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.

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