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Policy Comprehensive Course Review Procedure

Comprehensive Course Review Procedure


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Intent

This procedure provides the structure and process for the comprehensive review of all coursework delivered at JCU and are framed under the following principles:

  • All JCU academic courses of study leading to an award are required to comply with TEQSA and AQF requirements.
  • All JCU courses of study are required to participate in the university’s course and subject quality review cycles, including but not limited to:
    • Annual course review  (Course Performance Reporting); and
    • Internal review every 5-7 years (Comprehensive Course Review, including those courses subject to Professional Accreditation)
  • Divisions are responsible to ensure all comprehensive course review requirements (internal and external) are met.  Division governance responsibility rests with the Division Board of Study.
  • Comprehensive course reviews will be discipline focused across all AQF levels.

Scope

These procedures apply to all staff engaged in coursework courses leading to an award at all JCU campuses.  Course approval activities are excluded from this procedure.

Definitions

Unless specified otherwise, the meaning of terms used in this procedure are defined in the Policy Glossary.

Procedure

Introduction

JCU is committed to conducting systematic reviews of course quality for all academic programs. The purpose of course reviews is to:

  • Ensure the academic quality of JCU’s programs are of the highest calibre possible;
  • Assure the university’s sustainability as a tertiary education provider; and
  • Meet the requirements under the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021.

All coursework courses will be reviewed as part of the University’s commitment to quality enhancement. Reviews will consist of either:

Annual Course Performance Review. The regular review of course performance which is used to inform quality improvement activities. Courses to be reviewed will be determined each year. Known as Course Performance Reporting.

Comprehensive Course Review. Cyclical comprehensive course review to review each course’s quality and improvement activities, ‘fit’ and contribution to the university.  Occurs at least every 7 years.

1. Comprehensive Course Review

1.1  A comprehensive course review must be conducted on all courses of study or groups of associated courses at least once every 7 years for the purposes of renewal (i.e. internal re-accreditation).

1.2 Comprehensive Course Reviews are undertaken with reference to a set of Academic Course Review Quality Indicators. See Attachment 1.

1.3 The ‘First Pass’ Course Assessment is calculated using a sub-set of the Academic Course Review Quality Indicators. This assessment is populated on Cognos by Planning, Performance and Analytics, with review and approval by the relevant Division.

1.4 The courses and Approved Associated Courses (AAC) as determined in the most recent annual course review cycle will be used to determine which courses will be profiled and whether they will be grouped.  This structure can be adjusted by Directors of Academic Quality and Strategy as required.

1.5 The resulting First Pass Assessment will inform the priority and type of course review to be undertaken by each course.  The final selection of type of review activity and the timing will be determined by the Directors of Academic Quality and Strategy.

1.6 Where a course is to be discontinued a review is recommended to inform future program development. This is not mandatory.

1.7 Whilst all courses will participate in the Comprehensive Course Review process, those courses externally accredited shall be reviewed on the basis of any gaps between external accreditation requirements and the Quality Indicators.

1.8 There are three types of Comprehensive course reviews (See Table 1):

  • Desktop Review (Low Risk)
  • Panel Interview (Moderate Risk)
  • Panel Visit (High Risk)

1.9 Courses undertaking a Comprehensive course review are not required to also undertake the annual Course Performance Reporting process that falls within a 12 month window following the Comprehensive Course Review process. However, they will be required to do a report on recommendations from the Comprehensive Course Review.

1.10 New courses (first year offered ≤ 3 years) are not required to participate in the Comprehensive Course Review process. New courses will participate in a Course Sustainability Review.

1.11 Recommendations from Comprehensive Course Reviews can lead to further/other review processes.

2. ‘First Pass’ Course Assessment

2.1 The initial ‘first pass’ is an annual activity undertaken in consultation with Divisions responsible for oversight of individual courses.

2.2 The ‘first pass’ methodology reviews Quality Indicators which have readily available data, being QI 1, 2a, 2b, 3, 4, 5a, 5b, ,6 ,7a, 7b.  The First Pass Assessment provides a profile of the academic course.

2.3 First Pass Assessment results in an initial allocation of review type for each academic course, being:

Review Type

Risk Assessment

First Pass Assessment result

Desktop Review

Low Risk

  1. - 15

Panel Interview

Moderate Risk

  1. - 20

Panel Visit

High Risk

  1. - 28

2.4 The initial Academic Course First Pass Assessment is reviewed and signed off by the respective Director of Academic Quality and Strategy. The results of this assessment will inform the priority and type of Comprehensive course review to be undertaken by each course.

2.5 The Director of Academic Quality and Strategy reserves the right to amend the result of the First Pass Assessment.

3. Review Activity Types

Table 1. Comprehensive Course Review Activity Types

Review activity

No Review

Desktop

Interview

Visit

Methodology notes

Course to be disestablished or new course (≤ 3 years)

Standard documentation + Simple Portfolio of Evidence is provided

Does not require visits or meetings

Standard documentation + Comprehensive Portfolio of Evidence is provided + 1-2 interviews

Standard documentation + Comprehensive Portfolio of Evidence + Panel visit (1-2 days)

Panel will include a minimum of one external member.

Comprehensive Course Review Application

Y

Y

Y

Completed First Pass Course Review report (Signed by DAQS)

Y

Y

Y

External accreditation report (most recent)

If applicable

If applicable

If applicable

Portfolio of evidence (Simple or Comprehensive)

 

S

C

C

Focussed meetings (1-2 meetings with academic staff)

 

Y

Y

On-site visit/Zoom by Panel to cover a comprehensive range of course matters

   

Y

3.1 Desktop Review

3.1.1 The Desktop Review is primarily intended for those courses that require further internal review of their academic quality. It may apply to some courses that undertake professional accreditation with external agencies.

3.1.2 A Desktop Review will require supporting evidence to address targeted/specific areas of review within the range of Quality Indicators that have been identified in the First Pass Assessment.  The additional evidence required will be identified by members of the Academic Course Review Committee.  The additional evidence forms the Simple Portfolio of Evidence.

3.1.3 Every review will result in a report (panel to reach consensus) to the Academic Course Review Committee who will then report to the Academic Board.

3.2 Panel Interview

3.2.1 Panel interviews will consist of the information sought in a Desktop Review plus additional information derived from 1-2 interviews with key academic staff. It does not require access to a greater range of stakeholders or resources and is intended to be administratively simpler than a full panel visit.

3.2.2 Panel interviews will be facilitated by the respective College or Division.  These will be held with members of the senior academic management team for the course. Education Division provides secretariat services to the Panel.

3.2.3 Any costs associated with the review is the responsibility of the College.

3.2.4 Panel interviews will be informed with sufficient evidence (portfolio) to enable informed recommendations. Some questions from the Panel will be provided to members of the senior academic management team prior to the interview.

3.2.5 Every review will result in a report (panel to reach consensus) to the Academic Course Review Committee who will then report to the Academic Board. The report will focus on the Academic Course Review Quality Indicators (Attachment 1).

3.3 Panel Visit

3.3.1 Panel visits will consist of the information sought in a Desktop Review plus additional information derived from a range of interviews ‘on site’ or via Zoom with academic, external and student stakeholders.

3.3.2 Visits by a Panel will be organised and facilitated by the respective College or Division.

3.3.3 Any costs associated with the review will be the responsibility of the College.

3.3.4 Review visits will be informed with sufficient evidence (portfolio) to enable informed recommendations.  This is a Comprehensive Portfolio of Evidence.

3.3.5 Every review will result in a report (panel to reach consensus) to the Academic Course Review Committee who will then report to the Academic Board. The report will focus on the Academic Course Review Quality Indicators (Attachment 1). Education Division provides secretariat services to the Panel.

4. Comprehensive Course Review Committee

4.1 Academic Board will convene a Committee consisting of:

  • Chair Academic Board
  • Deputy Vice Chancellor Students
  • Executive Officer (Operations), Office of the Provost
  • Directors of Academic Quality and Strategy – DTHM, DTES
  • Director, Planning, Performance & Analytics
  • The Secretariat will be provided by the Education Division

4.2 The Committee will meet at least annually.  Its role is to:

  • Develop and maintain a schedule of Comprehensive course review activities
  • Oversight of the implementation of Comprehensive course reviews
  • Determine the type of Comprehensive course review required for each course
  • Appoint Comprehensive Course Review Panel members including the Panel Chair.
  • Identify the scope including specific areas of investigation for each comprehensive course review.  These are determined on analysis of the ‘First Pass’ Assessment and the course’s application for renewal.

5. Comprehensive Course Review Panel composition

5.1 According to the schedule of Comprehensive course reviews, the Chair of the Academic Board will determine appropriate academic staff to undertake desktop reviews, panel interviews or panel visits.

  • Desktop Review Panels will comprise a team consisting of one academic staff member from another Academic Division, one Course Coordinator from the Academic Division but not the College and a member of the Academic Board. Academic Board member will chair Desktop Review and prepare report and recommendations.
  • Panel Interviews will comprise a team consisting of one academic from the other Academic Division and one Course Coordinator from the Academic Division but not the College, and a member from the Academic Board. The Academic Board member will chair Panel Interviews and prepare report and recommendations.
  • Panel Visits will comprise of one Course Coordinator from the Academic Division but not the College, the Director of Quality and Strategy from the Division, a member from the Academic Board and an external expert either from Alumni, industry or another institution (determined by College Dean and approved by Academic Course Quality Review Panel). The Academic Board member will chair Panel Visits, prepare report and recommendations

5.2    The Education Division will provide secretariat services to the Committee.

6. Comprehensive Course Review Reporting

6.1 The outcome of every Comprehensive course review will be a report to Academic Board with one clear recommendation to:

  • Renew the course of study without conditions; or
  • Renew the course of study with recommended (formative) improvements; or
  • Renew the course of study with required (summative) improvements (including a 12 month
  • and 24 month implementation plan); or
  • Suspend the course for a period of time (timeframe identified); or
  • Disestablish the course.

6.2 Any reports containing required (summative) conditions must include:

  • Definition of the matter generating the issue;
  • Specific actions to address the issue;
  • Timeframe for completion; and
  • Required outcome; and
  • Reporting to Divisional Board of Studies Meetings.

6.3 All reports resulting from Comprehensive course reviews will be provided to the Academic Board for consideration. Academic Board will determine:

  • The continuation or discontinuation of the course
  • Any conditions required for continuation
  • Approve the recommendation.

6.4 The decision to continue (renew) courses will be made by the appropriate delegate on recommendation of the Academic Course Review Committee.

7. Follow up reporting

7.1 All courses renewed under the Comprehensive Course Review process must:

  • Meet any summative conditions of renewal as required by Academic Board; and
  • Formally consider any formative improvements noted by Academic Board.
  • Action Plans/Follow-up/Report back to the Divisional Executive Committee (evidence of issues addressed) and Annual Reporting to Academic Board

8. Seven Year Comprehensive Course Review Cycle

8.1 The Schedule of Comprehensive Course Review is reviewed annually by the Directors Academic Quality and Strategy and the Academic Course Review Committee.

9. Roles and Responsibilities

9.1 Comprehensive Course Review

Activity

Role

Grouping of courses undertaken/review schedule

Director Academic Quality & Strategy

Co-ordinate schedule of reviews

Education Division

Develop and maintain a schedule of comprehensive review activities

Director Academic Quality & Strategy

Education Division

Approve schedule of reviews

Academic Board on recommendation of Academic Course Review Committee

Oversight of the implementation of Comprehensive course reviews

Academic Course Review Committee

Determine the type of Comprehensive course review required

Academic Course Review Committee

Appoint Course Review Panel members including Panel Chair

Chair Academic Board &

Academic Course Review Committee

Identify specific areas of investigation for each course review

Academic Course Review Committee

Custodianship of Comprehensive Course Review documentation

Education Division

Prepare audit response report and evidence *

Academy – Course Coordinators

*Where required for accreditation purposes, Academic Head has responsibility to oversee review

Undertake Comprehensive course review

Comprehensive Course Review Panel

Coordinate Review activities (i.e. audit, interviews, visits)

College in consultation with Education Division

Comprehensive Course Review Report Fact Checking

Academic Course Coordinator

Academic Head

Director Academic Quality & Strategy

Determine recommendation to Academic Board

Comprehensive Course Review Panel

Sign-off on Recommendation to Academic Board to Renew/ Suspend/ Disestablish Course

Academic Course Review Committee

Comprehensive Course Review Reporting to Academic Board

Education Division

Review recommendations and plan actions and reporting

Course Coordinator

Academic Head

Assure quality of academic courses

Divisional Board of Studies

Governance of institutional quality assurance

Academic Board

Related policy instruments

Curriculum Approval, Accreditation, Monitoring, Review and Improvement Policy

Curriculum Approval, Monitoring, Review and Improvement Procedure


Other related documents

Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021

List of Attachments

Attachment 1 – Comprehensive Course Review Quality Indicators

Administration

Approval Details

Policy Domain

Academic Management

Policy Sponsor

Provost

Approval Authority

Provost

Date for next review

18/02/2025

Revision History

Version

Approval date

Implementation date

Details

Author

22-118/02/202222/02/2022

Scheduled review of procedure and review of Quality Indicators for First Pass Assessment Report. Amendments to improve functionality

Procedure moved from Quality and Planning policy domain to Academic Management

Quality Standards Coordinator
19-129/03/201905/04/2019Scheduled review of procedure and review of Quality Indicators for First Pass Assessment Report. Minor amendments to improve functionality.Quality, Standards and Policy Officer

18-1

30/04/2018

31/05/2018

Scheduled review of procedure – minor amendments to improve functionality

Quality, Standards and Policy Officer

17-1

15/05/2017

17/05/2017

Procedure established

Manager, Quality, Standards and Policy

Key words:

quality, standards, performance review, TEQSA, AQF

Contact person:

Quality Standards Coordinator