Unit Guide

Unit Guide

SUMMARY

The Unit Guide Policy establishes the University's expectation that Unit Guides provide a consistent and public source of information about coursework units offered by Macquarie University as evidence of a well-planned high quality process of learning and teaching. The Procedure provides further information on the steps and responsibilities involved in the development, approval and publishing of a Unit Guide.

POLICY

Purpose

To ensure that Unit Guides provide a consistent and public source of information about coursework units offered by Macquarie University as evidence of a well-planned high quality process of learning and teaching.

Overview

A Unit Guide provides students with a concise and public source of information about a coursework unit, including, but not limited to, the aims, expected outcomes, structure and requirements of a unit of study. Students may use unit outlines to make decisions about programs of study and to manage their workload during a session. They also serve to introduce students to the expectations, values and priorities of Macquarie University as a community of learners and teachers.

For teaching staff, developing a Unit Guide can be a stimulus to reflection on the nature and purposes of teaching in a discipline, a faculty and in a university. Unit Guides may be considered as evidence of a staff member’s effectiveness as a teacher, and successive Unit Guides can be used to demonstrate the development of a teacher’s approach to learning and teaching over time. In these ways, Unit Guides are a valuable resource for writing the learning and teaching section that forms part of an application for promotion.

A publicly available Unit Guide can provide a resource for Credit for Previous Study requests.

Scope

All coursework units offered by or on behalf of Macquarie University. It will be particularly relevant to staff involved in the teaching or management of a coursework unit, and to coursework students.

Policy

Every coursework unit offered by Macquarie University, including all seminar and zero-credit point units, will have its own Unit Guide.

Each Unit Guide will be written and available in English.

Each Unit Guide will be available at least one week before the scheduled start date of the unit. For units offered externally, the Unit Guide will be available six weeks before the scheduled start date of the unit.

All Unit Guides remain the property of Macquarie University.

Each Unit Guide is to be produced using the University’s officially approved unit guide system.

A summary of each Unit Guide is to be publicly available without a password or any other form of authorised access being required. As a minimum, all publicly available Unit Guides will include the following information:
  • full unit title
  • unit code
  • owning Faculty
  • teaching Department(s)
  • credit point value
  • study period and year of offering
  • name and contact details of the Unit Convenor and all other staff involved in teaching the unit
  • unit description (as a minimum to match the Handbook entry)
  • inherent requirements (ie non-negotiable requirements or attributes that each student needs to have to do the unit)
  • technology used and required
  • expected learning outcomes
  • graduate capabilities developed
  • summary of the assessment tasks students must undertake to demonstrate their learning
  • the assessment requirements (such as length of written tasks, assessment due dates, final examination duration) and their relative weightings
  • the criteria and standards for grading against which individual assessment tasks will be judged
  • the submission method for each assessment task
  • how each assessment task aligns with the unit Learning Outcomes
  • how the assessment tasks align with Macquarie University’s Graduate Capabilities
  • what is required to complete the unit satisfactorily
  • information on whether extensions are available, and if so how to apply
  • penalties for late submission
  • resubmission options (if available)
  • final examination conditions
  • required unit materials and/or recommended readings
  • link to the Learning and Teaching category of Policy Central
  • statement about any changes made to previous offerings of the unit
The contents of the Unit Guide will be reviewed in concert with periodic reviews of the unit.

The Unit Guide for the most recent offering of the unit is to be publicly available.

Each Unit Guide will be archived and made available on request.

COMPLIANCE AND BREACHES The University may commence applicable disciplinary procedures if a person to whom this policy applies breaches this policy (or any of its related procedures).

Policy Information

Contact OfficerChair, Learning and Teaching Committee
Date Approved14 February 2012
Approval AuthorityAcademic Senate
Date of CommencementFor postgraduate coursework units with a teaching start date of 1 January 2013 or later
For undergraduate coursework units with a teaching start date of 30 July 2012 or later
Amendment HistoryFebruary 2012 – updated with requirement to include information on any extensions available
Date for Next ReviewFebruary 2015
Related Documents

Academic Honesty Policy
Assessment Policy / Procedure / Guideline
Inherent Requirements
Policy Framework Policy
Records Management Policy
Unit Guide Procedure
University Glossary

Links
UNITS
Policy Central – Learning and Teaching category
Policies / Rules Superseded by this PolicyUnit Guide Policy approved 7 October 2008
KeywordsCoursework Unit, Unit Guide, Unit Outline, Unit Convenor

PROCEDURE

PurposeTo outline the steps and responsibilities involved in the development, approval and publishing of a Unit Guide.
ProcedureThis procedure requires actions by the following:

Unit Convenor

PREPARE
Prepare the Unit Guide using the officially approved University system.

QUALITY ASSURANCE
Arrange for the draft Unit Guide to be reviewed by a colleague familiar with the discipline area. Consider any comments and revise the document as deemed appropriate.

Obtain the approval of the Associate Dean for any required change to the Unit Guide after it has been published, but excluding housekeeping changes such as to contact details or the correction of errors.

Notify all enrolled students as soon as possible where the change is approved.

Where exceptional circumstances prevent one or more of the specified unit requirements from being met:
  • advise the students in writing as soon as this issue is identified
  • outline what has happened
  • indicate the implications of these circumstances
  • send a copy of the correspondence to the Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching.
ENSURE AVAILABILITY
Ensure the Unit Guide is available at least:
  • one week before the scheduled start date of the unit for internal offerings
  • six weeks before the scheduled start date of the unit for external offerings.

Ensure the Unit Guide for the most recent offering is publicly available (ie without a password or any other form of authorised access being required).

Ensure the Unit Guide is peer reviewed in accordance with the curriculum review schedule and that appropriate responses are made to formal evaluative feedback.

Head of Department

REVIEW
Develop a timeline to ensure each Unit Guide is reviewed, approved and published at least:
  • one week prior to the scheduled start date of the unit for internal offerings
  • six weeks prior to the scheduled start date of the unit for external offerings.

Ensure there is a separate Unit Guide for each unit offering.

Review all draft Unit Guides to ensure they comply with all applicable policies.

Advise the Unit Convenor of any required and/or recommended changes.

Once the necessary changes have been made, approve the Unit Guide for publication.

Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching

ADVISE
Provide advice and assistance to Unit Convenors regarding development, approval and review of Unit Guides.

REVIEW CHANGES
Review requests for a change to the contents of the Unit Guide (excluding housekeeping changes and corrections of errors) if the change is proposed after teaching has commenced. Approve as appropriate.

PEER REVIEW
Facilitate meetings of relevant groups within discipline areas to peer review Unit Guides in line with each periodic review of the unit.

Consult with the Unit Convenor and Head of Department regarding these reviews.
Faculty Student Administration ManagerMANAGE RECORDS
At the end of each study period archive each Unit Guide. Provide a copy of, or access to, the Unit Guide on request.

Procedure Information

Contact OfficerChair, Learning and Teaching Committee
Date Approved14 February 2012
Approval AuthoritySenate Learning and Teaching Committee
Date of CommencementPostgraduate coursework units with a teaching start date of 1 January 2013 or later
Undergraduate coursework units with a teaching start date of 30 July 2012 or later
Amendment HistoryFebruary 2012 – updated with task for Associate Dean to advise Unit Convenors of development, approval and review of Unit Guides
Date for Next ReviewJune 2014
Related Documents

Unit Guide Policy
Assessment Policy / Procedure / Guideline
Inherent Requirements
Records Management Policy

Links
UNITS
Policy Central – Learning and Teaching category
KeywordsCoursework Unit, Unit Guide, Unit Outline, Unit Convenor, UGO
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