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Annual Course Review Procedure

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) Charles Darwin University (‘the University’, ‘CDU’) is committed to ensuring that Higher Education (HE) courses are designed, accredited, and reviewed against key performance-based indicators aligned to the strategic objectives of the University.

(2) In accordance with the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021, the University will undertake interim course reviews to ensure the viability of a course and to identify actions to continuously improve a course to enhance student learning and the student experience.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(3) This procedure outlines the Annual Course Review (ACR) process at the University.

(4) The procedure must be read in conjunction with the University’s Higher Education Course Accreditation Procedure, Academic Calibration Procedure, and Course Professional Accreditation Procedure.

(5) Annual Course Review is an interim review process which is used to identify course strengths and concerns, mitigate future risks to the quality of a HE courses, the education provided and to guide potential enhancements to course and unit design and delivery.  It also enables evidence-based performance monitoring of courses against internal and external benchmarks.

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Section 3 - Scope

(6) This procedure applies to:

  1. Active HE award courses;
  2. Enabling courses; and
  3. CDU International College courses.

(7) This procedure does not apply to:

  1. Vocational education and training courses;
  2. Higher degrees by research award courses;
  3. HE courses undergoing a major course review for re-accreditation;
  4. HE exit-only award courses;
  5. HE courses on teach-out; and
  6. Courses where an extension or waiver is approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic.
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Section 4 - Procedure

(8) Annual Course Review is a four-stage process that runs from June to August. The stages in the process are:

  1. Review preparation;
  2. Course analysis and recommendations;
  3. Monitoring of actions; and
  4. Reporting on outcomes.

Review preparation

Course scope

(9) Course dashboards are produced each year for all active courses prescribed under clause 6.

(10) Courses in years 2, 4, and 6 of the accreditation cycle are subject to a mandatory review.

(11) Quality Assurance and Enhancement will confirm the courses review schedule each year based on courses in year 2, 4 and 6 of the accreditation cycle or additional courses requested by a faculty or the Senior Academic Team.

Strategic themes

(12) The Senior Academic Team will set any priority themes of strategic importance at the commencement of each review cycle, including but not limited to:

  1. Growth;
  2. Retention;
  3. First Nations success; and
  4. Teaching quality.

Course data

(13) Annual Course Review dashboards provide Faculties with course data for the review and analysis of student performance and feedback against internal and external benchmarks.

(14) The Director Planning and Performance is responsible for creating Annual Course Review (ACR) dashboards for each Faculty and course. 

  1. Dashboards are produced for all active courses each year regardless of whether a course is undergoing Course Review. 

(15) ACR Dashboard data and detail includes:

  1. Course demand indicators: application data, course EFSTL and enrolment data and trends, conversion and growth opportunities;
  2. Admissions profile;
  3. Student profile indicators, including diversity and equity cohort data;
  4. Student outcome indicators, including progression, completion and retention data and trends;
  5. Pass rates and grade distributions;
  6. Unit data including unit size, representation and success rates;
  7. Student experience data; and
  8. Graduate outcomes, including graduate survey data.

(16) ACR dashboards are accessible by Faculty Pro Vice Chancellors, Faculty Associate Dean Learning Futures, Faculty Associate Dean Quality Initiatives, Discipline Heads/Head of Schools, Course Coordinators, Faculty Quality and Accreditation teams, members of the Faculty Course Review Panel, Pro Vice Chancellor Education Strategy, Director Educational Quality and Excellence, Course Accreditation and Registration team, Quality Assurance and Enhancement team and the Planning and Performance team. 

(17) Quality Assurance and Enhancement will issue the Annual Course Review Dashboard release, review dates and priority themes to Faculties at the commencement of each review cycle.

Course analysis and recommendations

(18) The course analysis and review includes: 

  1. Course Coordinator Analysis;
  2. Discipline Peer Review Group; and
  3. Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee Review.

Course Coordinator Analysis 

(19) The Course Coordinator undertakes an initial course analysis. The analysis will include: 

  1. Contextual interpretation and analysis of course data, identifying: 
    1. Strengths and successes;
    2. Opportunities for enhancement or growth; and
    3. Concerns or threats to course continuation, quality indicators and student success.
  2. Consideration of course design, structure, study plan, unit reviews, unit performance and feedback, and any recommendations for course or unit amendments. 
  3. Consideration of stakeholder feedback (such as professional bodies, industry representatives, current students, alumni and broader community)

(20) The Course Coordinator Analysis will be tabled at the Discipline Peer Review Group.

Discipline Peer Review Group

(21) The Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee will determine the number of discipline peer review groups each year and may choose to include multiple disciplines in each group.

(22) The Discipline Peer Review Group facilitates academic discussion, review and actions about courses across discipline(s).

(23) The Discipline Peer Review Group will comprise the Discipline Head/Head of School, Course Coordinators, relevant representatives from Education Strategy, representatives from Planning and Performance and other representatives as determined by the FLTC. 

(24) The Discipline Peer Review Group will: 

  1. Analyse data from all courses scheduled for review;
  2. Be informed by Course Coordinator Analyses;
  3. Validate or amend each Course Analysis on the template provided;
  4. Discuss issues and priorities of strategic importance and identify any themes across the course reviews; and
  5. Recommend evidence-based actions to the Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee to address results of the analysed data. 

Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee

(25) The Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee will develop and submit the Faculty Quality Improvement Plan to the Senior Academic Team for consideration of resourcing and alignment to university strategy prior to the submission of the final Faculty Quality Improvement Plan.

(26) The Faculty Quality Improvement Plan will be informed by:

  1. Validated Course Analyses;
  2. Discipline Peer Review Group recommendations; and
  3. Discussed issues and priorities of strategic importance as directed by the Senior Academic Team.

(27) The Associate Dean Learning and Teaching will present the finalised Faculty Quality Improvement Plan to the Academic Programs Committee by the end of the review cycle (August). 

Monitoring of actions

(28) The Associate Dean Learning and Teaching monitors the actions in the Faculty Quality Improvement Plan as part of the Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee.

(29) Course Coordinators are responsible for implementing the course actions from the Faculty Quality Improvement Plan and reporting progress to the Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee.

Reporting on outcomes

(30) The Manager Quality Assurance and Enhancement will submit an annual report to the Academic Programs Committee (APC) summarising common themes between Faculty Action plans and outlining any potential risks to quality of courses.

(31) The APC may refer actions to the Learning and Teaching Committee to inform the review learning and teaching outcomes.

(32) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic reports on the outcomes of Annual Course Review to the Academic Board at the completion of each review cycle in accordance with the Comprehensive Reporting Framework.

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Section 5 - Non-Compliance

(33) Non-compliance with Governance Documents is considered a breach of the Code of Conduct – Staff or the Code of Conduct – Students, as applicable, and is treated seriously by the University. Reports of concerns about non-compliance will be managed in accordance with the applicable disciplinary procedures outlined in the Charles Darwin University and Union Enterprise Agreement 2022 and the Code of Conduct – Students.

(34) Complaints may be raised in accordance with the Complaints and Grievance Policy and Procedure - Employees and Complaints Policy - Students.

(35) All staff members have an individual responsibility to raise any suspicion, allegation or report of fraud or corruption in accordance with the Fraud and Corruption Control Policy and Whistleblower Reporting (Improper Conduct) Procedure.