What is Internal Course Accreditation?
Flinders University is a registered Higher Education Provider under the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 and is authorised to self-accredit all course offerings that lead to a higher education qualification. It is a requirement of this registration that all accredited courses are comprehensively reviewed at least every seven years to ensure continued compliance with the Higher Education Standards Framework.
The Internal Course Accreditation process is the mechanism implemented by the University to support this requirement and is undertaken during the fifth year of the seven-year accreditation period. It replaces the previous Five Yearly Course Review process.
The Internal Course Accreditation requirements and deliverables are stipulated in the Award Course Improvement and Accreditation Procedures, which are underpinned by the Educational Quality Framework.
This approach enables colleges to focus on achievement, best practice and sustainability as well as reporting on compliance, areas for improvement and course management.
This guide provides an overview of the new Internal Course Accreditation process within the context of the Education Quality Framework and the superseded Five Yearly Course Review process. Internal Course Accreditation schedules and detailed descriptions of responsibilities, deliverables and approval process are out of scope. Links to these are provided below.
How is Internal Course Accreditation different from Five Yearly Course Reviews?
Internal Course Accreditation marks a shift away from a standalone review “event” undertaken every five years to an ongoing process that forms part of the continuous course improvement and accreditation cycle. Annual monitoring and evaluation of course data by Course Quality Advisory Groups ensures the continuous improvement of curriculum and teaching quality and ultimately feeds into the Internal Course Accreditation submission.
It sits firmly within the Educational Quality Framework and is underpinned by the HESF. The previous Terms of Reference have been replaced by applicable HESF standards.
Who leads the process and completes the submission if there is no Chair?
While the Educational Quality Team will initiate the process each year and support the approval of the submission through the University’s Academic Governance, the completion of each review within its scheduled year is the responsibility of an Academic Lead who is either the relevant Teaching Program Director or their nominee. The Academic Lead may appoint “Other Contributors” and together they complete various academic sections of the submission template, provide specified course information and write recommendations.
The Academic Lead will be supported by a senior Educational Quality Officer who will source and collate a package of course information and complete the non-academic sections of the submission template. The Academic Lead decides who needs to meet and how often. There may be no meetings at all if other collaborative tools are deemed to be more useful.
What documentation is involved?
Previous Course review documentation consisted of a “Package” or “Portfolio” of course information, a Final Report and an Implementation Plan. These have been replaced with a Submission Template (that includes an Implementation Plan) and an accompanying Package of prescribed course information (detailed in the Procedures) that informs the Submission. A Financial Viability Model is also required as part of the Package and the college Business Partner will work with the Academic Lead to complete this requirement.
When is the Internal Course Accreditation scheduled for my course/s?
The Master Schedule was approved by the DVC(S) in March 2019 and is based on the year the last Course Review was undertaken or the first year of course approval and accreditation (if course not yet reviewed). Each year, it is reviewed by the Associate Director, Educational Quality (with input from the Deans (Education)) and any recommended amendments are submitted to the DVC(S) for approval.
How do we interview stakeholders if there is no Panel?
We do not need to interview stakeholders. More regular stakeholder contributions will be supported by the inclusion of industry, external and student representation on Course Quality Advisory Groups, as outlined in the Award Course Improvement and Accreditation Procedures. Data is also gathered from stakeholders as part of the KAMs and OPMs process and can be accessed via the Planning and Analytical Services dashboards. These contributions, combined with information collected via other College consultation mechanisms (such as advisory boards and academic calibration activities), will contribute to the Internal Course Accreditation process. What happens when the Submission is completed?
The completed Submission Template and package is submitted to the Dean (Education) for endorsement on the advice of their College Education Committee, and then to the Education Quality Committee for review. Based on the advice of the Education Quality Committee, the DVC(S) determines whether to reaccredit the course/s for a maximum of seven years (or shorter period) or to discontinue the course/s.
What happens next?
The Educational Quality Team works with the College to develop and facilitate approval for any course or topic amendments identified in the submission. The Educational Quality team reports on the implementation of the recommendations twelve months after the reaccreditation of the course. This report is submitted to the DVC(S).