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Courses Lifecycle - Annual Course Monitoring (HE) Procedure

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Section 1 - Summary

(1) This Procedure specifies the key stages and responsibilities involved in the:

  1. Annual monitoring of Higher Education (HE) courses at Victoria University (VU).
  2. Annual Review of Units.

(2) This Procedure should be read in conjunction with the Comprehensive Course Review (HE) Procedure and the External Benchmarking Procedure (Pending).

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Section 2 - HESF/ASQA/ESOS Alignment

(3) HESF: 5.3 Monitoring, Review and Improvement, Clauses 5.3.3; 5.3.4 and 5.3.7.

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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This Procedure applies to all:

  1. HE Award coursework courses offered by, or on behalf of, VU in all domestic and off-shore locations.
  2. HE Award Course units offered by, or on behalf of, VU in all domestic and off-shore locations.
  3. HE ELICOS, Foundations and Bridging courses. 
  4. HE Non-Award courses that are offered to international students both on and off shore.

(5) This Procedure does not apply to:

  1. Higher Degrees by Research Award courses.
  2. Vocational Education and Training Award courses.
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Section 4 - Definitions

(6) Nil

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Section 5 - Policy/Regulation

(7) Courses Lifecycle Policy.

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Section 6 - Procedures

Part A - Roles and Responsibilities

Roles Responsibilities
Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic and Students Initiates and oversees the ACM process.
Vice-President, Health, Sport and Active Living
Vice-President, Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities
PVC Business and Law
Dean of First Year College
Oversees annual strategic direction for improvement priorities across Colleges and Clusters through ACM.
Oversees the viability of units through the Annual Review of Units.
Dean of College (or equivalent)
Dean of First Year College
Reviews the performance of all courses offered by their college, or units delivered by the College into courses.
Implements annual monitoring of applicable courses and completion of ACM actions. 
Approves the annual ACM College Report and Annual Monitoring of Unit Report.
Director, Learning and Teaching of College (or equivalent) Leads the ACM process in the college. 
Drafts the annual ACM College Report on behalf of the Dean.
Develops a set of College initiatives which are reflected back into the College annual plan and are reported on in the following year’s ACM process.
ACM Leader/Course Team Reviews previous ACM, CCR (where applicable) and course amendment actions and include details on the impact achieved.
Analyses the CCR & ACM course data snapshot and identifying course strengths and identify gaps and areas for improvement.
Collaborates with Partnerships to formulate location specific recommendations for interstate and/or off-shore locations and the First Year College.
Develops a succinct ACM Course Report with assistance from peers as required.
Director, Academic Quality and Standards Plans and manages the University’s ACM process.
Provides the central point of ACM advice and data analysis.
Maintains the repository of ACM information on VU’s intranet.
Collaborates with colleges and relevant stakeholders in relation to the ACM process.
Validates ACM reports before finalisation in the system.
Reports on progress of ACM actions to Learning and Teaching Quality Committee six months after ACM.
Director, Data Insights Provides appropriate and timely course data to support the ACM process.
Manager, Information Technology Development Provides appropriate infrastructure and services to support the ACM process.

Part B - ACM Principles

(8) The ACM process ensures continuous improvement and quality assurance of HE courses and units and informs the Comprehensive Course Review (CCR) process. 

(9) Additionally, ACM supports and informs the annual monitoring and reporting requirements of professional accreditation bodies.

(10) In addition to being a key feature of VU course lifecycle management, Annual Course Monitoring (ACM) also aligns with and supports:

  1. VU Learning and Teaching Quality Framework. 
  2. Current VU strategic directions and curriculum requirements.
  3. VU Third Party Arrangements Policy 
  4. External requirements of professional accreditation and registration bodies.

(11) The purpose of ACM is to provide a formal platform for Colleges to:

  1. Undertake a systematic and regular assessment and critically review the performance of their courses and units with respect to student outcomes.
  2. Develop actions that will improve course and unit performance to enhance student experience, outcomes and satisfaction.
  3. Trigger continual quality improvement strategies and indicate learning and teaching support requirements. 

(12) ACM is evidence-based and draws on five years of trend data to enable professional assessment and judgement at a point in time: 

  1. Course level data, by fund source and delivery location (not limited to these): 
    1. Admission category
    2. English language proficiency level and test type (if relevant) on admission
    3. Progression rates
    4. Attrition rates
    5. Completion rates and timeframes
  2. Unit level data, by delivery location:
    1. Pass Rates
    2. Multiple Fails
    3. Student Evaluation of Unit (SEU).

(13) HE coursework courses undertake a formal ACM cycle approximately every 12 months. The formal ACM cycle is generally 6-8 weeks long and is conducted in the second half of the academic year to ensure that course data is stable.

(14) Generally Bachelor, Master and Non-Award courses will be monitored as a single entity and data for nested and exit courses will be included.  

(15) Diploma, Associate Degree, Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma courses will be monitored as a separate entity when they are not part of a nested, or exit course, arrangement.

(16) Where more than one college contributes to the design and delivery of the course the administering college is responsible for the oversight of ACM.

(17) Courses are not required to undertake the formal ACM process when:

  1. The course is undergoing a Comprehensive Course Review (CCR).
  2. The course is brand new and there is insufficient data available.
  3. The course is in teach out and has less than 25 enrolments.

Part C - Annual Unit Monitoring

(18) AQS facilitates the Annual Monitoring of Units and collaborates with Data Insights to develop a ‘traffic light’ report that details unit enrolments with a ‘traffic light’ colour assigned to each unit against agreed targets.

(19) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic and Students, Cluster Vice-Presidents / PVC Business and Law, and Dean of First Year College for (a) approves the target for minimum enrolments in each HE unit on an annual basis. Targets are set for each of the following categories:

  1. Undergraduate first year units
  2. Undergraduate second and further years (as applicable) units
  3. Postgraduate units

(20) This report has been designed to alert Senior Executives and College management to issues that may require future investigation through the formal ACM process.

(21) The Cluster Vice-Presidents and College Deans discuss the report and identify the units that will be ceased and the alternative unit arrangements for all course/major/minor and specialisation structures as required.

(22) Any change to the status of units is approved through the usual governance process for major and minor amendments to course/units (as applicable), which involves validation by Academic Board’s Courses Committee.

(23) The College Advisory Group (CAG) is notified of the outcome of Annual Unit Monitoring through the report to Academic Board’s Courses Committee.

Part D - ACM Stages

(24) AQS facilitates the formal ACM cycle and collaborates with central service units to develop the ACM process and documentation. AQS develops support materials on an annual basis, including: 

  1. the online ACM Course Report
  2. Course Data Snapshot; 
  3. Course and Unit Performance Data Report; and 
  4. ACM User Guides. 

Stage One – College ACM Data Summary Report

(25) ACM commences with the provision of a Data Summary Report to the College Dean. This report outlines the differences in data performance from the previous to current ACM cycle in the following areas:

  1. Applications
  2. Enrolments
  3. Student Progress, including pass rates by unit
  4. Attrition rates
  5. Completion rates and timeframes 
  6. Student Evaluation of Unit results 

(26) The report is provided by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic and Students to the College Dean (or equivalent) four weeks before the commencement of the formal ACM cycle. 

Stage Two – Monitoring by Course Teams

(27) The second stage of the ACM process is a collegial and consultative process that is designed to enable all staff associated with the course, including the First Year College, to critically review the performance of the course. The VU Learning and Teaching Quality and Standards Framework is the underpinning quality management tool used in ACM. 

(28) Course teams analyse the Course Data Snapshot, referencing negative trends at course and unit levels.  

(29) Proposals for course improvement are detailed as Course Improvement Actions in the report. Previously identified ACM and CCR actions are reported on.

(30) Where a negative difference is noted in a specific area, and/or progress is below the average pass rates for the year level in the preceding year, a Course Improvement Action must be included in the ACM Report. 

(31) Course Improvement Actions must be developed using the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-framed) principles and should be targeted at the particular areas indicated by the data.

(32) Course Improvement Actions may include both immediate and longer-term strategies to address particular areas of negative trends, as well as stable or improving areas where the Course team identifies that further improvement is achievable.

(33) Following the identification of actions, the ACM Course Report is developed by the ACM Leader on behalf of the course team. 

(34) Stage Two is completed within eight weeks of the commencement of the formal ACM cycle.

Stage Three - College Endorsement and Approval

(35) The ACM Course Report and proposed Course Improvement Actions are endorsed by the Director of Learning and Teaching (or equivalent). 

(36) The Director of Learning and Teacher prepares an ACM College Report, including College/course priorities for the following year. Priorities will be reported on in the following year’s ACM.

(37) The consolidated ACM College Report is approved by the College Dean (or equivalent).  

(38) The ACM Endorsement and Approval process is completed within four weeks of the conclusion of Stage Two.

Stage Four - ACM Implementation and Action

(39) Following the completion of the ACM process, it is expected that Colleges will ensure that Course Improvement Actions and College priorities are implemented throughout the following year. 

(40) An analysis of previous Course Improvement Actions is conducted in the following round of ACM. A report on whether the action has been completed and the impact achieved is provided to the Director of Learning and Teaching, as part of the new ACM report. 

(41) Colleges must also conduct a progress review of ACM actions, and their effectiveness, six months after the completion of the ACM cycle and identification of the actions and provide a status update to AQS. AQS provides a status report to the Learning and Teaching Quality Committee.

Part E - ACM Reports 

(42) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic and Students reports on an annual basis to the Learning and Teaching Quality Committee and Academic Board on ACM outcomes and actions.   

(43) The Academic Board refers the annual ACM Report to its Standing Committees as appropriate.