after the date specified in the Subject Outline. This formula should be 5% of the total mark available per day including part-days, weekends and public holidays. Discretion in imposing penalties is retained by supervisors in cases of genuine need. This penalty must be clearly outlined in the Subject Outline.

xiii. Procedures for secure submission of material for assessment, including procedures for electronic submission through the Learning Management System (LearnJCU), and how assessed materials will be returned.  Colleges must provide a secure system (including via LearnJCU) for submission and return of work to safeguard against plagiarism and claims of non-receipt and non-return.

xiv. Details regarding cover sheets and receipts where these are used.

xv. Other than in exceptional circumstances, assessment items as specified in the Subject Outline, must not be changed without negotiation with students. Timely written notification of assessment changes will be communicated to all students by the Subject Co-ordinator. Amendments must be approved by the relevant College Dean..

d. Policies and guidelines

i. Guidance regarding the University and College requirements for appropriate acknowledgment of other’s academic work, including acceptable referencing style, source acknowledgment and avoidance of plagiarism.  Provide reference to the extended statement in the plagiarism policy and links to learning resources available to avoid plagiarism

ii. The web address for the following policies:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment Policy

Student Academic Misconduct Requirements

Special Consideration, Supplementary, Deferred and Special Examination Requirements

Review of Assessment and Student Access to Scripts and Materials

iii. Any Division, College or Discipline specific protocols that relate to any aspect of the subject.

3. Availability to students

The Subject Outline is to be made available on the Learning Management System (LearnJCU) seven calendar days prior to the commencement date of the prescribed study period.

4. Currency

The date the Subject Outline was last revised should be included in the Subject Outline. Students should be alerted to the nature of any significant changes to the Subject Outline.

Related documents, legislation or JCU Statutes

Avoiding Plagiarism- JCU

Learning, Teaching and Assessment Policy

Review of   Assessment and Student Access to Scripts and Materials

Honours Assessment and Postgraduate Coursework Awards Policy

Subject   Outline Guide

Student Charter

Blended Learning Policy

Standard for Blended Learning and Subject Design


Approval Details

Policy Sponsor:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic

Approval Authority:

Academic Board

Approval date:


Version no:


Date for next review:


Revision History


Revision date

Description of changes




Roles amended to reflect organisation re-structure

Policy Officer


Approval date





Amendments approved by Academic Board (3/12); Implementation: 05/07/2012




Implementation: 07/12/2007



Subject outline, assessment

There are no related procedures.

There are no other related documents.