Course Approval, Change and Discontinuation - Procedures - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Course Approval, Change and Discontinuation - Procedures

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Approval authority
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Responsible Executive member
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Designated officer
Director, Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching
First approved
1 May 2015
Last amended
11 February 2021
Review date
4 September 2024
Status
Active
Related documents
Coursework Curriculum Design - Academic Policy
Coursework Curriculum Design - Procedures
Higher Degree by Research Program Accreditation - Academic Policy
Higher Degree by Research Program Accreditation - Procedures
Program Accreditation and Course Approval - Governing Policy
Program Accreditation, Change and Discontinuation - Procedures
Program Review - Procedures
Linked documents
Program Accreditation and Course Approval - Governing Policy
Superseded documents
Course Changes - Procedures|Course Discontinuation - Procedures|Course Approval - Procedures
Related legislation / standards
Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) Act 2011
Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015

Definitions

Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures.

USC CIR is the University’s curriculum information repository supported by the Curriculum Support Unit, CSALT.

Contents

Part A: Purpose, Timeframes and Scope of Application

Part B: Course approval

Part C: Course Changes

Part D: Course Discontinuation

Part E: Reporting

Appendix 1 – Course data

Part A: Purpose, Timeframes and Scope of Application

A1 Purpose of procedures

These procedures detail the steps that must be undertaken to approve a new course, change an existing course or discontinue a course at USC. They must be read in conjunction with the Program Accreditation and Course Approval – Governing Policy.

A2 Timelines

A2.1 Schools plan and progress all proposed new courses, course changes and course discontinuations to meet the University timeframes for approval as identified in the table below:

Course

Required Approval Date/s

New Course

Study Period 1 and 2 offering – approved by 31 August for the following academic year.

New course already approved as a Course Synopsis

Study Period 1 and 2 offering – approved by 31 August for the following academic year.

Change to Pre-enrolment data for existing courses

Approved by 31 August for all offerings in the following full academic year.

Change to other data fields for existing courses

Approved four weeks prior to commencement of the first offering of a course in the Study Period and the changes are effective for that full study period.

Discontinuation of an existing course

Approved by 31 August for implementation in the following academic year.

A3 Scope of application

If a new course is proposed either as part of the accreditation of a program or as part of changes to a program, approval of the course is by Program and Course Committee, regardless of the new program or the program changes requiring approval either by Program and Courses Committee or Academic Board.

Part B: Course approval

B1 New Course approval authority

Approval of a new course is the responsibility of the Program and Course Committee.

B2 Development of course

B2.1 The relevant School creates a course development team and they develop the course ensuring that:

(a) consultations are held with all parties:

(i) with relevant expertise, for example academic developers and curriculum support staff within the Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching (CSALT), Learning Advisors within Student Services and Engagement and Liaison Librarians; a school curriculum body;

(ii) with a legitimate interest in the proposed development, including for example other schools if the course is to be made available in a cross-school or double degree program, and professional and registration bodies;

(iii) for whom there may be resource or administrative implications with the proposed developments, including for example Information Technology Services, Information Services, and Student Services and Engagement.

(b) the course is designed and developed consistent with:

  • any applicable policies and procedures within the University, in particular the Coursework Curriculum Design – Academic Policy and related procedures
  • any standards for external recognition, registration or accreditation of any program in which the new course will be offered.

B3 Creation of a Course Entity in USC CIR

As the first stage in the development of a new course, the Academic Support Unit on direction from the school is required to contact the Curriculum Support Unit, CSALT to initiate the development of a course entity in USC CIR. On the basis of a limited set of data fields provided by the Course Development Team, an entity is created in USC CIR and the development of the course can commence.

B4 Approval documentation

B4.1 The Course Development Team documents the proposed new course by:

(a) completing the Course Proposal; and

(b) updating USC CIR with data relating to the proposed new course, including entry of the new file number from the University’s records management system.

B4.2 Course Proposal

The Course Proposal is a Word document used when the course is being proposed independently of a new program proposal or a change to an existing program. The proposal contains information relating to the rationale for the new course and a record of the consultation that has taken place during its development.

B4.3 Course Outline and Course Approval document

From the data entered into USC CIR, a Course Approval Document and a Course Outline are able to be generated. These documents are used to inform the approval bodies and to provide information to students, prospective students, the University community and the public concerning the course.

B4.4 Resource Impact Statement

Resource Impact Statement details the IT resource needs or other equipment requirements, and implications of the proposed course for provision of support by Information Technology and the Academic Support Unit.

B4.5 Course Synopses

B4.5.1 In some circumstances, full development and documentation of new courses to be undertaken in the second or subsequent years of offer of a proposed new program, or an existing program undergoing significant change, may not be possible. In these cases, a Course Synopsis can be substituted for the relevant Course Outline when documenting the new program or change to an existing program. Consultations should be held with any relevant professional body to confirm the acceptability of this approach for meeting conditions for external accreditation of the program.

B4.5.2 Course synopses are generated from USC CIR using a subset of the data that is normally required for the full approval of a course.

B4.5.3 New courses submitted only as Course Synopses are provisionally approved by Program and Course Committee on the condition that the course/s must subsequently be fully documented in USC CIR and the Resource Impact Statement. Requests for final course approval and the Course Approval documentation must be submitted via the appropriate approval pathway for approval by the Program and Course Committee.

B5 Consideration by Head of School

B5.1 On completion of the data entry in USC CIR, the course development team submits the course for review by the Academic Support Unit. The Proposal document should also be forwarded to Academic Support Unit at this time.

B5.2 Academic Support Unit checks the course data entered into USC CIR and the Proposal document for internal and external accreditation requirements, including policy and procedure, course offerings, requisites and course delivery in relation to affiliated programs and study components. The Academic Support Unit submits the course for endorsement of the Head of School or delegate. The Proposal document should also be forwarded to Head of School or delegate at this time.

B5.3 Before consideration by the Head of School or delegate, the documentation is considered by the relevant School Committee or equivalent and provide advice to the Head of School or delegate on the merit and quality of the proposed course.

B5.4 The Head of School or delegate considers the academic merit of the new course on the basis of USC CIR data and the Proposal document and endorses the course to be considered by the University’s Program and Course Committee.

B5.5 The Academic Support Unit on behalf of the School arranges for the signed Proposal document to be submitted to the Curriculum Support Unit, CSALT and for the Resource Impact Statement to be provided to Information Technology and the Academic Support Unit.

B6 Progression to Program and Course Committee (PACC) for approval

B6.1 Curriculum Support Unit, CSALT checks the course data entered into USC CIR and the Proposal document for completeness and clarity, accuracy, internal consistency and liaises with relevant school and supporting staff in order for appropriate actions to be taken to address any issues and for amended data/documentation to be submitted where needed.

B6.2 The Curriculum Support Unit, CSALT forwards the Proposal document and the Course Approval document generated from USC CIR to the committee secretary for consideration by the Program and Course Committee.

B6.3 Program and Course Committee considers the academic merit of the proposed course on the basis of the documentation, and the Program and Course Committee can:

(a) resolve that the proposed new course as documented be approved; or

(b) resolve to approve the new course as documented, subject to identified amendments being made to the associated documentation; or

(c) makes such other resolutions as may be appropriate.

B7 Post-approval matters

B7.1 The Secretary, Program and Course Committee sends the relevant School/s, stakeholders and the Curriculum Support Unit, CSALT, the draft Committee minutes within 14 days. The approved minutes to be provided once approved by the Chairperson.

B7.2 On the basis of the minutes, the Curriculum Support Unit, CSALT, updates USC CIR.

B7.3 Following notification of approval, the Academic Support Unit on behalf of the School arranges for:

(a) all documentation related to the school’s development, consideration and decisions related to the course approval to be recorded in the records management system;

(b) notification and request action from relevant administrative units.

Part C: Course Changes

C1 Proposed changes that cannot be approved

C1.1 A proposal for any of the following cannot be progressed as a change to a course:

  • a change of course code (See C1.3 for exception);
  • a change that would result in the need for a different Field of Education to be assigned;
  • a change to the course level (refer to section 7.4 of the Coursework Curriculum Design – Procedures); or
  • a change to the unit value.

C1.2 Any change of the type listed above requires the development of a New Course Proposal and an associated Proposal to Discontinue a Course. (Refer to Part B and D respectively).

C1.3 A change of course code can be approved as a Course Change if the change is confined to the alphabetic discipline descriptor component of the code. This change requires approval by Director, Student Services and Engagement, and once approved the Curriculum Support Unit administratively creates a new course with the new code and the replaced course is discontinued.

C2 Types of Course Changes

C2.1 The University has identified that there are two types of course changes –

  • Pre-enrolment course changes; and
  • Pre-delivery course changes:
    • Major; and
    • Minor.

These two types of course changes have different timelines and approval authorities.

A report of all course changes will be available for review by Program and Course Committee.

C2.2 Pre-enrolment changes

Pre-enrolment changes are changes to data fields that relate to the enrolment of students and the timetabling of courses. These data fields are listed in Appendix 1. Pre-enrolment changes are approved by the Head of School or delegate and are required to be approved for the following Academic year by August of the previous year.

C2.3 Pre-delivery Changes – Major and Minor

Pre-delivery changes are changes to all other course data fields and are approved by the Head of School or delegate and are required to be approved four weeks prior to the delivery of the course.

Major Pre-delivery Changes

Major pre-delivery Changes relates to the data fields identified in Appendix 1. Before approval by the Head of School or delegate, changes need to be endorsed by the relevant Course Moderator and/or Program Coordinator and the School Committee or equivalent.

Minor Pre-delivery Changes

Minor pre-delivery changes relates to the remaining course data fields not identified in Appendix 1. Minor pre-delivery Changes are approved by the Head of School or delegate.

C3 Timelines

Curriculum Support Unit, in consultation with the Academic Support Unit establish timelines annually covering all teaching periods to ensure timely progression of course changes to meet the identified deadlines and approval pathways.

C3.2 Late changes to Pre-enrolment Data

C3.2.1 Approval to make late changes to course pre-enrolment data fields will only be granted under special circumstances and requires the Head of School with support from the Academic Support Unit to make an application to the Chair, Program and Course Committee on the required proposal template. The case would include a risk assessment of the proposed change and the impact on the student experience. The application should include evidence of consultation with Student Services and Engagement and other relevant stakeholders.

C3.2.2 The request to the Chair, Program and Course Committee is made through the Curriculum Support Unit, C-SALT to the Secretary, Program and Course Committee.

C3.2.3 The Chair, Program and Course Committee may consult with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Students) before making a decision on the request.

C3.2.4 The Curriculum Support Unit, C-SALT, informs the relevant School of the decision of the Chair, Program and Course Committee and implements approved changes in USC CIR.

C4 Consultation

The Course Coordinator proposes changes to the course ensuring that:

(a) consultations are held with all parties:

(i) with relevant expertise, for example academic developers and curriculum support staff within the Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching, Academic Support Unit, Learning Advisors within Student Services and Engagement and Liaison Librarians; a school curriculum body;

(ii) with a legitimate interest in the proposed development, including for example other schools if the course is to be made available in a cross-school or double degree program, and professional and registration bodies;

(iii) for whom there may be resource or administrative implications with the proposed developments, including for example Information Technology, Information Services, and Student Services and Engagement.

(b) the course is designed and developed consistent with:

  • any applicable policies and procedures within the University, in particular the Coursework Curriculum Design – Academic Policy and related procedures
  • any standards for external recognition, registration or accreditation of any program in which the new course will be offered.

C5 Change Approval Documentation

The Course Coordinator documents the proposed changes by

  1. updating USC CIR with data relating to the proposed changes to the course;
  2. completing a new Resource Impact Statement if technical resource changes are required.

C6 Consideration by Head of School

C6.1 On completion of the data entry in USC CIR, the course coordinator submits the course for review by the Academic Support Unit. The Resource Impact Statement should also be forwarded to Academic Support Unit at this time.

C6.2 Academic Support Unit checks the course data entered into USC CIR and the Resource Impact Statement for internal and external accreditation requirements, including policy and procedure, course offerings, requisites and course delivery in relation to affiliated programs and study components.

  1. If the proposed course change will negatively impact a student’s progression or does not meet policy or procedure (i.e. delay program completion) then the Academic Support Unit will provide feedback and request the course coordinator to review the documentation;
  2. Any unresolved issue to be reported to Program and Course Committee for consideration.

The Academic Support Unit submits the course for either approval, or endorsement where the course has unresolved issues, by the Head of School.

C6.3 Before consideration by the Head of School or delegate, the documentation is considered by the relevant School Committee or equivalent and provide advice to the Head of School or delegate on the merit and quality of the proposed course.

C6.4 The Head of School or delegate considers the academic merit of the course changes on the basis of USC CIR data and either approves or endorses for consideration by the Program and Course Committee.

C6.5 The Academic Support Unit on behalf of the School arranges for the Resource Impact Statement to be provided to Information Technology and the Academic Support Unit.

C7 Progression to Program and Course Committee (PACC) for approval (Endorsed courses only) and noting

C7.1 Curriculum Support Unit, CSALT checks the course data entered into USC CIR for completeness and clarity, accuracy, internal consistency and liaises with relevant school staff with support from the Academic Support Unit in order for appropriate actions to be taken to address any issues and for amended data to be submitted where needed.

C7.2 The Curriculum Support Unit, CSALT forwards a summary report on approved course changes and a report on endorsed course changes to the committee secretary for noting and consideration respectively, by the Program and Course Committee.

C7.3 Program and Course Committee considers the academic merit of the endorsed course on the basis of the report, and the Program and Course Committee can:

(a) resolve that the proposed course changes as documented be approved; or

(b) resolve to approve the course changes as documented, subject to identified amendments being made to the associated documentation; or

(c) makes such other resolutions as may be appropriate.

C8 Post-approval matters

C8.1 The Secretary, Program and Course Committee sends the relevant School/s, Academic Support Unit, stakeholders and the Curriculum Support Unit, CSALT, the draft Committee minutes within 14 days. The approved minutes to be provided once approved by the Chairperson.

C8.2 On the basis of the minutes, the Curriculum Support Unit, CSALT, updates USC CIR.

C8.3 Following approval, the Academic Support Unit on behalf of the School arranges for:

  1. all documentation related to the school’s development, consideration and decisions related to the proposed course changes to be recorded in the University’s record management system;
  2. notification and request action from relevant administrative units; and
  3. all Course Outlines for the upcoming Study Period to be made available to students and staff through the central repository.

Part D: Course Discontinuation

D1 Course discontinuation authority

Discontinuation of a course is a decision made by Program and Course Committee, on a recommendation of the Head of School or delegate, that from the specified teaching period of discontinuation:

(a) there can be no new enrolments of students; and

(b) the course can no longer be advertised or marketed as available to students; and

(c) the course is to be removed from the suite of courses available to students.

D2 Timelines

D2.1 If it is proposed to discontinue a course, the School consults all interested parties and arranges for development of a timeline for the discontinuation and the final offering of the course. The discontinuation plan takes account of:

  1. the need to provide timely information to impacted students, concerning discontinuation of the course;
  2. any consequential impact on program/s and study component/s containing the course;
  3. any current articulation arrangements that are in place that include the course; and
  4. any associated transition arrangements.

D2.2 Any consequential changes to program/s or study component/s structures resulting from the course discontinuation should be submitted simultaneously with the discontinuation proposal.

D3 Consultation

D3.1 The relevant Course Coordinator undertakes consultations with all parties with a legitimate interest in the course, any relevant professional associations and Program Coordinator/s if the course is part of a program.

D3.2 Consultation should also occur with Student Services and Engagement and other interested parties regarding the extent of transition and teach out arrangements for students who are required to complete the course.

D4 Proposal to Discontinue a Course

D4.1 The Course Development Team documents the discontinuation of a course by:

  1. the completion of a Proposal to Discontinue a Course; and
  2. updating USC CIR with data relating to the proposed course discontinuation; and
  3. submitting documentation for any impacted study component/s or program/s.

D4.2 On completion of the data entry in USC CIR, the course development team submits the course for review by the Academic Support Unit. The Proposal document should also be forwarded to the Academic Support Unit at this time.

D4.3 Academic Support Unit checks the course data entered into USC CIR and the Proposal document for internal and external accreditation requirements, including policy and procedure, in relation to affiliated programs and study components. The Academic Support Unit submits the course for endorsement by the Head of School or delegate. The Proposal document should also be forwarded to Head of School or delegate at this time.

D4.4 The Head of School or delegate considers the academic merit of the course discontinuation on the basis of USC CIR data and the Proposal document and endorses the course to be considered by the Program and Course Committee.

D4.5 The Academic Support Unit on behalf of the School arranges for the signed Proposal document to be submitted to the Curriculum Support Unit, CSALT.

D4.6 The Curriculum Support Unit, CSALT checks the Proposal to Discontinue a Course for completeness and clarity. The Curriculum Support Unit, CSALT refers the proposal to the Program and Course Committee.

D4.7 The Program and Course Committee decides whether to approve the proposed course discontinuation.

D5 Post-approval matters

D5.1 The Secretary, Program and Course Committee sends the relevant School/s, Academic Support Unit, stakeholders and the Curriculum Support Unit, CSALT, the draft Committee minutes within 14 days. The approved minutes to be provided once approved by the Chairperson.

D5.2 On the basis of the minutes, the Curriculum Support Unit, CSALT, updates USC CIR and if the course is discontinued records the completion of the discontinuation approval pathway.

D5.3 The Academic Support Unit on behalf of the School informs interested parties of the course discontinuation.

D5.4 The Academic Support Unit on behalf of the School arranges for:

(a) Student Services and Engagement to update or remove information concerning the course that is posted on the University’s Website;

(b) all documentation related to the school’s development, consideration and decisions related to the course discontinuation to be recorded in the records management system; and

(c) the implementation of the transition and teach out arrangements for students impacted by the approved discontinuation of the course.

Part E: Reporting

E1 Annual summary reports are required to be submitted as follows:

  • Program and Course Committee to Academic Board on all new courses approved
  • Program and Course Committee to Academic Board on all discontinued courses approved

E1.1 The reports should be submitted to the first meeting each year and include all changes approved in the previous year.

Appendix 1 –Course Data Changes

Pre-enrolment Data:
Changes to the following Course data

Data Fields

Course Title

Anti-requisites

School Owner

Location

Course description

Teaching Session/ Year offered

Study Abroad availability

Delivery Mode e.g. On Campus, Online

Headstart

Course delivery e.g. lecture, tutorial

Course coordinator consent required

Grading Scale

Prerequisites

WIL level

Co-requisites

Major Pre-delivery Data

Changes to the following Course data:

Data Fields

Learning Outcomes

Assessment - Format

Assessment - Product

Assessment - Weighting

Assessment - Name

Assessment - Due Date

Assessment - Goal

Assessment - Contribution (Individual/Group)

Assessment - Duration/Length

Assessment - Assessment Criteria

Minor Pre-delivery Data

Changes to all other data fields.

END