Policy

Shorter Form Credential - Policy

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1.0 Purpose and Scope

This policy sets out the principles and requirements that inform the structure and design of shorter form credentials offered at the University. 

For the purposes of this policy a shorter form credential is a distinct unit of study with academically assessed learning outcomes, generally offered outside an award program that is usually completed in a short time frame. A credential may be structured as a single module (e.g. a MOOC), or as a suite of combined modules resulting in a larger credential (e.g. a MicroMasters®).

This policy applies to all new shorter form credential proposals from the date the policy is approved, and all shorter form credentials offered at the University from 2021.

 

2.0 Principles and Key Requirements

2.1 Design Principles

  1. The design and structure of shorter form credentials will be aligned to the University’s values and—
    1. contribute to the development and assessment of graduate attributes
    2. have a defined set of learning outcomes;
    3. constructively align learning activities and assessment tasks to ensure the development and attainment of those learning outcomes;
    4. build on clearly stated prerequisite knowledge and/or assumed background; 
    5. have an expected student workload that corresponds to the unit value of the shorter form credential; and
    6. use nomenclature that is—
      1. unambiguously and readily identifiable as a shorter form credential with the discipline and (where applicable) the professional orientation of the shorter form credential;
      2. easily recognisable by prospective students, employers and other stakeholders; and
      3. consistent with nomenclature that has national and international acceptance.
  2. In developing shorter form credentials UQ will ensure—
    1. shorter form credentials are consistent with the University's academic and/or strategic priorities;
    2. shorter form credentials incorporate appropriate—
      1. learning experiences, 
      2. teaching methods, and 
      3. methods of assessment of student learning
    3. the quality and integrity of UQ’s shorter form credentials meet the highest academic standards;
    4. direct consultation occurs with—
      1. all academic organisational units that can contribute to relevant areas of discipline expertise, including adherence to the requirements of the Collaborative Service Teaching Policy;
      2. all relevant organisational units and their leaders in relation to resource implications (e.g. UQ Library, schools, institutes and faculties teaching into the course);
      3. the Graduate School, where applicable; and
      4. relevant external and accreditation bodies, where applicable; 
    5. compliance with all relevant legislation, such as the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (TEQSA Act) and the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act), and mandatory government requirements; and
    6. approved shorter form credentials are listed in the Credential Catalogue.

2.2 Unit Value and Structure

  1. A shorter form credential may be structured as—
    1. single module with a unit value between 0.5 and 2 units (e.g. a MOOC); or
    2. a suite of combined modules with a credit value greater than 2 units, resulting in a larger shorter form credential (e.g. a MicroMasters®).
  2. Credit for a shorter form credential may be granted towards an award program in accordance with the Credit for Previous Studies and Recognised Prior Learning Policy and Procedures.
  3. Only a suite of combined modules may be used for entry into an award program.

 

2.3 Coding Elements

Codes assigned to shorter form credentials will follow the course code elements specified in Section 2.3.1 of the Course Design Policy, with the addition of an alpha character at the end of the code to distinguish it as a shorter form credential. 

 

3.0 Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

  1. The Vice-Chancellor approves new and amended suites of combined modules.
  2. The executive dean approves new and amended modules administered by the coordinating units that report to or operate under the umbrella of the faculty, and oversees quality assurance processes in consultation with the associate dean (academic) and the heads of coordinating units.
  3. The head of the coordinating unit oversees the delivery and administration of shorter form credentials owned by their organisational unit.

 

4.0 Monitoring, Review and Assurance

  1. The University ensures the systematic and regular review of curriculum, teaching and program quality and risk in parallel with the requirements of this policy. All shorter form credentials will undergo review as per the University’s quality assurance processes or more frequently at the request of the executive dean of the faculty that owns the shorter form credential.
  2. The quality of the standardised structure and design of the University’s shorter form credentials is assured through implementation of—
    1. the approval processes outlined in the Program Approval Procedure;
    2. the quality assurance and review processes administered by the faculty and coordinating units; and
    3. regular student feedback and student evaluation, such as student satisfaction surveys.
  3. The Academic Board, through CAPP, is responsible for monitoring University-wide compliance with and review of this policy for its effectiveness and ongoing relevance with UQ strategic objectives.

5.0 Recording and Reporting

Design features and structural details relating to all shorter form credentials offered by the University are published in the Credential Catalogue. 

Records relating to the structure and design of the University’s shorter form credentials, including approved variations, and of proposals initiated through the Program Approval Procedure, must be lodged with Records Management Services in accordance with the Information Management Policy.

 

6.0 Appendix

6.1 Definitions, Terms, Acronyms 

Coordinating unit – the organisational unit that administers shorter form credentials, typically a School or Institute.

MicroMasters® – a series of online postgraduate level modules provided through the edX platform that provides a credential. 

MOOC – a distinct unit of study made available over the Internet.

Program – a sequence of study leading to the award of a qualification such as an undergraduate degree or diploma, and/or a postgraduate coursework qualification.

Units – the value of an individual course which contributes to the total unit requirement of a program. 16 units equals 1 EFTSL – the equivalent full-time study load for a year.

 
 
 
Custodians
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)

Procedures

Shorter Form Credentials Admission, Enrolment, Fees, and Assessment - Procedures

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1.0    Purpose and Scope

  1. This procedure sets out the requirements for the management of shorter form credentials, including:

    1. admissions and enrolments,

    2. fees and refunds,

    3. the design and conduct of assessment, and

    4. transcripts, digital badges and verification of completion.

2.0    Process and Key Controls

  1. Shorter form credentials are administered in accordance with this procedure to meet operational and legislative requirements.

  2. Where there is an inconsistency between this Procedure and another University policy, the University policy will take precedence.

  3. Any student grievances or appeals arising from an action taken under these procedures will be managed in accordance with the Student Grievance Resolution Policy.

3.0    Key Requirements

3.1    Publication Requirements

  1. Prior to accepting applications for admission to a suite or module, the co-ordinating unit must publish the following information where relevant:

    1. admission requirements including pre-requisites and English language  proficiency requirements,

    2. minimum inherent requirements for undertaking the shorter form credential,

    3. mode of delivery,

    4. unit value and duration,

    5. tuition fees and any incidental fees, and

    6. for suites-

      • maximum time for completion of all modules within the suite, and

      • credit that can be awarded (on application) towards undergraduate or postgraduate courses or programs on completion of the shorter form credential.

  2. On each occasion a shorter form credential module is offered, prior to accepting enrolments, the co-ordinating unit must also publish the following information for the module:

    1. minimum enrolment quota where relevant,

    2. assessment type and timing

    3. maximum time for completion of the module.

3.2    Admission

  1. Admission requirements may include:

    1. English proficiency requirements: while there is no minimum university-wide English language proficiency requirement for shorter form credentials, a specific module or suite of modules may specify a minimum requirement for admission,

    2. prior studies: such as completion of a pre-requisite course or other shorter form credential or a qualification such as a bachelor’s degree,

    3. professional registration or membership,

    4. work experience.

  2. Where the shorter form credential has limited places available, admission may be based on:

    1. the merit of an individual student and the availability of resources required for the student to undertake and complete the shorter form credential, or

    2. the order in which applications are received.

  3. An applicant must meet all admission requirements prior to admission and no conditional offers can be made.

  4. Students must complete both Academic Integrity Modules prior to enrolling in their third shorter form credential module.

  5. An offer for a shorter form credential may not be deferred.

  6. Applications for admission to a shorter form credential module are due on the date set by the Academic Registrar and advertised on the website; late applications will not be accepted.

  7. Applications for admission to a suite of modules can be submitted at any time after applications open.

3.3    Enrolment

  1. An offering of a module may be cancelled before the scheduled start date (for instructor-paced offerings) or the  proposed start date (for self-paced offerings) if the published enrolment quota is not met. However if a student requires the module to complete a suite, an alternative must be offered.

  2. Enrolment is not confirmed until all fees and charges are paid.

  3. A student enrolled in a module may withdraw from the module any time before the end date.

    1. If the student withdraws by the start date, the enrolment will be cancelled (i.e., removed from the student record) and prepaid fees may be recredited in accordance with section 3.4.

    2. If the student withdraws after the start date, the student will remain enrolled in the module, and a grade of Dropped-Withdrawn (DW)  will be recorded. However, in exceptional circumstances  , a student may apply to the executive dean for their enrolment in the module to be cancelled after the start date:

      • if they can demonstrate with documentary evidence that circumstances have arisen after the  start date which make it impracticable for the student to complete the module; and

      • the application is submitted prior to release of the student’s final grade for the module.

  4. Once commenced, a module must be completed within the published maximum time for completion.

  5. A person who has been expelled or refused enrolment at UQ or another tertiary educational institution, for either academic or non-academic reasons, may be refused enrolment in a shorter form credential at this University.

3.4    Fees

  1. Fees will be set (in Australian dollars) and include a Goods and Services Tax (GST) component where required.

  2. Fees must be paid by the due date; no extensions or payment plans will be approved.

  3. If fees are not received in full by the due date, enrolment will be cancelled.

  4. Where an offering of a module is cancelled due to insufficient enrolments, any fees paid  for enrolment in that offering will be credited towards the student account.

  5. When enrolling in a module, any other outstanding fees must be paid before a fee  payment can be applied towards the module.

  6. Where a student withdraws from a module by the start date or receives approval to cancel enrolment after the start date (under the provisions of section 3.3(3)), any fees  paid for that offering will be credited towards the student account.

3.5    Refund of Fees

  1. Where a student has a credit in their student account the student may apply for a refund.

  2. To apply for a refund, a student must submit an online student fee refund request via my.UQ. If a student cannot access my.UQ, a completed Student Fees Refund Request form may be submitted to fees@uq.edu.au with verifiable proof of identity.

  3. Refunds will be made in Australian dollars.

  4. Refunds will be made to the original payment source, with the following exceptions.

    1. If the money being refunded was paid to the University with an Australian credit card more than twelve months prior to the refund, in which case the refund may be paid to a bank account specified by the student.

    2. Where a student can provide documentary evidence from the payer’s bank/card provider proving the originating account is closed, refunds can be made to a bank account specified by the student.

3.6    Uncollected Funds

An amount in credit on a student’s account which has been inactive for a period of 15 months is considered uncollected funds.

  1. Students with uncollected funds will be emailed by the University to encourage them to apply for a refund, unless the amount of uncollected  funds is less than $56.

  2. If the student does not apply for a refund or does not contact Student Fees within         30 days of the date the University notifies the student of uncollected funds, the uncollected funds will be transferred to a University fund to support students in hardship.

  3. Uncollected funds which have been transferred to a University fund to support students in hardship    will not be refunded except in exceptional circumstances as determined by the Deputy Director, Academic Services Division.

3.7    Assessment

3.7.1    Design and Delivery

  1. Assessment is designed to:

    1. maintain high academic standards, and generate valid evidence of learning; and

    2. provide comprehensive, accurate, consistent and dependable certification of students’ achievement of learning outcomes.

  2. Assessment should be consistent with the principles and requirements outlined in PPL 3.10.02 Assessment Policy.

  3. Shorter form credential modules with a unit value higher than 1 unit must have more than one assessment item, timed to ensure that students receive progressive feedback.

  4. Where a suite of modules is approved for credit towards a UQ award, assessment must be designed with regard to the learning objectives and graduate attributes of the program towards which credit is to be granted.

3.7.2    Assessment Integrity

  1. In designing and conducting assessment, teaching staff must give due regard to assessment integrity and security and minimise the possibility of impersonation and cheating through the use of Identity Verified Assessment where practicable.

  2. Students have a responsibility to maintain the highest standards of academic integrity in their work and ensure they appropriately acknowledge the ideas, interpretations, words or creative works of others.

3.7.3    Publication Requirements

  1. Students must be provided details on all assessment items, including the assessment type, assessment criteria, the method of weighting and aggregating individual pieces of assessment, the use of any hurdle requirements, and the method used to determine a final grade.

  2. Where a module is offered in self-paced mode, assessment details must be published prior    to accepting enrolments.

  3. Where a module is offered in instructor-paced mode, assessment details must be published  before the scheduled start date.

3.7.4    Reasonable Adjustments to Assessment

  1. A reasonable adjustment or change to assessment may be made in specified circumstances to ensure all students are able to participate equitably in the academic life of the University.

  2. Adjustments are only made when the student has formal approval under PPL 3.50.06 Reasonable Adjustments - Students Policy and the adjustment retains the essential learning objectives for the shorter form credential.

  3. Students must negotiate support needs with a Diversity and Inclusion Adviser at least three weeks before the scheduled start date (for instructor-paced offerings) or the proposed commencement date (for self-paced offerings) for the relevant module.

  4. If a disability, medical condition, or exceptional circumstances arise after commencement of a shorter form credential, and it is not practicable for adjustments to be made in time to retain the essential learning objectives for the shorter form credential, an application for cancellation of enrolment may be made under section 3.3(3) of this procedure.

3.7.5    Assessment Dates

  1. Assessment must be completed by the published due date, which could be relative to the date of module commencement, or published examination date where relevant.

  2. A student may apply to the School or Faculty for an extension to the due date for an assessment  time if they are unable to meet an assessment deadline due to unavoidable circumstances.

  3. Applications for an extension must be submitted as soon as it becomes evident that an extension is needed and must be received before the due date/time.

  4. Where a module has an examination, a student who cannot take the examination at the scheduled time will not be eligible for a deferred examination.

  5. A student who does not pass the assessment for a shorter form credential module will not be eligible for supplementary assessment.

3.7.6    Group Work

  1. Where a shorter form credential module includes group assessment, the assessment must be transparent, fair and equitable, and:

    1. the need for group work must be necessary to achieve the learning objectives;

    2. students must be given an opportunity to learn how to work effectively in teams/groups by way of specific training in the module unless this knowledge can be assumed on the basis of the admission requirements; and

    3. students must be provided with resources and support within the module to enable management of cases in which groups are not functioning effectively.

3.7.7    Feedback on Assessment

  1. Students must be provided timely and meaningful feedback appropriate to the assessment task weighting, timing and context, and with reference to criteria and standards.

3.7.8    Assessment Remark

  1. Where a student has completed an individual assessment item and been provided feedback, if the student believes the judgement of their work and the resulting mark or grade they were awarded for an assessment item does not reflect their performance, as measured against the published assessment criteria, then the student can apply for a re-mark.

  2. A re-mark request must be submitted online through my.UQ to the School or Faculty no later than 21 calendar days after release of marks for the assessment item.

  3. For an application for re-mark of group assessment where only one mark is awarded irrespective of individual contributions:

    1. at least 50% of the members of the group must agree to the request for a re-mark, and

    2. if all group members are not party to the application, the decision maker will send a notification to all group members. The notification is for information purposes only and should refer the students to this procedure such that all group members are aware of the process.

3.7.9    Final Grades

  1. Grading Scheme: a shorter form credential module may use one of the following grading schemes:

    1. 1-7 (where 1-3 are Fail, and 4-7 are Pass-Credit-Distinction-High Distinction)

    2. Pass/Fail (i.e., P and N)

  2. Grade finalisation: a final grade must be determined and published:

    1. in the case of an instructor-paced module, within two weeks of the scheduled end date; and

    2. in the case of a self-paced module, within one month of the student submitting all assessment required for completion of the module.

  3. The Executive Dean is responsible for ensuring that appropriate processes are implemented by the Faculty and Schools to conduct moderation, accurate calculation and determination of grades, in a format and timeframe set by the Academic Registrar.

3.7.10    Administrative Grades

  1. Where a student withdraws from a module after the start date, an  administrative grade of Dropped-Withdrawn (DW) will be assigned.

  2. Where a student fails to participate in a shorter form credential module in which they are enrolled as at the     start date, and no assessable work is submitted, an administrative grade of Not Completed (NC) will be assigned.

3.7.11    Record of Completion

  1. The Official Academic Transcript will provide details for all shorter form credential modules that have been satisfactorily completed (i.e. passing grades only), including the grade for each module, as well as details of all shorter form credential suites that have been satisfactorily completed.

  2. The unofficial academic transcript/Studies Report will include details of all shorter form credentials.

  3. A Digital Badge will be issued for each shorter form credential module completed satisfactorily by the student.

  4. A Certificate of Achievement will be issued for each shorter form credential suite satisfactorily completed (i.e. all constituent modules passed) by the student.

  5. Shorter form credentials will not be included in the AHEGS.

  6. Students do not graduate from, nor receive a testamur for, completion of a shorter form credential.

4.0    Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

4.1    The Vice Chancellor –

  1. approves the basis on which fees will be set for shorter form credentials.

  2. will certify completion of a suite of shorter form credentials.

4.2    The Executive Dean –

Has overall accountability for the shorter form credentials offered by the co-ordinating units that report to or operate under the umbrella of their Faculty, and oversees quality assurance processes in consultation with the Associate Dean (Academic) and the heads of coordinating units.

The Executive Dean -

  1. will set fees, including any variations for specific cohorts and annual review and indexation of fees;

  2. will approve new shorter form credential modules;

  3. will nominate the School Teaching and Learning Committee responsible for the duties in 4.5 for shorter form credentials offered by Institutes;

  4. may set an earlier due date for students to apply for admission (than the standard due date set by the Academic Registrar);

  5. will approve the basis of admission where limited places are available, in accordance with the provisions of section 3.2 (2);

  6. may vary admission requirements in respect of a particular applicant if satisfied that no other student will be disadvantaged;

  7. will certify grades for shorter form credential modules; and

  8. will ensure a regular qualitative and quantitative review is undertaken that has, as its goal, an evidence-based evaluation of the viability, quality, structure, focus and outcomes of shorter form credentials.

4.3   The Head of the Co-ordinating Unit –

  1. will determine the mode of delivery and duration; and

  2. may set minimum enrolment quotas.

4.4    The Academic Registrar –

  1. may grant approval to amend the mode of delivery, duration and assessment details after the published start date in exceptional circumstances;

  2. will set the due date for students to apply for admission to a shorter form credential;

  3. approves the format and content of digital badges and completion certificates;

  4. approves the configuration of approved fees in SI-net, with any rounding as required;

  5. may vary the fees charged to a specific student on administrative grounds;

  6. sets administrative dates such as the fees due date;

  7. will certify completion of a suite of shorter form credentials; and

  8. is responsible for ensuring the procedure is effective and meets legislative requirements.

4.5    The School Teaching and Learning Committee –

  1. is responsible for monitoring all aspects of assessment including assessment design and integrity, moderation of results, and  finalisation of grades for shorter form credential modules;

  2. is responsible for monitoring all aspects of assessment including assessment design and integrity, moderation of results, and finalisation of grades for shorter form credential modules offered by any Institute it is most closely associated with.

5.0    Monitoring, Review and Assurance

  1. Compliance monitoring is conducted in accordance with the Shorter Form Credentials Policy.

6.0    Recording and Reporting

  1. Student details, including applications, outcome of applications, enrolment details and grades will be recorded in SI-net.

  2. Curriculum artefacts for shorter form credentials will be recorded in the Curriculum Management System.

  3. Details relating to fees, including fees payable and student payments and refunds will be recorded in SI-net.

  4. Co-ordinating units must keep appropriate records of all assessment results, and the evaluation of assessment, in accordance with the Records Management Policy. Guidelines on Protecting Grade Integrity are available to academic and professional staff.

  5. Unless authorised by the Academic Registrar, material containing assessment, completed examination scripts and uncollected student assignments must be retained for a minimum of 12 months from the date of release of grades.

  6. Records and reports are managed in conjunction with the Programs and Courses Quality Assurance Policy.

  7. Faculty Executive Deans will maintain a record of all decisions related to indexation of fees and variations of fees for specific cohorts of students.

7.0    Appendix

7.1    Appendix 1 – Definitions

Academic integrity – the moral code or ethical policy of academia, including:

  1. a commitment to the values of honesty, responsibility, transparency, respect, trust and courage; and

  2. the ethical principles that underpin academia and student life, such as maintenance of academic standards, and honesty and rigour in assessment responses, research and academic publishing.

Academic Integrity Modules – two online modules on the edX (Edge) platform that are designed to help students understand their obligations and responsibilities.  Students enrolled in degree programs at UQ must complete these modules in their first semester of enrolment.

AHEGS – Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement

Co-ordinating unit - the organisational unit that administers the shorter form credential, typically a School or Institute.

Instructor-paced– a shorter form credential module offering scheduled to start on a specific date nominated by the instructor

Module – a discrete unit of study in which a student enrols, with a unit value between 0.5 and 2 units

Offering – each occasion on which a shorter form credential module is offered; different offerings of the same module may vary slightly

Self-paced - a shorter form credential module offering that is wholly online and therefore can be commenced on any date of the applicant’s choosing in the enrolment year, can be undertaken at a pace determined by the  student, but must be completed within the maximum specified time for completion

Shorter form credential(s) – a module or suite of modules with academically assessed learning outcomes, generally offered outside an award program that is usually completed in a short time frame.

Suite of modules/Suite - a defined group of modules, with a combined/aggregate credit value greater than or equal to 2  units; completion of all modules results in a larger shorter form credential (e.g. a MicroMasters®)

7.2    Appendix 2

7.2.1    Principles for Setting Shorter Form Credential Fees

  1. If articulating into a UQ program, the shorter form credential fees must be calibrated to the fees payable by a domestic fee-paying student for the courses within the program.

  2. If equivalent to one or more courses or part of a course within a UQ program, the shorter form credential fee  must not be less than the fee paid by a domestic fee-paying student for the equivalent course, courses or part of course respectively.

  3. The fees for a suite should be no higher than the sum of the fees for individual modules within the suite.

  4. The fees for a module should be consistent across delivery modes.

  5. The fees for a module should be established with reference to the standard set of pricing tiers approved by the Vice-Chancellor.

  6. Fees for shorter form credentials cannot be discounted or waived; however, scholarships may be awarded in specific circumstances.

  7. Any variation or departure from these principles must be approved by the approving authority for shorter form credentials as specified in PPL 3.20.09 Shorter Form Credentials Policy.

7.2.2    GST on Fees for Shorter Form Credentials

  1. Shorter form credentials are exempt from GST if -

    1. They assist a student with meeting entry requirements for a UQ program; or

    2. The student can apply for credit towards a UQ program on completion of the shorter form credential (suites only).

  2. Shorter form credentials that do not meet the requirements specified in section 1 attract GST unless the student is an international student as determined by the Fees Policy and is undertaking the shorter form credential from outside Australia.

Custodians
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Custodians
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)